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Summery weather turns to fall weather on Sunday

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Temperatures are in the mid-seventies on this Thursday afternoon, on their way to the upper seventies, similar to yesterday when the temperature reached sixteen degrees above our 62 F average. More summery weather is expected through Saturday, with increasing winds, before a strong cold front moves through on Sunday with only modest precipitation expected. Dry but breezy weather returns for the following week, with cool temperatures starting the week on Columbus Day before moderating back towards average for much of the upcoming week.

A piece of energy left behind off the coast of California from a dry storm currently passing well to our north looks to remain detached from a strong and quick-moving storm in the Gulf of Alaska that is forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast early Saturday. There was hope in my last Sunday weather forecast that this piece of energy would be absorbed into the larger storm and bring good precipitation to our area, but it appears that we will instead experience a much drier cold front on Sunday when the Gulf of Alaska storm passes through.

Ahead of the front, winds from the southwest will be increasing on another warm Saturday afternoon, which bodes ill for wildfire behavior. There will be some precipitation along and behind the cold front which is expected sometime Sunday morning, with showers possible through the day and evening under cool temperatures in the fifties. Precipitation looks quite modest though, and heaviest to our north, with as much as a tenth or two of liquid expected to bring several inches of snow at the higher elevations. However, we may end up with even less as the latest weather forecast models are trending drier with the storm.

Columbus Day looks to be a brisk and dry fall day with highs once again in the fifties, but with breezy winds from the west or northwest. In fact, breezy winds look to continue through the work week as the jet stream, which separates the cold air to our north from the warm air to our south, sags over our region.

But temperatures will warm back toward average on Tuesday and Wednesday before another dry cool front passes by around Thursday and drops our high temperatures back into the fifties. Temperatures are expected to recover on Friday and into the following weekend before there is a possibility of another storm affecting our region later in the weekend. I’ll know more by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

More gorgeous fall weather precedes wintry weather around next weekend

Sunday, October 4, 2020

The temperature has already hit 67 F early this Sunday afternoon in Steamboat Springs under sunny skies. More gorgeous fall weather is forecast for the work week before a strong storm brings precipitation and much colder temperatures to our area around next Sunday.

A storm currently moving across the Pacific Northwest has temporarily flattened a ridge of high pressure over the west. Before that storm grazes our area late tonight and Monday, temperatures will warm to the low seventies, almost ten degrees above our average of 64 F.

There has been some clearing of the smoke from the Middle Fork fire that was more concentrated over our area on Saturday, thanks to some increasing winds from the west, but the NOAA Smoke Plume Model also predicts these winds will move a batch of smoke from fires in the Uinta mountain range in eastern Utah over our area tonight. Though the model has the smoke clearing by sunrise, we’ll see if local wind patterns keep that smoke around longer than the model predicts.

Breezy westerly winds turning to northwesterly will be with us on Monday as that grazing storm passes by, and we should see temperatures dip a few degrees from today, closer towards average, under continued sunny skies.

The western ridge of high pressure will rebuild behind the grazing storm, keeping our sunny skies around and allowing temperatures once again to rise into the seventies on Tuesday.

Enjoy this gorgeous fall weather for most of the rest of the week as a jolting pattern change is in our future. A strong storm is forecast to move across the northern Pacific through the work week and affect our area around next weekend. Current timing brings the bulk of the storm through our area next Sunday, though the details and timing will likely change as the storm approaches.

In fact, there is weather forecast model uncertainty as to whether there is a leading part of the storm which moves over later Saturday or is absorbed into the main storm on Sunday. And while it currently appears we will receive a good dose of much needed precipitation, with snow at the higher elevations, it is not clear if most of that precipitation will fall as rain in the Yampa Valley before turning to snow later in the storm.

But by Monday, the weather forecast models agree that the precipitation will turn far more showery behind the storm with a cold and raw day likely. And though there is a lot of weather to get through between now and then, longer-range forecasts call for drying by Tuesday with warming temperatures later in the day, with dry and warmer weather continuing past midweek. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for more details on this end-of-weekend storm.

More spectacular fall weather for the upcoming week

Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Steamboat Springs area is seeing a comfortable temperature of 65 F under sunny skies early this Thursday afternoon. There is not really any change to the weather for the upcoming week, with sunny days and cool nights in our future. However a couple of disturbances are forecast to graze our area on Saturday and Monday leading to some breezy conditions that may increase wildfire activity.

In fact, we saw some smoke this morning for the first time in a couple of days from the close-by Middle Fork Fire that was well forecast by the NOAA smoke plume model, and that model has the smoke continuing to clear through the day. The model is run once per day overnight and provides a 42 hour forecast of smoke over the nation as well as a close-up view of Colorado.

