Pleasant start to the work week after showers today

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-sixties are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday afternoon. Even after receiving about four hundredths of an inch of rain from a passing shower this morning at the SnowAlarm weather station near the base of the Steamboat Ski Resort, additional rain is likely from thunderstorms this afternoon. Drier air overspreads the area this evening for mostly sunny days and pleasant temperatures through midweek before another monsoonal surge of moisture is forecast to start Thursday.

A persistent area of low pressure that has sat over the Gulf of Alaska most of this summer is finally moving eastward as it is replaced by a building ridge of high pressure over the eastern Pacific. The eddy left behind from last week’s Vancouver storm is currently moving through Idaho, and energy associated with this feature will conspire with the monsoonal moisture and energy moving northward for likely storms this afternoon.

As the old Gulf of Alaska low pressure area moves eastward across Canada, it will drag the Idaho eddy eastward as well, and the winds will switch to be from the northwest by this evening on the backside of the eddy, bringing much drier air overhead by tonight. Additionally, cold air from a persistent area of low pressure over Hudson Bay will mix with the old Gulf of Alaska storm, allowing cool air to spill southward across the Great Lakes. This keep the dry northwest flow overhead through midweek, with mostly sunny skies and pleasant afternoon temperatures in the mid-eighties, right around our average high of 84 F.

The weather pattern changes by Thursday as the temporarily squashed ridge of high pressure to our east rebounds into the Pacific Northwest. And once again, southerly winds under the ridge of high pressure are forecast to bring another surge of monsoonal moisture overhead for a good chance of showers on Thursday and Friday.

More energy emanating from the Bering Sea is forecast to move through the ridge of high pressure that was temporarily located over the Gulf of Alaska late in the work week, and by the weekend is forecast to move through the northern Rockies. The energy may be strong enough to switch our winds to be from the west or northwest and sever the monsoonal moisture plume, or not, but check back Thursday afternoon for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative where those details should be clearer.

Hot start to the weekend with some showers possible

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Temperatures are in the mid-eighties under mostly sunny skies this Thursday mid-afternoon in Steamboat Springs. Temperatures will stay hot through Saturday when an approaching cool front will increase the chances for afternoon and evening showers on Saturday and Sunday and cool temperatures by several degrees starting Sunday.

A ridge of high pressure is currently sitting over the West and leading to warm afternoon temperatures reaching into the upper eighties, around five degrees above our average of 84 F. Energy ejecting out of a storm currently in the Bering Sea will help dislodge the Pacific Northwest eddy left behind from last week’s Vancouver storm eastward across the northern Rockies through this weekend.

While Friday will be similar to today, perhaps with an isolated shower, we will see effects from that eastward moving eddy starting on Saturday as shower chances increase in the afternoon and evening as a cool front grazes our area. While the front may not arrive early enough in the day to moderate the hot temperatures much, areas under any clouds will see some relief from the heat.

The storm moving across the northern Rockies is forecast to nudge the ridge of high pressure eastward, and moisture over our area will increase from the grazing storm as well as monsoonal moisture carried northward on the back side of the ridge of high pressure. So expect high temperatures to cool several degrees toward our average of 84 F on Sunday with another chance of afternoon and evening storms.

Drier air behind the front looks to overspread our part of Colorado to start the work week, and additional energy moving through that Bering Sea storm is forecast to keep the ridge of high pressure from rebuilding, so expect a very pleasant dry summer day on Monday with high temperatures around average. There may be another grazing cool front later Tuesday, or not, but I’ll have more clarity on that possibility in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Modest thunderstorm chances from Monday through midweek

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Temperatures are already in the mid-eighties under mostly sunny skies early this Sunday afternoon in Steamboat Springs. The rest of today will be dry and hot, with high temperatures around ninety degrees, before Monday sees a chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms along with similarly hot temperatures, moderated by any cloud cover of course. Temperatures will cool several degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday as storm chances increase before they decrease again for the end of the work week as high temperatures again threaten the ninety degree mark.

A ridge of high pressure is currently over the Rocky Mountains while a storm is crossing the Vancouver coast. Cold air from the northern latitudes has been continuously moving across the Bering Sea and into the Gulf of Alaska this summer and creating a persistent low pressure area, and the Vancouver storm is the latest to form there. Even as another chunk of cold air enters the Gulf of Alaska and dislodges the bulk of the Vancouver storm through Montana Monday night, the southern end is left behind as an eddy over the eastern Pacific that may be a player in our weather for next weekend.

The ridge of high pressure will be flattened and nudged to the east on Monday and Tuesday as the Vancouver storm moves across Montana before rebounding and oozing back westward behind the storm through the end of the work week. Monsoonal moisture from the south will flow back over our area on the backside of the re-positioned ridge of high pressure, increasing the chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms on Monday, with a better chance on Tuesday and Wednesday along with cooling temperatures of several degrees, especially for those areas benefiting from the increased cloud cover.

