Upcoming week starts and ends with rain
Sunday, May 10, 2020
Sunny skies and early afternoon temperatures in the low sixties are observed this Mother’s Day in Steamboat Springs. A rainy day starts the work week tomorrow, with nicer weather returning for a couple of days. But unsettled weather returns around late Wednesday and lasts through Saturday, with at least one period of good rainfall expected sometime between Thursday night and Saturday.
Currently, a ridge of high pressure extending along the Rockies and through Alaska has brought the beautiful weekend weather, and high temperatures today should reach five degrees or so above our average of 61 F. But the ridge of high pressure is under attack by incoming Pacific storms from the west and cold air from the east.
Only a high latitude piece of the ridge forecast to be near the North Pole will survive the attack as a complicated weather pattern sets up over the Northwest through the week. A large and elongated area of storminess currently extending form the Gulf of Alaska southward will move eastward today, with the very southern warm piece moving across the Great Basin tonight and over our area on Monday.
Shower chances will be increasing starting very early Monday as the wave approaches, with the heaviest showers associated with possibly strong storms in the afternoon and evening in the unstable atmosphere behind the wave. Localized strong winds and periods of moderate to heavy rain, along with thunder and lightning are likely to be associated with these storms.
After an active Monday, the weather quiets for a few days as the Gulf of Alaska storm consolidates and moves eastward, mixing with the westward moving cold continental air mass over the Pacific Northwest by Tuesday night.
There is rather large uncertainty in the weather forecast models as to how this mixing occurs, as first discussed in my last weather narrative on Thursday. Though the European ECMWF has come around to the solution offered first by the American GFS, with unsettled weather lasting from Thursday through Saturday, the periods of heaviest rainfall vary between Thursday night and Saturday between the models, depending on when the most organized waves move over our area.
Nonetheless, after a wet start to the weekend, the weather models agree another storm develops in the Gulf of Alaska early in the weekend and approaches the middle of the West Coast by early in the work week. The southwesterly flow ahead of the storm will allow our weather to dry and warm starting on Sunday and lasting several days into the following work week. After that our weather will depend upon the fate of this storm, and I hope to have some clarity on that by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Dry weather through the weekend followed by showers
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Temperatures in the low fifties and stiff winds out of the west and northwest are observed in the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon behind last night’s dry cool front. The dry weather is forecast to last through Mother’s Day weekend as another couple of dry cool fronts move through our area on Saturday, followed by showery weather for Monday. These showers look to migrate to our north for a couple of days before returning to northern Colorado near the end of the work week.
Currently a sharp ridge of high pressure is located along the west coast of North America, along with a cold storm over the Hudson Bay area that will torment the Midwest and Northeast with cold weather this upcoming week. Energy moving southeastward along the east side of the ridge has and will mix with the cold air in eastern Canada as it grazes our area with cool fronts.
The first cool front last night has brought the cool and windy conditions today, with temperatures warming on a much-less-windy Friday toward our 61 F average. Another couple of cool fronts are forecast for early and late Saturday, though temperatures may end up being similar to Friday depending on the timing of the fronts.
After a cool start, Mother’s Day will see dry weather with warmer temperatures five to ten degrees above average ahead of a pattern change that will introduce showers to our area for Monday. Pieces of a large storm currently located in the Gulf of Alaska will undercut the ridge of high pressure along the west coast of north America, even as some cool air western Canada undercuts the ridge from the east.
The result of the complicated interactions between the ridge of high pressure and the different air masses undercutting it from the west and east will determine our weather for the upcoming work week. Right now, it appears the coldest air will stay to our north and east while showery weather for Monday results from the first surge of the Pacific air mass moving over our area.
An additional piece of the Gulf of Alaska storm will cross the West Coast on Tuesday and move across the Great Basin on Wednesday. Winds will turn to be from the southwest, warming temperatures and moving showers temporarily to our north.
But the showers return around Thursday or Friday as the Great Basin storm moves overhead. There is uncertainty in the weather forecast models with respect to the strength of the storm, and resultant duration and intensity of the end-of-week showers. The European ECMWF advertises a briefer showery period followed by a dry weekend, while the American GFS, in a change from the last few cycles, keeps the showery weather around through the weekend and beyond.
Considering the complicated pattern about to unfold, the disagreement is not surprising, and I hope to have more clarity by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.
Showers today and Monday followed by dry weather
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Some weak showers have passed over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday afternoon, with partly sunny skies reappearing after the showers passed. After another couple of rounds of showers tonight and Monday, we’ll see dry weather through the work week despite several surges of cool air.
A wave of Pacific energy and moisture currently to our west will pass over our area tonight, quickly followed by a trailing wave Monday morning. While we may be done with the showers during today’s daylight hours, we should see them pick up again tonight as the small storm moves through. Our best chance of showers look to occur between midnight and early Monday afternoon before the disturbance passes. And contrary to the normal daily rhythm of morning sun and afternoon showers, Monday looks to have morning showers and mid to late-afternoon sun.
