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Unsettled weather returns from Sunday through Tuesday

Friday, June 10, 2016

A strong Pacific storm has split off the West Coast, and the southern part of the split as well as a separate storm currently near northern Baja will bring increased chances of unsettled weather for the Steamboat Springs area as soon as Saturday afternoon.

Southerly flow ahead of the southern part of the split picks up the Baja storm and moves it over the Great Basin tomorrow. Though the storm will travel west of us, the increased moisture and upward motion will increase the chance of afternoon storms for Saturday.

By Sunday, additional energy from the north reinforces the southern part of the split and forces it eastward across the southern Great Basin, eventually moving over our area early on Tuesday.

There will still be a chance of afternoon storms on Sunday as the southern storm approaches the area, though they should be less numerous than on Saturday.

By Monday, the proximity of the storm will once again increase the chance of late-day storms. As the storm moves over us overnight or early Tuesday, rain may continue into the overnight hours and extend into the morning. Showers should wane during the afternoon as cool, dry air overspreads our area on the backside of the departing storm.

By Wednesday, our flow backs from the northwest to the southwest ahead of yet another large Pacific storm approaching the northern West Coast. This will bring much drier air for the rest of the work week and extending into next weekend, along with increasing temperatures.

Spring weather turns unsettled for Closing Weekend and beyond

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A possibly prolonged period of relatively warm and unsettled weather starts Closing Weekend and extends through the following week after a string of fine spring days to close out the current work week.

A piece of the just-passed Tuesday storm, left behind and loitering west of Baja, is forecast to be pushed just south of our area Friday night by another Pacific storm upstream. The storm will be warm due its vacation west of Baja, bringing a chance of rain showers to the valley and snow showers to the higher elevations Friday night with little or no accumulations.

Meanwhile, the cold Pacific storm upstream is forecast to split around a rapidly building Gulf of Alaska ridge, and models are struggling with how much energy is partitioned in the northern and southern streams of the split, leading to forecast uncertainty.

Regardless, more low elevations rain showers and higher elevations snow showers are expected during the day Saturday as the southern stream crosses the southern California coast. Current forecasts have the bulk of the southern stream energy staying just south of our area on Sunday, continuing the warm and showery weather for Closing Day. There will likely be a weak cool front associated with the northern stream moving across our area later in the day and into the evening Sunday, but by then most of the moisture and energy associated with the southern stream has past, minimizing it’s impact over Steamboat Springs, but possibly bringing significant weather to the Front Range by Monday.

There is a lot of energy in the Pacific, and an active period is forecast for the following week, with models disagreeing on another possibly major storm around Wednesday. It’s a shame that Steamboat is planning to close Sunday as the mountain bases will likely continue to build through April.

Storms for Tuesday and Closing Day followed by very active week

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A very complicated jet stream pattern over the next two weeks will affect our weather in the Steamboat Springs area, with Pacific waves from the northwest and then southwest traveling over our area and possibly mixing with cold air from the Canadian Plains.

After a couple of spring days today and tomorrow, with even some afternoon and evening showers possible later Monday, winter returns on Tuesday as a quick-moving storm from the Pacific Northwest brings snow and breezy to windy northwest winds to the area. Models are struggling with the southern extent of the system, but currently it looks like 4-8” of snow will fall during the day and into the evening Tuesday, to be reported Wednesday morning.

Skies will clear and spring will return for midweek into the beginning of the weekend before a possibly prolonged period of wet weather starts around Closing Day and extends through the following week.

A piece of the Tuesday storm, left behind and loitering west of Baja during the week, is forecast by some models to be pushed over our area mid-weekend by another strong and cold Pacific storm upstream. The storm will initially be warm due its vacation west of Baja, bringing rain to the valley and snow to the higher elevations around Saturday afternoon of Closing Weekend.

The cold Pacific storm upstream is forecast to split around a rapidly building Gulf of Alaska ridge, and models are struggling with how much energy is partitioned in the northern and southern streams of the split. Furthermore, cold air from the Canadian Plains is forecast to push westward toward the northern Rockies and mix with the northern stream of the split, while the southern stream is forecast to undercut the Gulf of Alaska ridge and approach our area early the following work week.

There is a lot of energy in the Pacific, and at least the American GFS is forecasting an active and wet period for the following week. It’s a shame that Steamboat is currently planning to close as the mountain bases will likely continue to build through April. Would the possibility of a 400” season induce them to stay open another week? Take it upon yourself to convince them!

Return of winter still on track

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A large storm currently pounding the Pacific Northwest moves ashore tonight and will increase clouds over the Steamboat Springs area tonight. Snow showers on the hill should begin by sunrise, becoming moderate to heavy by noon as rain showers turn to snow showers in the valley. Winds will increase through the day becoming very windy and creating blowing snow, making travel difficult. Additionally, locally intense snowfall with the some thunder may be possible later in the afternoon as the atmosphere destabilizes.

The surface cold front passes through later in the day and brings favorable wet, cool and windy northwesterly flow over our area overnight Monday. Current forecasts are pointing toward the possibility of as much as 8-16” by Tuesday morning, though some models have a drier mountain-top flow which may reduce accumulations by 2-4”.

The first part of the storm on Monday introduces a long duration event comprised of several waves of moderate to heavy snowfall that will last through the entire work week. Snowfall should continue Tuesday with current forecasts having as much as 5-10” of additional snow by Wednesday morning.

Snows will continue through Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, continuing accumulations each day. Because most of the snow is being caused as air is lifted over the Park Range (i.e. orographic, or topological lift), accumulations will be less at lower elevations so the valley will see considerably less snow than the top of Mount Werner.

Total storm accumulations by Saturday morning should be impressive and may be more than two or three feet before the storm cycle is forecast to end by the weekend.

Winter weather returns next week

Friday, March 11, 2016

After another warm and sunny day today, a compact storm crosses the California coast tonight and this may affect our weather for Saturday. We will likely have at least clouds tomorrow afternoon, and we are right on the northern edge of precipitation. There may be light rain showers in the valley and snow showers on the hill by Saturday afternoon.

A much larger and more intense storm approaches the Pacific Northwest around mid-weekend after mixing with some cold arctic air. An ejecting wave on Sunday will stay mostly north of our area but will bring the possibility of light showers for the late afternoon and evening.

The parent storm then moves ashore and looks to bring full-on winter conditions to our area on Monday when a cold front passes through and brings favorable wet and cool northwesterly flow over our area. Current forecasts are pointing toward the possibility of as much as 8-16” by Tuesday morning.

Confidence is increasing that this will be a long duration event comprised of several waves of moderate to heavy snowfall that will last through the entire work week. Furthermore, this will be a cold storm that will bring significant snow to the valleys as well as the mountains and will likely adversely impact I-70 and US-40 at times.

Snow amounts are likely to be impressive by this time next week and could be measured in feet in favored locations.

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