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Cold and wet weather for the first day of summer

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Enjoy the sunny and warm weather we are currently experiencing early this Thursday afternoon in Steamboat Springs since a cold front is barreling down from Wyoming. A rude welcome to the summer season is on tap for tomorrow, the first day of summer, when the Summer Solstice occurs Friday at 9:54 am MDT. Much colder temperatures along with rain in the Yampa Valley and snow at the higher elevations will occur tomorrow and through the weekend before more summery weather returns for the beginning of the workweek.

The inclement weather is courtesy of an unseasonably cold storm currently in Idaho that will move across Montana on Friday and head north into the Canadian Plains on Saturday. A couple of waves of energy and moisture spinning around the storm will drag two cold fronts through our region, with the first one timed for later this afternoon and the second for later Saturday.

Winds have already increased ahead of the first cold front, with showers expected ahead, along and behind the front. As the storm to our north moves slowly eastward, the cold front stalls over northern Colorado for a couple of days, becoming a stationary front and bringing steadier rain overnight and through tomorrow, with several inches of accumulating snow expected above 10,000′, snowflakes down to 9000′ and high temperatures twenty to thirty degrees below our average of 75 F! Follow any snowfall on the Powdercam at the top of Sunshine Peak or at the Four Points cam.

Another lobe of energy rounds the storm during the day Saturday and drags a second cold front through our region Saturday afternoon or evening. Precipitation may become lighter and more showery, with peaks of sun, early in the day as the southwesterly flow ahead of the secondary cold front pushes the stationary front northward, but showers will increase again ahead, along and behind the second cold front. Localized moderate to heavy precipitation, even lower snow levels, gusty winds and small hail may make travel difficult, especially at pass level, during the afternoon and evening.

Precipitation will likely end for a time later Saturday night into Sunday morning as the storm moves east of our area, but showers will redevelop during the day Sunday and extend into the evening in the cold, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the front.

Winds will turn to the west on Monday and then southwest as another strong Gulf of Alaska storm moves toward the Pacific Northwest early in the workweek. While this storm will also be unseasonably cold, summer looks to win this battle and keep the storm away from our area as a ridge of high pressure builds over the west. Very dry air and temperatures recovering to near average on Monday and then eventually above average are forecast for the remainder of the workweek and heading into the following weekend.

Even as the springlike storm passes by this weekend, there are signs of the North American Monsoon starting as moisture from Mexico is pulled northward around the building ridge of high pressure over most of the U.S. At this point, the moisture is not expected to make it further north than central New Mexico during the week, but it’s interesting and unusual that I am discussing air masses from near the North Pole and the Equator in the same weather narrative.

Good shower chances early and late in the upcoming week

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The unsettled weather Steamboat Springs has seen for the last several days will continue through Tuesday before drying occurs for Wednesday and some of Thursday. The unsettled weather looks to return later Thursday and extend into next weekend as another storm moves across the West.

First, thanks to those who commented on possible changes to this twice weekly forecast, and those who have not commented can still do so by following the link above or just clicking here. I had wanted to try and take this Sunday off, but lots happening as we approach the Summer Solstice on Friday at 9:54 am MDT.

Our weather currently is influenced by a couple of stormy areas to our north and southwest. Waves of energy and moisture rotating around the storm to our north and ejecting out of the storm to our southwest will conspire to bring good chances for showers and storms to our area for the next three days, with the best chances and greatest coverage on Monday and Tuesday. Like on this past Friday, the storms will be capable of localized moderate to heavy rain, gusty winds and small hail.

Meanwhile, a strong storm crossing the Gulf of Alaska will mix with some still-cold air from near the North Pole as it crosses the Pacific Northwest coast around Tuesday. Winds will increase as they turn from the northwest to the west on Wednesday, briefly bringing dry air overhead and likely eliminating any precipitation potential.

Additional Pacific energy will move into the storm early on Thursday, further increasing the winds as they turn from the west to the southwest. Also, there will be enough cold air associated with the storm to form a mostly stationary cool front extending from roughly central Utah through northern Colorado.

Another round of unsettled weather looks to start around later Thursday as the stationary front forms near our area. But this will be a tricky forecast as drier air lurks just to the south of the front, creating a relatively sharp boundary between the warm and dry or cool and showery weather.

I expect the forecast to change, but right now, Friday looks to be the most active day for our area, with that activity possibly extending into at least part of Saturday. More Pacific energy follows, and though weather forecast models disagree on the evolution of those disturbances, the current forecast bring warmer and drier weather back to our region later in the weekend.

