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Snows continue through Monday night ahead of warming and drying

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Light snows that started around sunrise in the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday morning are expected to be showery early this afternoon and increase ahead of a short break after midnight before picking up again after sunrise Monday. Clearing starts on Tuesday, with warmer and dry conditions now forecast through at least part of next weekend.

The current storm affecting the west left impressive amounts of snow in the Sierras so far, with 19” reported this morning at Squaw / Alpine Meadows and lots more expected. For our area, light snow will pick up this afternoon ahead of a weak cool front expected to pass through northern Colorado early this evening. Southwest winds aloft will turn westerly when the front passes, with snows becoming moderate for a time, before temporarily ending around midnight.

I would expect 5-10” of snow to be reported at mid-mountain at the Steamboat Ski Area for the Monday morning report, before they pick up again during the day as another storm with stronger westerly winds but less moisture moves across our area. Those that ski Steamboat know that westerly winds can adversely affect snow quality as much of the mountain faces west, and this may be the case during the day with increasing westerly winds, though there may be a slight turn to the west-northwest by Monday night.

With snow showers possibly hanging on through early Tuesday morning, we could see another 2-5” by the morning report. Thankfully, winds will decrease as a ridge of high pressure moves across the west, first bringing clearing behind the storm for Tuesday and warming for Wednesday, along with plenty of sun.

The storm for the end of the work week in the previous forecast discussion has mostly disappeared from the weather forecast models, with the once strong Gulf of Alaska storm expected to weaken and split as it approaches the West Coast on Wednesday, The northern part of the split may bring some clouds and a slight cooldown on Thursday as it is forced to our north by the ridge of high pressure over most of the west, but precipitation is no longer expected.

Friday and Saturday look dry, though another storm which has very little moisture rides over the top of the western ridge of high pressure and grazes our area on Saturday. The eventual strength and position of the western ridge will determine how much cooling we see early in the weekend.

Another couple of Pacific storm approach the West Coast early and late in the weekend. While the first once looks to also strongly split as it crosses the coast, there may be enough moisture that penetrates inland to bring clouds to our area late in the weekend. The second storm is looking more promising for early in the next workweek, though considerable uncertainty exists this far out in the forecast as the American GFS is far more enthused about the storm than the European ECMWF.

I absolutely love this super-warm split-finger mitten-glove! I’m on my second season with these and am very impressed with their durability and warmth, especially when combined with the standard HotHands handwamers. Three fingers sit together with the index finger separated, but there is enough room to scrunch all your fingers together while on the lift, which is especially nice if you have a handwarmer in the mitten-part of the glove.

Three day time series of SNOTEL temperatures at Buffalo Pass and Rabbit Ears Pass added!

Friday, January 4, 2019

I am now decoding the SNOTEL (snow telemetry) sites for Buffalo Pass (elevation 10.500′) and Rabbit Ears Pass (elevation 9,400′) and presenting them as a three day timerseries. This provides another source of temperature data at elevations similar to the top of Mt. Werner and mid-mountain, respectively.

Image of current weather widget for Storm Peak Lab and Steamboat Springs Bob Adams airportThey are available on the home page, with more details about three day timeseries here.

Also note that I am now displaying the current summit temperatures and winds for the Steamboat Ski Area and the town of Steamboat Springs (from the Bob Adams airport) at the top of the home page (along with a daily summary of the high and low temperatures and maximum wind speed and gust and time of occurrence) for quick reference. I always check these data before heading out on the hill.

I am considering the addition of other locations; please email me your favorite locations and I’ll try and find a station nearby.

Finally, note that you can access all timeseries from the Want other local weather? pulldown, which is also located under the Local Temperatures, Winds & Precipitation heading

Warming ahead of our next Monday powder day

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Though the Steamboat Springs area is enjoying its third cloudless day since the arctic intrusion on Monday, cold temperatures persist in the Yampa Valley as a stout temperature inversion has formed, where air is warmer at higher elevations. In fact, as of 12:45 pm today, the temperature at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area is 12 F while the mid-mountain temperature is 27 F.

Temperatures will continue to warm through Saturday along with mostly sunny skies, albeit more slowly at lower elevations, as a ridge of high pressure moves over the west. However, the ridge will keep moving eastward as our next Pacific storm begins affecting the West Coast on Saturday and our area on Sunday.

This next storm is interesting since it looks to mix with some subtropical moisture that is forced northward by a piece of our very cold New Year’s Day storm that was left behind over the central Pacific before sinking southward into the subtropics. This piece of the storm looks to linger down there, perhaps providing a source of moisture for additional upcoming storms.

But in the near term, the Pacific storm will spread moisture into our area on Sunday, likely starting snow showers by the afternoon. Snows should pick up later in the day and overnight as a cool front passes through the area before decreasing Monday morning.

There is a fair bit of uncertainty for snow amounts as dry air from the west-southwest behind the Pacific storm is forecast to sever the moisture tap over our area by Sunday night, and models disagree on the positioning and timing of this dry air intrusion. Furthermore, it appears the storm will weakly split for a time around Sunday night, further complicating the forecast. Right now, I would guess 5-10” for the Monday morning report.

West-northwest winds pick up behind the front by Monday morning, keeping light snows going through the day and possibly through the night along with windy conditions, with another 1-4” possible that would be reported Tuesday morning.

