Thursday, October 12, 2017
A large storm currently located in the Pacific Northwest will send several cool fronts through the Steamboat Springs area starting today, with the last one on Saturday the strongest. Gorgeous warm and dry fall weather will return Sunday and last through at least midweek.
Winds have picked up ahead of the first front today as southwest flow increases, and conditions will stay breezy to windy through the first half of the weekend. Friday will be similar to today, though with less clouds as drier air overspreads the area behind the front.
On Saturday, a much stronger and sharper cold front will blast through the area in the morning or early afternoon as the Pacific Northwest storm moves across the northern Intermountain region. Temperatures will drop ten or twenty degrees fairly quickly behind the front as gusty winds veer from the southwest to the northwest and clouds increase.
There may be enough moisture for showers, and the the air will be cold enough for snowflakes in the Yampa Valley behind the front. After our brief encounter with Indian Summer this week, Saturday could feel like quite the raw day.
But the cool down will be short lived, and after a cold start to Sunday morning, a warm and very dry airmass settles over the West, promoting the return of Indian Summer through at least midweek.
Uncertainty emerges for the end of the work week as a storm approaches the West Coast in strong westerly flow. Models are struggling with the its timing and strength, but some sort of storminess is expected for the end of the work week or the following weekend.
Monday, October 9, 2017
The unseasonably cold storm discussed in Thursday’s forecast moved in about 12 hours faster than originally forecast, arriving in the Steamboat Springs area around sunset Sunday and leaving by noon today. Temperatures fell to 14F at the top of Mt. Werner last night and mountain-top winds were mostly from the east, limiting precipitation as the easterly winds moved down the slopes of the Park Range and dried the airmass.
Drier air has moved in behind the storm, and after the coldest morning of the season Tuesday, temperatures will warm through midweek yielding some more spectacular fall weather.
Several waves of energy and cool air will rotate through the Gulf of Alaska and move along the northern U.S. border from Thursday through the weekend. While most of the weather will stay to our north, temperatures may be knocked back a bit and winds will become breezy as the cool air grazes our area each day.
Some uncertainty in the forecast appears for the weekend, as some of the Gulf of Alaska energy takes a more southern track through the Great Basin. Models are still struggling with how much energy splits southward early in the weekend and whether the bulk of the energy moves across our area in one piece or two over the weekend. Whether we see a cooler Saturday afternoon with some showers or a warmer Saturday with showers holding off until later Saturday or Sunday is yet to be determined.
Thursday, October 5, 2017
A dry cool front for Friday will precede a nice weekend ahead of another snow event on Columbus Day in Steamboat Springs. The rest of today will feature a brilliant fall day with warm temperatures and sunny skies.
They dry storm currently located in Nevada and discussed in Monday’s forecast will move across northern Colorado on Friday. Temperatures will fall from above average today to below average tomorrow, and there may be some afternoon showers as the atmosphere destabilizes.
After a cool start to Saturday, dry weather with mostly sunny skies and above average temperatures will grace our area through the weekend.
However, like the last storm, another storm that forms in the Gulf of Alaska during the weekend mixes with some cold air from western Canada and the polar region, and travels through the Great Basin on Monday. The southwest flow ahead of the storm will battle the cold air north of the storm, with dry, warm and possibly breezy conditions ahead of the cold front. Numerical weather models have struggled with the timing of this storm, but current forecasts bring the front through sometime on Monday. At this point it is uncertain during what part of the day the front arrives, so we may sneak in another nice day, or not.
The air will be quite cold, and it may be an all-snow event in the Yampa Valley that will extend through Monday night. Any precipitation that falls as rain should quickly change over to snow as temperatures plummet, and accumulations are again expected in the valley, with more significant accumulations at the higher elevations.
Clouds may linger on Tuesday as the storm moves east of our area, with another cool day expected. Cold morning temperatures behind the front will be experienced on Tuesday, and again Wednesday if skies clear Tuesday night.
As was the case this week, warmer and drier air washes over our area for most of the rest of the work week.
