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Warm and dry ahead of early week storm

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Skies have cleared in the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon behind the underwhelming midweek storm. Warm and dry conditions are expected through the first part of the weekend before a couple of approaching storms begin precipitation chances as soon as later Saturday. Precipitation chances will persist through at least Monday, with warming and drying eventually expected around midweek after the second storm passes.

The past storm split even more severely than I thought in my previous forecast which kept the precipitation well north and south of our area. Looking ahead, a ridge of high pressure over the west will move over our area starting tonight and bring dry and unseasonably warm temperatures to the Yampa Valley, with high temperatures on Friday and Saturday expected to be five to fifteen degrees above our average high of 54 F.

A couple of storms will affect our area starting around mid-weekend. The first storm was part of an earlier storm that was left off the coast of southern California, and this will be nudged toward our area on Saturday night by a stronger incoming Pacific storm. The storm is warm and weak, and any showers that form will likely be rain even at the higher elevations.

There does not appear to be much of a break ahead of the second storm, and the weather will be cooler and more unsettled for most of Easter Sunday ahead of the storm with a good chance of afternoon and overnight showers.

The storm looks to become less organized on Sunday as it elongates southward while crossing the Great Basin. However, at this time it looks to stay strong enough to bring a cold front through our area on Monday, with snowflakes possible in the valley and accumulating snows at the higher elevations.

The storm has trended slower, with weather forecast models disagreeing on the track and timing of the storm. Cool and unsettled weather may stick around for Tuesday, possibly with continued higher elevation snow accumulations in the favorable moist and unstable northwest flow behind the front, but warmer and drier weather is advertised after the storm eventually clears the area.

The warm and dry weather will stick around for part of the following weekend before another Pacific storm may bring more precipitation to our area by Sunday or Monday.

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.

Closing Day showers followed by another midweek storm

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunny skies are gracing the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday morning, which is also Closing Day for the Steamboat Ski Area. We’ll see a good chance of showers today after noon with less of a chance Monday before another strong Pacific storm approaches on Tuesday and brings more significant precipitation on Wednesday and Thursday. Warming and drying are then expected heading into and through the first half of next weekend.

After three remarkable days of mid-winter powder skiing in mid-April, Closing Day will bring a mix of sun, clouds and showers as northern Colorado is clipped by a passing storm to our north. The showers will persist through midnight or so, especially at the higher elevations, where 2-5” of snow could fall that would be reported Monday morning if the ski area was still open.

Monday looks to be a precipitation-free day, though showers just to our north may encroach on our area. Temperatures finally approach our average of 53 F after a stretch of days with high temperatures ten to fifteen degrees below that.

Meanwhile, a strong Pacific storm currently crossing the Gulf of Alaska makes landfall late Monday and starts showers in our area by later Tuesday as it crosses the Great Basin. However, the storm is expected to split Tuesday with the southern end diving toward the Desert Southwest and the northern half racing eastward across the northern Rockies.

Snowfall will pick up behind a cool front Tuesday night and persist through Wednesday as the storm travels eastward along the Colorado/New Mexico border. Another colder Pacific wave of energy and moisture moving over a building ridge of high pressure over the West Coast is forecast to slide down the backside of the Wednesday storm and bring less dense and fluffier snowfall Wednesday night through the day Thursday in favorable cool, moist and unstable north to northwest flow.

By Friday the ridge of high pressure over the West Coast moves inland, bringing drying and significant warming for Friday and Saturday. A weak storm may or may not be close enough to our area for warm showers on Sunday, after which an active spring storm track brings more precipitation back to our area for the following week.

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.

Showers continue Friday before decreasing over the weekend

Thursday, April 11, 2019

After a frustratingly tardy snow report at 6:15 am this Thursday morning indicated 4” at mid-mountain and 10” up top, the Steamboat Ski Area reported 9” at mid-mountain and 13” up top on the 1 pm update. The current cold and showery weather is expected to continue through Friday before decreasing and becoming confined to a still cool Saturday afternoon. Temperatures will warm starting Sunday, along with a chance of occasional light showers through Tuesday morning depending on the proximity of a couple of grazing storms. And then another storm, similar to the the current one but not as strong, is advertised to bring first stormy and then unsettled weather to our area beginning around Tuesday and lasting through Thursday.

