Storm for Friday moving a bit faster than earlier predicted

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Steamboat ski area reported 3” mid / 5” top this morning, though once again the 5am phone report was not available until the 9am update. This also happened on Jan. 1st, which was another Wednesday, and this points to snow reporter Kelly not doing his job!

I believe Laurie does the morning report Sunday - Tuesday, and she is excellent in providing consistent and timely reports. Kelly is responsible for midweek and Mike also is relatively consistent in his reports to finish out the week. But Kelly not only occasionally fails to update the report, but often is late compared to the others when it is eventually recorded. I think he needs to set a couple of alarms 45 minutes earlier!

With that off my chest, the storm forecast for Friday has accelerated a bit, though the split is still likely to occur. Precipitation is now forecast to begin Thursday late in the day or evening and continue through Friday before ending early Saturday. Details are still changing as a it is not yet clear how much energy passes over us as compared to west of us. I still expect 3-6” during the day Friday, but 1-4” may fall overnight Thursday for the Friday morning report. Perhaps another several inches for Friday night will lead to a 4-8” report for Saturday morning.

Skies should rapidly clear Saturday morning leading to a warmer and sunny Saturday afternoon and Sunday. The next very similar storm is forecast to produce precipitation over our area as early as Tuesday and continuing through the day Wednesday.

There is a fair bit of uncertainty in the long-range models for the weather that occurs after next weeks midweek storm. The European model keeps a progressive flow over our area with another storm timed for the end of the week while the American model tends to build the west coast ridge with a much weaker end-of-week storm.

Storms for later today, Friday and next week

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A well-defined but quick moving wave will allow periods of moderate snowfall to develop late this afternoon and last through the evening. Snows will lighten and turn showery around midnight, but continue into the early morning hours before ending. I expect 4-8” of snow by Wednesday morning before skies mostly clear and temperatures warm for later Wednesday and Thursday.

Another stronger and more organized wave creates heavy precipitation starting along the northwest coast Wednesday and affects our area by Thursday night. However, current model forecasts have this wave splitting as it moves over our area, and model trends indicate the bulk of the storm may pass west and then south of us. Nonetheless, precipitation will begin early Friday and last through Saturday, but due to the splitting flow, I might expect only 3-6” during Friday which will be reported Saturday morning. An additional 1-3” may fall during the day Saturday before a transient ridge containing warm and dry air moves over our area for Sunday.

Another very similar storm may affect our area early the following week, though this one may have more cold air associated with it as it phases with another wave from the north rotating around the ever-present-for-this-winter Hudson Bay vortex. This storm currently is forecast to produce significant precipitation for our area from Tuesday through Thursday of next week, though that forecast is dependent upon the amount of splitting the storm endures as it moves over our area.

Storms for Tuesday and Friday

Monday, March 3, 2014

A small wave in northwest flow moved over our area this morning with insignificant precipitation, and I expect periods of sun today, though some light showers may persist, especially on the hill. However, a stronger but quick moving wave will allow periods of moderate snowfall to develop tomorrow afternoon into the evening. Showers will continue past midnight into the early morning hours, though they weaken and eventually end early in the day. I expect 5-10” of snow by Wednesday morning before skies mostly clear for later Wednesday and Thursday.

Another stronger and more organized wave crosses the northwestern coast late Wednesday and affects our area by Thursday night. Current model forecasts have this wave splitting as it moves over our area, but I would still expect significant accumulations between Thursday night and midday Friday, perhaps in the 6-12” range. Additional energy behind the main wave will keep lighter snow for our area going through Saturday before a transient ridge containing warm and dry air moves over our area for the second half of the weekend.

Another similar storm may affect our area early the following week, though this one may have more cold air associated with it as it phases with another wave from the north rotating around the ever-present-for-this-winter Hudson Bay vortex. Current longer-range models disagree with the details of this storm, which is to be expected with its impacts over a week away.

Storm disappoints this weekend, but more chances ahead

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The storm was just a bit too far east of us today to produce more than this morning’s rain in the valley and 2.5” mid / 3” top. In fact, it was a mostly sunny, but windy day as dry air right on the edge of the storm moved over us today.

As the storm moves eastward from southern California overnight and into tomorrow, current model trends have kept this storm further south, decreasing our impacts. We still have some cool air aloft tonight and through tomorrow. so I may expect 3-6” by tomorrow morning (with some of that falling this morning) with an additional 1-4” during the day tomorrow in continued showers.

Showers will diminish, but not completely end on Monday as additional weak waves in northwest flow travel over our area, and these continue but grow weaker on Tuesday. However, by Tuesday night some models show a more substantial but still quick-moving wave that may produce some significant snow for Wednesday morning.

A quick warm up with mostly sunny skies is forecast for later Wednesday into Thursday morning before another storm is forecast for late Thursday or Friday.

Snow lasts through much of the weekend

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Steamboat ski area reported 6” mid / 9” top this morning, though I found that 9” report suspect since it was not supported by either the visual evidence from the powder cam nor the measurements I made in the Priest Creek area this morning. Nonetheless, the 7 or 8” that I DID measure in the favored locations skied great this morning, as this high quality snow was dense enough to mostly separate the skier from the hard surface underneath.

Snow has currently ended with periods of sun, but the break will be short-lived as the second storm just off the central California coast backs the winds to the southwest and spreads clouds and then precipitation over our area this evening. Even though southwest flow is not very favorable for our area, both the cooling aloft this evening and proximity of surface front may allow for moderate to heavy precipitation rates, especially during the day Saturday. And because the storm does not have much cold air associated with it, the precipitation is likely to be rain or mixed in the valleys and the lowest 500 - 1000′ of the hill, with increasingly higher quality snow as elevation increases.

I might expect 2-5” by Saturday morning, and another 4-8” by Sunday morning as the heaviest snow continues through the daylight hours Saturday, but wanes toward sunset and might even stop by midnight as the main part of the storm swings south and east of us. However, some models have northwest flow continuing through much of Sunday, possibly producing another 3-6” by sunset.

Pieces of energy in the favorable northwest flow will keep showers going through midweek, and some drying is currently forecast later in the workweek before another possibly significant storm approaches our area around Friday.

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