Beautiful start to the week turns wet by Wednesday

Sunday, September 18, 2022

A stunning day is over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday morning with cloudless skies and temperatures around fifty degrees, after low temperatures this morning reached the upper thirties. Temperatures will warm into the upper seventies through Tuesday before wet weather returns by midweek.

Possible storm peak snow on 2022_09_16_1420 Possible storm peak snow on 2022_09_16_1440 Possible storm peak snow on 2022_09_16_1500 Before the beautiful and dry weather started today, impressive rainfall fell over the Steamboat Springs area for four days starting last Wednesday, thanks to the moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Kay and several waves of energy from the Pacific. It appears that the mountain area received more rain than areas downtown, with observations indicating around 1.2” of rain near the mountain and 0.7” downtown. Additionally, 3 frames from the Steamboat Powdercam from Friday morning at 8:20 am, 8:40 am and 9:00 am show what appears to be a dusting of snow near the top of Storm Peak in the upper left of the snapshots quickly melting.

But now, a large eddy that has recently cut off from the main jet stream is spinning just off the West Coast while a ridge of high pressure is building over Texas. Warm and dry winds from the southwest will bring plenty of sunshine and allow high temperatures to reach the upper seventies today and tickle eighty degrees on Monday, which is almost ten degrees above our rapidly declining average high of 71 F.

Part of a large storm currently in the Bering Sea is forecast to move eastward early in the work week and nudge the West Coast eddy inland, bringing a surge of monsoonal-like moisture over our area by midweek. Clouds should be increasing Tuesday during another warm day in the upper seventies ahead of showers later in the day caused by a grazing storm to our north.

By Wednesday, the eddy is forecast to move into the Pacific Northwest and join the jet stream before moving into Montana on Thursday. Over our area, energy ejecting out of the eddy will conspire with both the subtropical monsoon moisture and the grazing cool front to create periods of moderate to heavy rainfall during the day Wednesday and overnight.

Showers might hang on into Thursday, but be less widespread and intense compared to Wednesday. And right now, a ridge of high pressure is forecast to build over the West behind what is left of the departing eddy for the weekend. But stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather forecast on Thursday afternoon to see if that forecasts holds steady.

Improving weather through the weekend

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Rain showers are ongoing over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon with temperatures around sixty degrees. After decreasing overnight, more showers are in store for Friday, though with periods of sunshine between the storms that should warm temperatures into the upper sixties. The weather begins to dry out on Saturday with slightly warmer temperatures, though we may still see some showers through the day before Sunday brings plenty of sunshine and significantly warmer temperatures in the mid-seventies.

The persistent ridge of high pressure that brought record-breaking temperatures to our area last week and was overhead as recently as two days ago has been relegated to the southeastern U.S. by a broad trough of low pressure extending from the eastern Pacific to the Rocky Mountains. Waves of energy moving through the low pressure area have brought and will continue to bring showers and cool temperatures below our average of 72 F through the early part of the weekend.

Our area has received beneficial rainfall from this system, with around a third of an inch recorded around town by this morning and at least an additional quarter-inch so far today recorded by the SnowAlarm weather station near the mountain.

Snow was also remotely observed by the Grand Junction radar over the Uinta Mountains yesterday and today with their peaks reaching above 13,000′, with some weather forecast models predicting snowflakes over Cameron Pass later tomorrow. Our first snowfall will wait though, as low temperatures in the upper thirties near the top of the Mt Werner will likely not be cold enough for snow. But certainly check the Steamboat Powdercam in case snow levels fall further than forecast.

The unsettled weather will be around on Friday and linger through Saturday, though more sunshine between the showers should allow high temperatures to increase to the upper sixties tomorrow and breach seventy degrees on Saturday. Shower coverage will decrease on Friday compared to today, and more so on Saturday, and there may be morning showers on both days in addition to the more usual afternoon showers.

By Sunday, though, beautiful dry weather with a temperature in the mid-seventies is forecast as a storm currently near the Aleutian Islands moves southward along the West Coast and forms an eddy that may loiter there through the early part of the work week. This allows the ridge of high pressure to build back toward our area bringing another beautiful and even warmer day on Monday.

And, contrary to the possibly premature prognostications by some declaring the monsoon season over, the combination of southerly flow ahead of the eddy combined with the clockwise circulation around the high pressure area may bring another surge of monsoonal moisture overhead by midweek. Enjoy the improving weather over the weekend, and what is likely to be a stellar Sunday, and I’ll be back that afternoon discussing the evolution of that eddy and whether we have another monsoonal surge of moisture in our midweek forecast.

Rain chances return for midweek

Sunday, September 11, 2022

A stunning day is over the Steamboat Springs area with cloudless skies and temperatures around seventy degrees early this Sunday afternoon. More of the same is expected for Monday with warmer temperatures before the remnants of Hurricane Kay and incoming Pacific energy increase the chances of rain starting later Tuesday and extending into Thursday, with Wednesday likely the wettest day of the work week.