Our current spell of beautiful weather is courtesy of a ridge of high pressure over the West Coast that is separating the cold and stormy weather over the Gulf of Alaska and the eastern half of the country. A disturbance will move down the eastern side of the ridge and graze our area on Friday and Saturday, with breezy winds the main result.

Though winds will subside on Sunday, they will pick up again on Monday as some energy rotates through the Gulf of Alaska and temporarily flattens the ridge of high pressure. But temperatures look to be largely unaffected by these passing disturbances, so expect mostly sunny skies through the upcoming week with high temperatures within several degrees of seventy, a bit above our average high of 65 F and low temperatures in the twenties, a bit below our average low of 30 F.

There may be some hope of a pattern change around the following weekend or soon after as ridges of high pressure over the West Coast and the Scandinavian countries conspire to shift the cold air currently over the North Pole and Hudson Bay into western Siberia and the north Pacific. So enjoy the beautiful fall weather now, and I should know more about that pattern change possibility by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Weather warms but stays dry after a cool couple of days

Sunday, September 27, 2020

A brisk fall day is over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday afternoon thanks to several cool fronts that have moved or will move through our region today. There will be only enough moisture associated with the fronts for some clouds today before sunny skies prevail for the upcoming week. But beware of quite cold morning temperatures below freezing this week, with the coldest mornings on Monday and Tuesday possibly reaching the teens.

A warm ridge of high pressure is currently over the West Coast while a series of cold fronts has brought cool conditions to the northern half of the country, save for the Northeast. Pacific energy traveling over the ridge of high pressure is continuing to mix with cold air over Hudson Bay and will bring a final cold front through our area later this afternoon and evening, followed by subsiding winds and very dry air.

With clear skies and calm winds, temperatures will plummet to as low as the teens tonight, ten to fifteen degrees below our average of 31 F. And though there will be sunny skies on Monday, high temperatures are still only expected to reach about five to ten degrees below our average of 66 F.

But temperatures warm under still sunny skies starting Tuesday as the West Coast ridge of high pressure tries to move inland, with high temperatures reaching above average for a delightful day.

In fact, delightful days are expected through the weekend and likely beyond as we remain under the providence of a dominant West Coast Ridge of high pressure. Pacific waves of energy continuing to move over the ridge of high pressure will continue to mix with cold air from the Hudson Bay area, though that weather looks to remain almost completely east of the Continental Divide. I say almost since there are several waves that may be close enough to graze our area starting after midweek, and weather forecast models often struggle with the westward extent of these cold air intrusions, but right now they are forecast to remain over the Midwest.

Precipitation chances are nil for the upcoming week, so enjoy the beautiful weather consisting of cool nights and warm sunny days. My next update to this weather narrative is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Warm and breezy weather ahead of Sunday cool front

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Sunny skies and warm temperatures are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon, with the weather staying warm and turning breezy on Friday and Saturday. A cool front on Sunday, perhaps accompanied by some afternoon showers, will then drop daytime temperatures and make Monday morning chilly enough where outdoor plants will need to be protected. We will then be sandwiched by hot air to our west and cold air to our east for the rest of the work week, with dry weather and seasonable temperatures the likely outcome for north-central Colorado.

The ridge of high pressure currently over the southern and central Rockies is forecast to be flattened by a strong Pacific jet stream moving across the Gulf of Alaska through the weekend. The jet stream will bring dry and increasing winds from the west, especially on Friday and Saturday, with temperatures staying more than ten degrees above our average high of 68 F on Friday before dropping several degrees by Saturday. Needless to say, this will not be good for wildfire behavior.

Weather forecast models agree that a cool front will move through our area on Sunday, though disagree on its strength and if there will associated moisture. It appears the disagreement is centered on how much cold air from the northern latitudes is tapped by the storm, with the European ECMWF trending toward a cooler and wetter solution as compared to the American GFS. At this point, I would expect a cooler Sunday with temperatures closer to or below average and the chance of afternoon showers around and behind the front.

Monday morning will likely bring temperatures cold enough for outside plants to need protection, but plenty of sun should warm daytime highs back to around the low-seventies.

Meanwhile, a large ridge of high pressure builds over the West Coast behind the front as a quite cold trough of low pressure forms over the Midwest. Our area will be between the two air masses, and though our weather may tilt to either the colder or warmer side depending upon the evolution of these features, it is likely that the beautiful weather consisting of cool nights (with outdoor plants still requiring overnight protection) and warm sunny days should continue for most of the work week.

Pacific energy moving over the top of the ridge of high pressure to our west is forecast to periodically bring dry cool fronts near our area at times after midweek, though there is a fair bit of uncertainty with respect to timing and proximity. At this point, other than the uncertain temperatures, dry weather through the following weekend looks likely. For what it is worth, longer-range weather forecast models do indicate the possibility of the western ridge of high pressure breaking down after next weekend.

Stay tuned for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday for details about the cool front that day as well as well as a possible pattern change after the following weekend.

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