After showers on Tuesday, pattern change threatens the weekend and beyond

Monday, October 10, 2016

The sharp and unstable ridge along the Canadian coast has materialized as advertised in the last forecast, forcing cool air from western Canada southward into the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, some Pacific energy will undercut the ridge and allow several shallow waves to moves across the area and threaten rain showers as soon as late this afternoon and overnight.

Increasing moisture and instability ahead of the advancing Pacific Northwest storm and additional disturbances undercutting the ridge brings a good chance of rain showers to the Steamboat Springs area on Tuesday, especially later in the day, with high snow levels.

Wednesday is forecast to be cooler and dry before another Pacific wave undercuts the rapidly disappearing ridge off the Canadian coast. Models have trended weaker and further south with the undercutting energy likely keeping showers to our south on Thursday.

While Friday currently looks dry and breezy, the breakdown of that unstable ridge allows more substantial Pacific energy to impinge on the West Coast and cool western Canadian air to pour into the Gulf of Alaska, ushering in a likely long-lasting and more active weather regime for the West. Models are now more aggressive in bringing another relatively warm wave across our area early in the weekend, with some forecasting breezy conditions and showers with high snow levels on Saturday.

Sunday looks to be an in-between day before a much colder and stronger wave threatens precipitation with snow levels approaching the valley bottom early in the next work week.

A couple of chances of precipitation next week after a nice weekend

Friday, October 7, 2016

Temperatures are rebounding nicely in Steamboat Springs today after a chilly start under clear skies behind the departing storm system. After another chilly start Saturday morning, temperatures will continue to warm through the weekend as a flat ridge moves over the area.

A weak wave moving south of us from the southwestern U.S. may bring some clouds to the area on Sunday, but any precipitation should be confined to southern Colorado.

By Monday, a wave from western Canada will move southward along a sharp and unstable ridge along the Canadian coast and phase with some Pacific energy undercutting the ridge and moving across the desert southwest. Though the cool air from Canada looks to affect mainly the Front Range on Tuesday, increasing moisture and instability ahead of these disturbances brings a chance of precipitation to Steamboat Springs later Monday and especially through Tuesday with likely high snow levels. 

At this point, Wednesday is forecast to be dry before more substantial Pacific energy undercuts the rapidly disappearing ridge off the Canadian coast. Though models have trended weaker with the undercutting energy traveling over our area by Thursday, there may still be a chance of showers with high snow levels.

Interestingly, the breakdown of that unstable ridge also allows cool air from western Canada to move westward into the Gulf of Alaska by late in the work week, pumping up a temporary ridge over the Intermountain West and advertising another beautiful weekend. The storm that develops in the Gulf of Alaska over that weekend my affect our weather the following work week.

Storm to affect our weather this week

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Pacific storm that has crossed the West Coast this morning will race across the Great Basin tonight. The storm has evolved considerably since Thursday’s forecast with the storm now forecast to be comprised of two distinct pieces. The first part of the storm is about a day faster and drier, bringing a cool front through the Steamboat Springs area during the day Monday. Breezy southwest flow will veer to the west and northwest when the front passes with a band of showers moving through around noon or early afternoon.

The brunt of the storm will be deflected to our north by a ridge of high pressure over the central US. with some drying advertised over our area behind the front later Monday into Tuesday. Despite the drier weather, temperatures will be cool on Tuesday as additional energy from the northwest keeps cool air flowing into the region.

Multiple waves of additional energy will keep temperatures cool and eventually moisten the atmosphere, bringing showers back into our area for Wednesday. It will be cold enough for snow on Mt. Werner, and we may see some snowflakes in the valley around Wednesday afternoon or evening.

The waves of energy continue for Thursday and into the overnight, with continued snow on Mt. Werner and snow showers likely in the valley. While accumulations on the still-warm paved surfaces are unlikely, there may be some accumulations on the grassy areas.

Warming and drying is advertised to start Friday after a chilly start to the day and last through the weekend behind the the last wave that is forecast to cross the area Thursday night.

For those that plan travel to the East Coast over Columbus Day weekend, be aware that long range models have a hurricane threatening the East Coast. There is still lots of uncertainty, though, as not only may the track of the hurricane change, but it may or may not interact with the second part of our forecast storm as it moves eastward.

Warm with mix of sun and showers before snow around Tuesday

Thursday, September 29, 2016

An incoming Pacific storm to our northwest and tropical and sub-tropical weather systems to our southwest will affect the Steamboat Springs weather over the next week. Southwesterly flow ahead of the Pacific storm, currently located off the Pacific Northwest coast, has brought moisture left over from last week’s storm and a tropical storm near Baja over Colorado. There is a good chance of nocturnal showers tonight as a wave of energy moves just west of Steamboat Springs after midnight.

We will also have a good chance of showers during the day on Friday as the airmass continues to moisten and additional energy from the southwest travels over the area. 

Drier air invades the area for the weekend in still warm southwest flow with afternoon showers possible, more so on Saturday than Sunday.

Meanwhile, some cold air from western Canada will mix with the Northwest Pacific storm, causing it to split with a significant part of the storm forming a closed low that sinks southward along the West Coast over the weekend. By Sunday, the Pacific jet stream undercuts a transient ridge in the Gulf of Alaska  and forces the closed low to make landfall around northern California. 

The storm will move across the Great Basin on Monday, with relatively dry southwest flow ahead of the storm keeping warm conditions over our area with a slight chance of Monday afternoon showers.

However, the summery weather will come to an abrupt end Monday night as current forecasts have a strong cold front associated with the storm moving through the area. We will likely see moderate to heavy precipitation with the front, and snow levels will plummet to the valley floor, with the season’s first snowflakes likely falling in town on Tuesday. The warm road surfaces will likely preclude accumulations, but snow on the grassy surfaces is certainly possible.

Additional energy will keep the precipitation going on a likely dreary Wednesday with brisk northwest winds before current forecasts have the storm moving east of our area by Thursday. For those that plan travel to the East Coast over Columbus Day weekend, be aware that long range models have a hurricane threatening the East Coast for the end of the work week. There is lots of uncertainty, though, as not only may the track of the hurricane change, but it may or may not interact with either our last week’s storm currently spinning in the Ohio River Valley or our forecast storm for next week.


Beautiful start to the week before warm moisture returns around midweek and the weekend

Monday, September 26, 2016

A building western ridge will keep warming temperatures and sunny skies with cool nights around through tomorrow and some of Wednesday.

Part of this past weekend’s storm that broke southwestward from the parent circulation is currently spinning near Baja and will be joined by a tropical disturbance moving northward. Meanwhile, additional cold air from the northern latitudes will strengthen a Gulf of Alaska storm and move it southward by midweek.

Southwest flow ahead of the Pacific storm will shear the Baja disturbances into a series of waves that will move northeastward, increasing moisture over our area later Wednesday and leading to the possibility of showers as early as later Wednesday and lasting through Friday.

Following closely on the heels of these Baja disturbances, additional energy starts to eject from the Gulf of Alaska storm that is forecast to be off the Pacific Northwest coast by Friday. This energy will move over the area in continued warm southwest flow, threatening continued showers in warm temperatures through the weekend.

By late in the weekend, numerical guidance has upstream Pacific energy undercutting a rapidly building ridge behind Pacific Northwest storm which forces the storm eastward. Some sort of cool front is forecast to pass through the Steamboat Springs area early in the next work week, followed by cool and unsettled weather as the storm slowly moves across the Great Basin.

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