The storm that dragged our first cold fronts of the season through the area is currently moving through the Great Lakes region while the remnants of Hurricane Key are located off the southern coast of California. A wave of Pacific energy is forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast on Monday and mix with the former hurricane, eventually bringing first clouds and then showers through our area starting later Tuesday.

But first, the official weather station for Steamboat Springs located behind the high school has reported that we tied or broke daily high temperature records for last Sunday, Monday and Thursday ahead of the two cold fronts on Friday and Saturday. Clear skies and light winds allowed our temperatures last night to reach the coldest of the season so far, with the Bob Adams airport recording a low of 31 F and my weather station near the base of the mountain recording 28 F, with the first frost of the season visible in some of the drainages.

Smoke has also abated for today, but is expected to return on Monday according to the latest 48 hour run of the NOAA smoke model. A ridge of high pressure will build overhead between the departing storm and the advancing weather from the west and southwest as temperatures rise to the low eighties tomorrow, as much as ten degrees above our average of 73 F.

While Tuesday will start with a mostly sunny morning, clouds will increase during the afternoon with showers possible by Tuesday evening and overnight as the remnants of the hurricane pass nearest to our area. Moisture will stick around on Wednesday and Thursday, with widespread showers likely through the day Wednesday and into Thursday morning.

The weather for the weekend is uncertain at this time as the European ECMWF has another wave of Pacific energy crossing the West Coast while the American GFS has a building ridge of high pressure over the Rockies, keeping the storm further offshore. So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to see what next weekend may hold in store.

Cold fronts to end the heatwave this weekend

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Another hot day is over the Steamboat Springs area with temperatures in the upper eighties under mostly sunny skies. Today will mark the last day of such warm temperatures as a couple of cold fronts move through the area tonight and tomorrow night. We may see a small chance of showers tonight with the first front, but cooler temperatures will be the most noticeable effect as they drop to around eighty degrees tomorrow and the mid to low-seventies by Saturday before rebounding several degrees for Sunday.

An area of low pressure is currently deepening over the northern Intermountain West while northwestward moving Hurricane Kay is located over the Baja Peninsula. We will see one more day in this heatwave today before the persistent ridge of high pressure that brought the record breaking heat over parts of the West is temporarily squashed. While the official data for Steamboat Springs have not yet been published for this week, our neighbors in Hayden broke records on Sunday and Wednesday with temperatures reaching 94 F and tied records on Saturday and Tuesday with 92 F.

We have also seen smoke from wildfires burning to our west and northwest, and I have re-posted the air quality widget on the SnowAlarm homepage as well as providing access to the NOAA smoke plume model that I catalog four times a day. Unfortunately, that guidance keeps some of the smoke and haze around for the length of its 48 hour forecast.

The area of low pressure is forecast to have two main waves of energy and cool air rotating around it, with the first bringing a cold front through our area tonight and the second on Friday night. There may be a small chance of some showers ahead of the front later this evening through midnight or so, but Friday should be dry with high temperatures cooling to around 80 F, which is still around five degrees above our average high temperature of 76 F.

The second cold front moves through around Friday night and should finally bring high temperatures to several degrees below average on Saturday. Look for the coldest night of the season Saturday night with low temperatures approaching freezing, with some favored locations possibly reaching freezing.

After a cool start Sunday morning, temperatures should warm into the upper seventies as the ridge of high pressure tries to rebound overhead behind the departing low pressure area to our north.

I mentioned current Hurricane Kay earlier in this narrative since we may see some activity from the remnants as early as Monday night or Tuesday as it fragments around some incoming Pacific energy. There is a lot of uncertainty with respect to how much energy and moisture make it to northern Colorado, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon to see what weather we may see for next week.

Heat relief waits till the end of the work week

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Bluebird skies and hot temperatures already above eighty-five degrees are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday afternoon, threatening the record high temperature of ninety degrees later today. Summer has emphatically stated it’s not going anywhere this work week as high temperatures are forecast to stay in the upper eighties and perhaps exceed ninety degrees through Thursday before the season’s first cold front brings some relief from the heat for the weekend. Even then, high temperatures are expected to be in the low-eighties which is around five degrees above our average of 76 F.

The deep and cold areas of low pressure over the Gulf of Alaska and Hudson Bay have persisted for most of the summer, parking an expansive ridge of high pressure currently centered over the Rockies. A storm currently moving through the Aleutian Islands from the Sea of Japan is forecast to grab some cold air from the Gulf of Alaska storm early in the work week while also pushing that storm into Canada as it is deflected to our north by the ridge of high pressure overhead.

We will not see any effects from that interaction until the end of the work week as the first cold front of the season is forecast to graze our area and drop high temperatures around ten degrees, which will still leave us about five degrees above our early weekend average of 76 F. Precipitation chances will remain near nil until the cold front arrives.

Even then, current weather forecast models keep us dry, though they are struggling with how much cold air is incorporated into that old Sea of Japan storm since the observational weather network is sparse over oceans. I would expect changes to the forecast strength of the cold front which may also affect the precipitation potential, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to see how that develops for next weekend.

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23 February 2021

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