A ridge of high pressure is advertised to move over our area for Tuesday and Wednesday before the next Pacific storm is advertised for Thursday. This one currently looks to again mix with moisture from the subtropics as a piece of the old New Year’s Day storm continues to linger down there, so there is a possibility of another significant storm.

Stop battling cold feet! I’ve used the awesome Hotronic foot warmers from their beginnings, and can honestly say that each iteration of the product is better than the last. I have the S4 custom, attached to my powerstrap so they never fall off, and my toes stay warm for my entire ski day.

Modest New Years Eve Day storm followed by arctic air

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Steamboat Springs area has warmed considerably this Sunday ahead of our next storm which starts later today, with high temperatures getting back around our average high of 26 F. Enjoy the relatively warm temperatures today since the coldest weather of the season so far is on our doorstep.

The modest storm for our area is currently moving through the Pacific Northwest and will split as it moves eastward. The southern piece digs into the Great Basin tonight with the remainder of the storm moving eastward across the northern states. The split storm means more snow north and south of us, but less snow for north-central Colorado than I originally hoped for in last Thursday’s forecast.

We’ll see two cold fronts move through our area with the storm; the first this evening with light snows starting later this afternoon and turning heavier this evening as the front passes. Snows will diminish for a time before they pick up again during the day Monday when a very cold arctic front with air originally sourced from the North Pole passes through our area.

Not only does the splitting storm keep the best energy away from our area, but limits any favorable northwest flow; in fact winds may be from the east for a time on Monday which is often unfavorable for significant snowfall. We may see 2-5” of snow at mid-mountain by the Monday morning report, with another 1-4” during the day along with plunging temperatures.

New Years Eve is forecast to be frigid with low temperatures fifteen to twenty-five degrees below our average of 3 F. Snow showers may continue on the hill overnight with no additional accumulations expected.

New Years Day and most of Wednesday will stay frigid, though they may feel warmer as we should see the sun during the day in advance of a ridge of high pressure that is forecast to move over the western states for the end of the work week and heading into the weekend. Notable higher-elevation warming will occur starting later Wednesday, though the Yampa Valley will stay chilly as a temperature inversion, where air is coldest at low elevations, forms thanks to fresh snow cover and clear nights.

There is hope for significant snows starting near the end of next weekend or the beginning of the next work week as a warmer and much wetter storm may approach from the southwest.

Save your soles! You suspect that the grating and grinding sounds you hear from your ski boots as you walk across hard surfaces can’t be good. In fact, worn boot soles make your binding unsafe as it interferes with the boot-binding interface. Cat Tracks are a flexible protector that keeps your boot soles pristine, and adds a cushion for walking comfort. When it’s time to click into bindings, I take them off and stash them in my coat pocket. Yaktrax are similar, but I have not used them since they appear they would take up a bit more space in my jacket pocket. But you get a rocker sole that promotes a natural stride which may be worth the space sacrifice. If I did not have to carry them around all day, these would be my choice.

Cold ahead of likely New Years Eve day storm

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The productive storm which brought 6” of snow to the Steamboat Ski Area over the last 24 hours is now bringing severe winter weather to the Mississippi River Valley. Behind the departing storm, the Steamboat Springs area is enjoying some sun behind lingering snow showers this cool Thursday morning as another storm takes up residence in the Great Basin. Our area will be mostly missed by the snow as the storm eventually moves east, but not the cold that will hang around through the weekend in advance of a possibly significant New Years Eve day storm.

The Great Basin storm is expected to move southward today, with a large portion of the storm ejecting out ahead of the parent circulation and bringing significant snows to southern Colorado and New Mexico tonight and Friday. The notable weather for Steamboat Springs will be the cold as high temperatures for Friday and Saturday are forecast to be five to ten degrees below our average high of 26 F and low temperatures ten to twenty degrees below our average low of 3 F.

As the storm passes well south of our area on Friday, we’ll see clouds increase, with even light snow showers possible from Friday night into Saturday morning if the moisture associated with the storm makes it far enough north.

The sun should briefly return later Saturday ahead of a cold and wet Gulf of Alaska storm crossing the Pacific Northwest coast around Saturday night. The storm will mix with some more cold air from the Canadian Plains, first bringing clouds on Sunday followed by light snow showers during the day. A strong cold front is forecast to move through Colorado Sunday night accompanied by moderate to heavy snows that should taper off during the day Monday. Weather forecast models disagree on whether the southern end of the storm cuts off from the jet stream, but right now it looks like we could see 6-12” from the storm before snows turn showery and taper off by Monday afternoon.

Another push of even colder but drier air is forecast for New Years Eve followed by another one containing slightly more moisture for Tuesday night. While there may be some showers around New Years Day, a better chance of showers producing light, fluffy low-density snowfall exists for the quite cold Wednesday morning report.

A ridge of high pressure that develops over the West Coast is forecast to move inland midweek, and this will bring notable higher elevation warming for the end of the work week. Lower elevations will likely stay cold as a temperature inversion, where air is warmer at higher elevations, develops.

I absolutely love this super-warm split-finger mitten-glove, and you’ll be happy you have them for our forecast cold weather! I’m on my second season with these and am very impressed with their durability and warmth, especially when combined with the standard HotHands handwamers. Three fingers sit together with the index finger separated, but there is enough room to scrunch all your fingers together while on the lift, which is especially nice if you have a handwarmer in the mitten-part of the glove.

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