Lots of uncertainty emerges for next weekend as another storm forms in the Gulf of Alaska and splits as approaches the Pacific Northwest coast around the end of the work week. Numerical weather models disagree on the amount of splitting and whether the southern part of the split loiters offshore or moves inland, with one solution keeping us warm and dry and the other bringing at least unsettled weather into Great Basin and eventually our area for next weekend.
Monday, October 2, 2017
The strong winter-like storm that is still gripping the Steamboat Springs area has left 19” of snow containing about 2.4” of liquid water at the top of Sunshine Peak near Patrol Headquarters, as shown by the current Steamboat Powdercam, and about 6” on my deck near the base of Mt. Werner. In the Yampa Valley, the rain that started around 2:30 Saturday afternoon left about an inch of water by Sunday morning. By mid-morning Sunday, the rain had changed to snow, certainly much earlier than my Thursday forecast, and continued through Monday morning, leaving about another inch of liquid water in the valley.
The cold air associated with this storm, sourced from the North Pole, was not to be slowed by the southwest flow aloft, and snow levels dropped faster and further than originally forecast. Snow showers will taper off through the afternoon today, with another weak round of showers possible around midnight.
Some drier air should move over our area after midnight, and if skies clear, temperatures will fall to the lowest levels of the season so far. Below normal temperatures will persist into Wednesday as the sun’s energy goes into melting the snow rather than warming the atmosphere.
As this storm lifts to our northeast by midweek, another storm moving southward from British Columbia briefly stalls in Nevada through midweek. This will keep southwest flow over our area until the end of the work week and we will see warming temperatures under continued mostly sunny skies.
As energy traveling across the Pacific crosses the British Columbia coast around Friday and energizes the jet stream, the Nevada storm is ejected to the east and northeast, moving over or near our area sometime on Friday. This storm will be quite dry, likely with no precipitation, but it should knock temperatures back a bit for Friday.
Uncertainty emerges for the weekend as it is not clear how strong and how far south the Pacific jet stream will travel as it sags southward across the Intermountain West after crossing the West Coast. Earlier forecasts had significant warming and drying over Colorado for the weekend, but current numerical model forecasts now have the jet stream pushing further south, and this will likely limit the previously advertised warming and drying as cooler air and clouds lurk to our north.
Thursday, September 28, 2017
This forecast sounds like a broken record, but several more storms will impact the Steamboat Springs area through at least early next week, with a possible break around midweek.
Currently, a compact storm in central Utah has brought a round of precipitation to the Yampa Valley earlier today as waves of energy and moisture from the south rotated through our area. Though moisture decreases, there will still be a chance of showers later today before ending in the evening.
Friday will be another unsettled day as the storm in central Utah lifts to the northeast and clips northwestern Colorado, with showers starting as soon as noon.
We will have a brief break in the weather Friday night and Saturday behind the departing storm and in advance of another stronger and much colder storm from the Pacific Northwest that is forecast to arrive later Saturday or early Sunday.
This storm has mixed with some cold air from the North Pole and will bring a series of cold fronts through the region. Showers will become numerous and increase in strength later Saturday and last through the night as the first cold front approaches. Much cooler temperatures and continued showery weather is expected for Sunday as snow levels fall to around 8000 - 9000 feet.
As is often the case with these large storms, reinforcing waves of cold air will follow behind the initial front. Numerical weather models had this cold air washing directly over northern Colorado in my Monday forecast, but now the cold air is forecast to elongate the storm to the southwest, keeping the coldest air to our north and west as southwest flow develops over Colorado. Cool and showery weather is expected for Monday, with snowflakes still possible down to the valley floor, though models have trended this weather further north in recent runs, reducing the confidence in that forecast.
There will be a battle between the cool air to our northwest and warmer air to our southwest, and numerical weather models now have the cold front retreating northward by Tuesday as the warmer air briefly wins the battle. This retreat will create the break in the cool and showery weather for Tuesday and Wednesday before remnants of the storm move eastward over our area later in the work week. Details will have to wait until there is better model agreement as to exactly how that might happen.