Winds will shift to be from the south on Monday to be from the west and northwest by Thursday as the ridge of high pressure oozes back westward, and this will eventually sever the monsoonal moisture plume with storm chances decreasing starting Thursday and heading into the weekend, along with a rebound in temperatures back toward the ninety degree mark.

Weather forecast models agree that the eddy in the eastern Pacific will be forced eastward across the West Coast early in the weekend, possibly leading to another monsoonal surge of moisture over our area by late in the weekend or soon after as the ridge of high pressure also gets pushed to the east. I’ll know more about that possibility and whether the weekend ends dry or stormy in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

Storm chances decrease for the weekend

Thursday, July 14, 2022

The clouds over Steamboat Springs this Thursday morning have dissipated early this afternoon leaving mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the low eighties. Good chances for afternoon and overnight storms will continue today and more so on Friday before they decrease for the weekend as drier air pushes through the northern Colorado region.

A ridge of high pressure continues to sit over the West while a storm is located in the Gulf of Alaska. Monsoonal moisture from the south has been drawn around the ridge of high pressure and over our area starting yesterday, and that will continue today and tomorrow. While some areas may receive brief locally heavy rain, frequent lightning, small hail and gusty winds, some areas may receive nothing, and this was the case yesterday when the downtown area received over an inch of rain in about ten minutes along with marble sized hail! But while the core of that storm cell was intense, it was also small as only a third of an inch was recorded between the mountain and downtown and my rain gauge about 3 miles south of downtown showed only 0.15”.

Good storm chances will persist for later today and tonight as subtle impulses of energy rotate around the ridge of high pressure and encourage storm formation. Better chances for daytime and overnight storms exist for Friday as cold air moving through the Bering Sea dislodges the Gulf of Alaska storm eastward and drags a left-over piece of energy off the coast of northern California through the northern and central Rockies, temporarily flattening the ridge of high pressure. Even short term weather forecast models have a difficult time with timing and placement of these storms, but some areas are likely to receive the same brief heavy rain, frequent lighting, small hail and gusty winds that downtown saw yesterday afternoon.

The ridge of high pressure rebounds behind the disturbance on Friday as drier air ahead of the eastward moving Gulf of Alaska storm overspreads at least northern Colorado starting on Saturday for a downturn in storm chances, though the storms that do develop could still be strong. By late in the weekend, that Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to cross the Vancouver coast, with the southerly flow ahead of that storm allowing some monsoonal moisture to return northward, though at this point most of that moisture will still be south of us for another day of reduced storm chances.

That Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to eventually move across Montana early in the work week, though there is weather forecast model disagreement on the amount of dry air that may move overhead as well as whether the proximity of the grazing storm will allow for stronger thunderstorms. But check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I should have a better idea of the weather for the coming work week.

Sunny mornings and hot days with afternoon storm chances by midweek

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Temperatures are already in the low eighties under sunny skies this Sunday noon in Steamboat Springs, on their way toward the ninety degree mark for the second day in a row. Though there is a bit more moisture in the air today as evidenced by the smattering of clouds, there is only a slight chance of a late-day storm that would produce mostly gusty winds. A grazing dry cool front tonight will only drop temperatures several degrees on Monday and Tuesday before they increase again by midweek, along with chances of afternoon storms lasting into next weekend.

A weather disturbance currently moving through the Pacific Northwest will temporarily squash the ridge of high pressure over our area and drag a weak cool front through tonight. While we have seen a small increase in moisture today as compared to yesterday, the chances for storms are small with gusty winds the main effect as any precipitation that falls will evaporate in the dry lower levels of the atmosphere when afternoon relative humidities fall to near ten percent.

Winds will shift to be from the west and northwest behind the front for Monday, eliminating the chance of storms as the moisture flow from the south is temporarily severed. And we will see a drop in high temperatures of several degrees, though they will still be several degrees above our average of 83 F.

By Tuesday, the squashed ridge of high pressure oozes back west as it begins to rebound behind the grazing weather disturbance, with similar temperatures to Monday along with some afternoon clouds. Another storm forecast to cross the Vancouver coast by midweek will switch our winds back to the south as the ridge of high pressure rebuilds over the West, carrying better monsoonal moisture back over our area starting on Wednesday and continuing into the weekend.

While we will have better chances of wetting afternoon rains, amounts at this time look meager, with total rainfall only forecast to be around a tenth of an inch through the weekend. But with the typical summertime sunny mornings, the moisture will at least produce clouds which will moderate the hot afternoon temperatures expected to reach into the upper eighties.

Enjoy the very typical summertime weather for the Colorado high country this week, and check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for an update on the coming weekend weather.

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6 November 2022

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