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Christmas storm to bring more snow

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Steamboat Springs did quite well from this last storm, with a foot on my deck and 18” at mid-mountain. Unfortunately, the strong westerly winds near the end of the storm adversely affected the snow quality today as wind slabs made for uneven skiing. But that could be fixed starting around midnight tonight when another strong storm from the northwest begins snowfall again.

This storm is similar to the Saturday storm, but the temperatures will not be as cold as the -3F up top this morning. (Made me glad to have the awesome Hotronic foot warmers for my toes and Black Diamond lobster glove for my hands). Additionally, the winds won’t be quite as strong and they should not stray to the west as strongly, leaving what falls in better shape than today. I would expect 4-8” of snow for the Monday morning report, with another 4-8” during the day.

Snows will diminish after noon Monday, and taper off during the day Tuesday. Another 1-4” will likely fall after the mountain closes Monday.

Along with seasonable temperatures, there is a chance for some light snow from about Wednesday afternoon through Thursday afternoon and again Friday ahead of another possible weekend storm. However, numerical forecast models are struggling with the timing and strength of the storms in the relatively fast jet stream, and the Saturday storm is much weaker in the European ECMWF.

Amazingly, model agreement increases late in the forecast period with another possibly significant storm moving over our area after New Years Day.

Winter solstice storm fizzles, but more snow chances this week

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Like all of the previous possible storms this past month, the current storm has split from the main storm track and is currently shearing apart as it dives southeastward into New Mexico. I’m afraid Steamboat Springs will not see more than an inch or two on top of the trace amount reported this morning.

Skies will briefly clear on Friday ahead of another chance for snow lasting from Friday night through Saturday afternoon. This storm moves southeastward from British Columbia and will mix with some moist Pacific air to bring snows to northern Colorado starting Friday night. There may be an inch or two of snow for the Saturday morning report, but the best snow looks to wait until some cooler air arrives Saturday morning after the report.

If snows stop Saturday afternoon, then there could be 3-6” snow for the Sunday morning report. There may be a bit more if the slightly warmer and wetter model solutions verify and keep light snow going Saturday night.

By Sunday, some models have us dry and seasonably cold, while others keep us warmer with light snow continuing during the day. For what its worth, models have just moved toward the drier and cooler solutions for Saturday night and Sunday.

Agreement among the models return for Sunday night into Christmas Day as Pacific energy undercuts a ridge of high pressure that will form over Alaska. This brings seasonably warm and moist northwest flow our area. There is not a lot of cold air with the storm which will limit our snowfall, but there could be several inches by Christmas morning with another 3-6” during the day.

Lots of uncertainty emerges after Monday as another ridge of high pressure is advertised to build off the West Coast. It is not yet clear if Pacific storms will travel over the ridge and drop into the southwestern U.S., encouraging the cold air in central North America to move back westward, or if the Pacific storms will move through the ridge and keep the coldest air to our east.

One of these storms look to influence our weather on Tuesday or Wednesday, with light snow a possibility heading into midweek.

I spend a lot of time skiing and mountain biking, depending on the season, and these are some of the products that have worked very well for me. Consider purchasing them through these links as I will earn a small commission that will help me keep SnowAlarm running. And feel free to contact me if you would like to see your product endorsed.

Save your soles in time for the holidays! Your boot soles, that is. If you do any walking in your ski boots on hard surfaces, then you know the grating and grinding sounds you hear can’t be good. In fact, worn boot soles make your binding unsafe as it interferes with the boot-binding interface. Cat Tracks are a flexible protector that keeps your boot soles pristine, and adds a cushion for walking comfort. When it’s time to click into bindings, I take them off and stash them in my coat pocket.

Yaktrax are similar, but I have not used them since they appear they would take up a bit more space in my jacket pocket. But you get a rocker sole that promotes a natural stride which may be worth the space sacrifice. If I did not have to carry them around all day, these would be my choice.

Winter solstice to bring a blast of winter

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The current storm is literally splitting around Steamboat Springs with precipitation to our north in Wyoming and south in New Mexico. We are left with only clouds and some very light snow showers at the higher elevations, with peaks of sun expected during the rest of the afternoon.

A weak fast-moving storm to our north will bring some additional moisture over our area early in the work week, keeping a mix of clouds and sun in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday.

Ahead of a strong storm that is currently in the Gulf of Alaska, drier air in southwest flow overspreads the southwest U.S. and brings warmer than average temperatures under mostly sunny skies to the Steamboat Springs area on Wednesday.

Winter solstice arrives Thursday morning at 9:28, and will be closely followed by a blast of real winter weather. The Gulf of Alaska storm will have mixed with some cold air from western Canada as it moves through the Great Basin, and a strong cold front is forecast to move through northern Colorado sometime during the first day of winter.

Snow showers will develop ahead of the cold front as some energy is ejected out of the Great Basin storm, but showers will turn into moderate to heavy snow as the front blasts through our area later Thursday. There is some uncertainty with the storm’s evolution, with some splitting evident in the numerical forecast guidance, though the models now keep the storm mostly intact as it crosses the Rockies. At this point, 4-8” of snow is possible for the Friday morning Steamboat ski report, though the forecast amounts will likely change as the Great Basin storm evolves.

While a ridge of high pressure rapidly builds in the Gulf of Alaska near weeks end, another storm  traveling down the Pacific Northwest coast mixes with some bitterly cold arctic air pulled southward from the North Pole and will affect our weekend weather.