Unsettled weather for the upcoming week

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The past few days of beautiful mostly sunny weather in Steamboat Springs will be turning more unsettled for the upcoming week. Waves of Pacific energy and moisture will move over the West and increase rainfall chances starting on Friday and lasting through midweek.

Though our area has enjoyed mostly sunny skies with high temperatures right near our average of 73 F over the last few days, atmospheric moisture this Thursday is already increasing ahead of several Pacific disturbances taking aim on the West. The first will bring some more clouds this afternoon, and any showers will be confined to the higher elevations to our north and produce more wind than rain as the lower levels of the atmosphere are quite dry.

But that changes on Friday as a stronger disturbance passes by in the afternoon and substantially increases the moisture in all levels of the atmosphere. Showers will become more likely by later in the day and overnight, some of which may produce brief periods of locally moderate to heavy rain.

Another disturbance is forecast for later Saturday, so more showers producing locally moderate to heavy rain for a time are again likely. In fact, a parade of nebulous and hard-to-time disturbances will pass by in generally west to northwest flow through Tuesday of next week, keeping good chances of mostly afternoon and evening showers, some moderate to heavy, on each day.

By mid-next week, a series of stronger Pacific disturbances are forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast. There is weather forecast disagreement with regards to the southern extent of these disturbances, but models agree that we will at least see breezy to windy west to northwest winds as these disturbances move eastward.

Lastly, I am considering decreasing the frequency of these weather narratives to once per week on Thursdays in order to lessen my workload. And I’m just not sure how many people are reading this in the summer. Please contact me if you have thoughts about this possible change.

Several cool fronts ahead of end of upcoming week unsettled weather

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Early on this Saturday afternoon in Steamboat Springs, temperatures are running about fifteen degrees below yesterday behind the cool front that passed through last night. Additional mostly dry cool fronts are timed for Sunday and Tuesday, and a moister one on Thursday, after which a stream of Pacific moisture and energy will turn the weather warmer but unsettled, lasting through Father’s Day weekend.

An unseasonably cold storm currently centered over Idaho is located behind ridges of high pressure along the West Coast and northeast North America. Though temperatures will warm today toward our average of 71 F, some Pacific energy moving over the top of the West Coast ridge will force the Idaho storm eastward, and another wave of cool air will sweep over our area on Sunday. High temperatures will be cooler than today, with low temperatures both Sunday and Monday five to ten degrees below our average low of 37 F.

The strong June sun (we are only 2 weeks away from summer solstice, which represents the time of year when the sun is highest in our northern hemisphere sky) will allow temperatures to recover and warm back towards average on Monday before they are knocked back a bit below average again on Tuesday by another dry cool front traveling down the east side of the West Coast ridge.

As the Idaho storm intensifies over the upper Midwest and Canadian Plains, another cool front is forecast to move through our area on Thursday. Additionally, the Pacific energy and moisture that had been riding over the top of the West Coast ridge will pass through and underneath the ridge instead, allowing warmer temperatures and more moisture to move across the West. This pattern looks to persist through Father’s Day weekend and into the following workweek, and would bring increased chances of showers through the period.

Cooler for Sunday with moisture returning after midweek

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The current mostly sunny skies with seasonable temperatures will continue in the Steamboat Springs area through midweek after which moisture is advertised to return for the end of the work week.

Currently, a transient ridge of high pressure has built behind a departing storm that passed mostly south of our area yesterday and ahead of an unseasonably cold storm crossing the Pacific Northwest coast. As the northwest storm moves mostly north of our area across the northern Rockies over the weekend, we should see breezy southwest winds Friday ahead of the storm, along with some afternoon clouds and a chance of a storm that will likely bring more wind than rain.

Several cool fronts will be dragged through our area on Saturday, Sunday and Monday as energy rotating around the storm grazes our area. The Saturday front will be weak enough so its effects may only be noticed by the winds markedly decreasing and shifting to the west.

The Sunday front will still be dry but stronger, with cool morning temperatures approaching or below freezing, which is five to ten degrees below our average of 37 F, and high temperatures falling a bit to below average.

Monday will start on the cool side, but temperature will warm to around average as a ridge of high pressure builds over the West Coast behind the strong storm that is now forecast to be over the central Canadian Plains.

We should see generally light northwest winds and average temperatures Monday and Tuesday as the ridge of high pressure is pushed eastward by a series of Pacific waves of energy and moisture. Wednesday will likely be the warmest day of this forecast period before the Pacific waves bring westerly winds and increasing moisture, leading to the chances for showers for the end of the work week and heading into the weekend.

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