A ridge of high pressure tries to build over the northern Rockies behind the storm, though a piece of the departing storm that was hung up well to our north is forecast to slide down the east side of the nascent ridge and drag a weak and dry cool front through our area Monday night. So we should see daytime highs on Tuesday around our 60 F average with plenty of sun.
Wednesday and Thursday should see some bluebird skies as very dry air moves overhead and temperatures warm to around the mid-sixties.
Another incoming Pacific storm is forecast to plow through the ridge of high pressure over the Rockies, forcing it to reform further west along the West Coast for the end of the work week and Mother’s Day weekend. This storm, as well as several disturbances behind it, will graze our area on Friday and Saturday as they move southeastward along the eastern side of the ridge.
While the current forecast looks dry as these waves bring the coldest air and best precipitation to our east, there is always the possibility of a westward shift in the storm track which would would bring showery and cool weather to our area for those days.
Fortunately, Mother’s Day is currently forecast to be beautiful with dry skies and warming temperatures. The nice weather looks to persist into Monday before we may see a pattern change around Tuesday as incoming Pacific energy and moisture undercut the West Coast ridge and bring the storm track back over our area.
Showers possible through some of the weekend
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Despite the partly cloudy skies this Thursday, the Steamboat Springs area is experiencing the warmest day of the year so far, with an early afternoon temperature of 72 F observed at the Bob Adams airport. Though we may see a shower this evening, good chances for some precipitation will be from Friday night through Saturday night before drier weather is forecast the following work week.
A ridge of high pressure over the West will be disrupted by several rounds of incoming Pacific energy and moisture over the next few days. Some moisture ahead of the first weak wave is currently responsible for our partly cloudy skies, and we may see a shower this evening as the wave passes overhead.
Another couple of waves are forecast to pass overhead on Friday and Saturday. Right now, it looks like after some sun and clouds on Friday, with cooler but still above average temperatures in the sixties, there may be some showers around in the afternoon or evening as the second still-weak wave passes passes by.
Our best chance for showers this weekend looks to occur on Saturday as the last slightly stronger wave passes by. While there may be some showers in the morning, they will be stronger and more numerous in the afternoon and overnight. Depending on the cloud cover, temperatures will be knocked back a few degrees from Friday.
But warmer temperatures in the sixties return on Sunday as a shallow ridge of high pressure builds behind the departing Pacific waves, though there may be a small chance of an afternoon or evening shower.
Monday looks to be similar to Sunday except dry. Weather forecast models disagree about another wave of Pacific energy Monday night and the strength of the ridge of high pressure over the West. Though both the European ECMWF and American GFS are dry, the more aggressive GFS has a weaker ridge and knocks temperatures back five or ten degrees for Tuesday.
Dry and warm is forecast for Wednesday as a ridge of high pressure continues or rebuilds over the West.
And similar to the Tuesday wave, the weather forecast models disagree on the strength of the western ridge of high pressure for the end of the work week. Each model follows its previous inclinations, with the American GFS bringing some Pacific energy and moisture through the ridge and the European ECMWF keeping that energy well away from our area. So there may be a possibility of some cooler air and showers to end the work week.
The weather for the following weekend will depend on the outcome of the battle between the western ridge of high pressure and incoming Pacific energy and moisture. More details to follow on my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.
Weather turns warm and dry for the work week
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Rain showers in the Steamboat Springs area started around noon on this Sunday and are expected to persist into the evening, perhaps with a break later this afternoon. Other than a chance for some afternoon or early evening showers on Monday, dry weather is forecast through the work week, along with temperatures likely climbing into the seventies after Tuesday.
The southern end of a storm moving through the northern Rockies is stronger than originally forecast and is currently moving over our area. There is some clearing just entering western Colorado which may move over our area for a time later this afternoon, though short range weather forecast models insist that showers would redevelop and last into this evening.
Another northern Rockies storm will graze our area later Monday and is forecast to deepen over the Midwest later Tuesday. We should see mostly sunny skies on Monday with temperatures five to ten degrees above our average of 57 F, though there will be a chance of a late afternoon or early evening shower as a weak cool front approaches.
The cool front will keep Tuesday a bit cooler than Monday, though dry weather will arrive and persist through the rest of the work week. The big story will be the summery temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday under mostly sunny skies that will likely approach or exceed 70 F for the first time this year.
Another Pacific storm is forecast to travel across the northern Rockies on Friday, and a dry and weak cool front will graze our area and knock temperatures back several degrees.
There is some weather forecast model disagreement on exactly how a broad Pacific storm evolves as it crosses the West Coast late in the work week. While there will likely be some showers at some point during the weekend, it is not clear yet whether those will occur throughout the day or be confined to the afternoons of one or both days.