Tuesday, November 17, 2015
The Steamboat ski area reported 10” of new snow today from the storm which began early Monday morning. Snows are forecast to increase again for tomorrow and Friday, with the American GFS model bringing another quick-moving storm for Sunday. For those keeping score, the European ECMWF did a better job than the American GFS last week by keeping the storm progressive for today and tomorrow, as discussed in the last forecast, so the forecast for Sunday is uncertain.
The current cool and moist northwest flow looks to continue through the weekend, continuing the unsettled weather. Snowfall will increase again on Wednesday as a quick moving wave moves over the Steamboat Springs area. Temperatures will cool during the day and the storm should leave another 3-6” on the hill by Thursday morning.
A brief break in the wintry weather is forecast early Thursday before a similar but stronger wave brings another shot of snow and colder temperatures for Friday. If this wave holds together as advertised, another 5-10” of snow should be reported on the hill by Saturday morning.
By Sunday, the American GFS has trended significantly stronger with the next wave in northwest flow while the European ECMWF has kept the wave weaker and further north. The ECMWF’s recent out-performance notwithstanding, I do like the American GFS’s trend and would not discount that solution for more snow Sunday.
Another break is forecast for early in the work week before significant differences in the two models appear again by mid week. It appears likely we will get some sort of weather around Thanksgiving, though the details are obscure at this time.
Friday, November 13, 2015
A major storm will impact our area starting Monday after a beautiful weekend. Currently, dry air has settled over Colorado leaving the Steamboat Springs area under mostly sunny skies that will persist through most of the weekend. Temperatures will warm at the higher elevations while the valley may stay cool as the current temperature inversion persists, with high clouds invading the area later Sunday in advance of the next storm.
This storm is forecast to cross the West Coast early Sunday. Numerical models have the storm undergoing a split as it moves eastward across the Great Basin, with the dominant southern portion of the storm impacting the entire state of Colorado Monday through around midweek.
Usually, confidence in the model solutions grows stronger as an event nears, however model solutions for the Monday storm are still changing, leading to a low confidence forecast after precipitation likely starts early in the day on Monday. Uncertainty revolves around how much energy is drawn into the southern part of the split and the amount of intensification the storm is expected to undergo as it crosses the Rockies.
The American GFS has trended slower and stronger with the storm, now keeping significant snows over Colorado through Wednesday, while the European ECMWF has trended back towards the originally faster solution, moving the storm east of our area on Wednesday. Interestingly, the Steamboat Springs area may continue to receive snows in this case in the cool and moist northwest flow behind the more rapidly departing storm.
Storm amounts are tough to forecast, but it is likely we will receive 6-12” of snow on the hill and maybe half that in the valley by Tuesday morning as both models agree upon the storm motion until it crosses the Rockies. At the very least, I would expect unsettled weather with varying amounts of snow on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the possibility of heavy snows during each of those days.
Any breaks in the weather after this storm passes will likely occur around Thursday and early Friday before another Pacific wave is forecast to cross the West Coast on Thursday. This looks be a fast-moving and splitting storm, and is currently forecast to bring a cool front with light snow through the Steamboat Springs area late on Friday or early in the weekend.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
A fast-traveling wave to our north and east has kept temperatures cool today and may produce some light snow showers on the hill. Dry air should move over the area by tomorrow morning leaving the Steamboat Springs area under mostly sunny skies through most of the weekend before high clouds invade the area later Sunday. Temperatures will warm at the higher elevations while the valley may stay cool as the current temperature inversion persists.
Another strong Pacific wave is forecast to cross the West Coast early Sunday. Numerical models have the storm undergoing a weak split as it crosses the Great Basin, with a dominant southern portion of the storm impacting the entire state of Colorado Monday through early Tuesday.
Similar to the storm this past week, early indications are this storm my produce another 6-12” of snow on the hill by early Tuesday, with about half that in the valley. Cold temperatures under clearing skies should be noted as the storm moves east of the area Tuesday before snow showers are forecast to redevelop in the cold and unstable airmass Tuesday afternoon and lasting through Wednesday.
There may be a break for most of Thursday before some sort of storm threatens Steamboat Springs again by the end of the work week. There is considerable model disagreement with the American GFS forecasting a couple of grazing waves while the European ECMWF has a much deeper and more significant system lined up that will last into the weekend.
Monday, November 9, 2015
A splitting storm is currently located over the Pacific Northwest and will move across the Great Basin on Tuesday. While this was advertised in last week’s forecast, models are now placing most of the emphasis on the southern part of the storm, which looks to produce another round of moderate to sometimes heavy snowfall for the Steamboat Springs area.
After another pleasant day today, temperatures should be cooler tomorrow before showers begin in the late afternoon or evening. There should be a burst of heavy snow when the cold front passes around midnight Tuesday, and continuing moderate to sometimes heavy snow in windy conditions overnight as the atmosphere destabilizes in cold northwest flow. There may be as much as 6-12” on the hill by Wednesday morning and around half of that in the valley.
The snowfall rates will decrease and snow will become more showery during the day Wednesday as the storm moves eastward, though snowfall may increase a bit early Thursday as a trailing wave keeps cold air and instability over the Steamboat Springs area. These snow showers should end by Thursday afternoon, but not before leaving another 2-5” of snow on the hill by then.
Temperatures will start cold on Friday morning, but there should be some warming during the day, especially at the higher elevations as the Steamboat Springs valley may stay cool as the usual wintertime temperature inversion form.
Beautiful weather looks to be on tap for the weekend and possibly the early part of next week before another Pacific storm is forecast to make landfall around Monday.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
First turns of the 2015/2016 ski season on Saturday, 7 November after presumably the last mountain bike ride of the season on the previous Tuesday, 3 November! That beats last year’s 5 day break between summer and winter sports by two days!
The storm responsible for this quick switch dropped about 17 inches of snow over 3 days at the top of the Steamboat Ski Area as well as this location, which was at the upper end of the advertised forecast.
This area is Fox Curve which is on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass several miles east of the West Summit. After a few uphill traverses without skins, we took off our skis and followed the bootpack up to the top of the ridge.
Below is some video evidence my buddy Dave Moloney shot as I was coming down the shallow ridge - The skiing was not nearly as good as last year, but bottomless powder on day 1 is always a good thing!
Milly followed Dave down ahead of me, so she was unavailable for the starring role this year.