While it looks likely that Christmas weekend will be cold, there is uncertainty to how snowy it may be. Numerical models elongate the push of cold air form central California to New England, bringing very cold temperatures to most of the U.S., and it looks like Steamboat Springs will be near the boundary that separates the coldest air to our north. Though I expect the forecast to change by my next post on Wednesday or Thursday, after a dry Friday day, persistent light to moderate snow may grace our area from Friday night through Christmas Eve, with significant accumulations of light and fluffy low-density snow possible.

From Christmas Day forward, models are struggling with how much energy gets left behind in the southwest as most of the storm moves east, how strong the Gulf of Alaska ridge becomes and whether moist Pacific energy undercuts the ridge. The evolution of this complex pattern will determine if the snow and cold stick around for the last week of 2017.

I spend a lot of time skiing and mountain biking, depending on the season, and these are some of the products that have worked very well for me. Consider purchasing them through these links as I will earn a small commission that will help me keep SnowAlarm running. And feel free to contact me if you would like to see your product endorsed.

Save your soles in time for the holidays! Your boot soles, that is. If you do any walking in your ski boots on hard surfaces, then you know the grating and grinding sounds you hear can’t be good. In fact, worn boot soles make your binding unsafe as it interferes with the boot-binding interface. Cat Tracks are a flexible protector that keeps your boot soles pristine, and adds a cushion for walking comfort. When it’s time to click into bindings, I take them off and stash them in my coat pocket.

Yaktrax are similar, but I have not used them since they appear they would take up a bit more space in my jacket pocket. But you get a rocker sole that promotes a natural stride which may be worth the space sacrifice. If I did not have to carry them around all day, these would be my choice.

Snow tonight and possibly Saturday

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Your snow dances are working! What looked like a dry Wednesday night into Thursday morning in Steamboat Springs has turned into a snowy forecast, as energy moving southward along the east side of a dominant West Coast ridge has trended further west these last few days. The end result is a couple of weak waves will move over our area tonight and early Thursday morning, leaving 2-4” for the Thursday morning report with another inch or two possible during the morning.

Sunny skies will return for later Thursday and Friday ahead of another possible storm weak storm on Saturday. Numerical weather models have uncharacteristically diverged with the Saturday forecast, with some bringing snow into northern Colorado Saturday morning while others keep us dry as they split the storm around our area.

Whether the Saturday storm splits and the amount of energy partitioned between the northern and southern parts of the storm has implications for the remainder of the weekend and early next week. Unsettled weather could stick around from Saturday through Monday with generally light snow, there could be a stronger storm for Sunday, or no storm at all. At this point, I have no preference for any solution, so please be diligent in whatever you are doing to conjure up the snow.

Surprisingly, the weather models agree that nice weather will return for around next midweek ahead of a potentially large storm that may herald a pattern change for the West. This is the result of some cold Canadian air mixing with a storm in the Gulf of Alaska and forcing the western ridge of high pressure westward. A cold and snowy Christmas weekend is looking increasingly likely, though I’d like to get past the uncertainty surrounding this weekend before biting off on that forecast.

I spend a lot of time skiing and mountain biking, depending on the season, and these are some of the products that have worked very well for me. Consider purchasing them through these links as I will earn a small commission that will help me keep SnowAlarm running. And feel free to contact me if you would like to see your product endorsed.

Cold toes? I’ve used the awesome Hotronic foot warmers from their beginnings, and can honestly say that each iteration of the product is better than the last. I have the S4 custom, attached to my powerstrap so they never fall off, and my toes stay warm for my entire ski day

To keep your toes even warmer, try some gloves for your boot! I’ve found these work best in powder, as it keeps the cold snow from touching the boot plastic and sucking heat away from the interior. However, they do cover the lowest two boot buckles, so this accessory is not for those who like to (or need to!) fiddle with the buckles during the day.

Mostly sunny with some cooling for Monday, Thursday and Saturday

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A dominant and large ridge of high pressure over the West Coast has brought sunny skies to the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday. Waves of energy traveling over the top of the ridge will bring some cooler temperatures and breezy northwest winds on Monday and Thursday, though the Yampa Valley will start off each day cool as the clear skies and low sun angle encourage a temperature inversion to form each night.

Rather than traveling over the top of the West Coast ridge, a pattern change may be in the offing around Saturday as a Pacific storm beats the ridge down. It is not yet clear how much of the Pacific storm will survive the battle with the ridge, but some clouds and snow showers are currently advertised for next weekend.

The unsettled weekend weather may last into the following Monday before the numerical weather models have a much stronger and more promising storm moving into California around mid next week. While forecasts generally become far more uncertain after about a week, there is agreement that this storm will mix with some cold air from Canada. This may allow wintry weather to settle over the western states heading into Christmas weekend, especially if the West Coast ridge rebuilds further west into the Gulf of Alaska as is currently advertised.

I spend a lot of time skiing and mountain biking, depending on the season, and these are some of the products that have worked very well for me. Consider purchasing them through these links as I will earn a small commission that will help me keep SnowAlarm running. And feel free to contact me if you would like to see your product endorsed.

My new favorite cold-weather glove are all about warmth. And when combined with the standard HotHands handwamers which I use below about 5F, I’m good for the day. Three fingers sit together with the index finger separated, but there is enough room to scrunch all your fingers together while on the lift, which is especially nice if you have a handwarmer in the mitten-part of the glove.

But what about your toes? I’ve used the awesome Hotronic foot warmers from their beginnings, and can honestly say that each iteration of the product is better than the last. I have the S4 custom, attached to my powerstrap so they never fall off, and my toes stay warm for my entire ski day

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