Reviewing the current storm, not much weather happened through yesterday afternoon, putting Sunday’s snowy forecast in jeopardy. But once the cold air arrived around 5 pm on Wednesday, the powerful storm currently moving across the upper Midwest delivered. Snow showers are expected to continue overnight and through Friday afternoon in the cold and unstable north to northwest flow behind the storm as waves of energy and moisture pass through the area. Several new inches of snow at mid-mountain would be possible overnight and then again during the day Friday.

A still-cool Saturday will offer a break in the shower activity until the afternoon when they may redevelop.

A grazing storm passes north of our area on a Sunday that will see temperatures warm back to near our 51 F average, along with showers that may start by as early as noon and last through Closing Day if the storm is close enough.

Monday looks to be a bit warmer than Sunday with less of a chance of showers before another Pacific storm, similar to the last one but weaker, moves through the Gulf of Alaska and crosses the Pacific Northwest coast late Monday. The timing is uncertain, but a strong cold front is forecast to blast through our area during the day Tuesday and bring a good chance of accumulating snow as low as the Yampa Valley floor through Wednesday. Cold temperatures and snow showers are expected to continue through the day Thursday before clearing and eventual warming occurs around the following weekend.

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.

Sixty degree Tuesday followed by snow on Wednesday

Sunday, April 7, 2019

We are currently experiencing a brilliant and seasonably cool Sunday morning after a weak cool front swept through the Steamboat Springs area yesterday afternoon. Plenty of sun and warming temperatures are expected through Tuesday before a very active Pacific jet stream brings a cold winter-like storm to our area on Wednesday. Unsettled and cool weather will follow heading into Closing Weekend with perhaps a break in the storminess forecast for our last day of the season on Sunday.

Enjoy the sun and and warming temperatures early in the work week as a transient ridge of high pressure moves over the West. We may even hit the sixty degree mark on Tuesday in breezy southwest flow ahead of the incoming Wednesday storm, which is ten degrees above our average of 50 F.

The Wednesday storm will be traveling across the Great Basin on Tuesday, and colder temperatures along with some light snow begin filtering into our area late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. The storm will intensify as it crosses the Continental Divide leading to some uncertainty in the evolution of the storm. But moderate to sometimes heavy snow is expected during the day Wednesday, even down on the Yampa Valley floor where high temperatures are expected to be fifteen or twenty degrees below average.

I’ll guess at 6-12” of snow at mid-mountain by Thursday morning, with snowfall starting relatively dense during the day but becoming fluffier as temperatures continue to drop during the day and overnight.

Snows look to taper off during a cold Thursday morning that will see low temperatures in the Yampa Valley five to ten degrees below our average of 24 F.

Additionally on Thursday, a second Pacific storm that traveled across the Gulf of Alaska and mixed with some cold air from the northern latitudes drops into the Great Basin. This storm is forecast to stay to our west and eventually south, and we will be caught in the col between the storms with weak and possibly dry northerly flow. This will keep our area cool and relatively dry for later Thursday through Friday, along with another chilly Friday morning and continued below average high temperatures.

A third weaker Pacific storm looks to graze northern Colorado on Saturday, with some accumulating snows from Friday night through Saturday night possible. However this is very uncertain as it depends upon the evolution of the previous storms, especially the second one, where there is substantial model disagreement.

Needless to say, a dry forecast for Closing Day from at least one of the weather forecast models is subject to change, though they do agree on an active storm track for the following week, and likely beyond.

Snows likely mid-weekend and again midweek

Thursday, April 4, 2019

After a quickly-moving storm cell dropped 1” at mid-mountain at the Steamboat Ski Area and close to 2” at the summit in about 40 minutes early yesterday evening, partly cloudy skies dominate the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday morning. There will be a good chance of snow around mid-weekend as a weak storm moves through, and a much better chance of significant snow around midweek as a strong winter-like storm moves through.

But first, the current partly cloudy skies may give way to an afternoon shower or two today as temperatures approach our average of 49 F. Friday will see more sun and a smaller chance of an afternoon shower, with temperatures rising above our average.

A weak and splitting storm crossing the Great Basin on Friday will move across our area on Saturday, with clouds first increasing and then showers beginning around mid-morning, though weather forecast models disagree on the timing.

Hard-to-predict storm cells are expected as a weak cool front sweeps across our area during the day, and as we saw last night, a quick inch or two from each storm cell can be expected if we are in their proximity. We could see 2-5” of accumulation at mid-mountain during the day and into the evening which would be reported Sunday morning.

A break in the active weather pattern observed in April so far is expected from Sunday through Tuesday before a very strong Pacific jet stream takes aim on the West Coast and brings a series of cold and wet storms into our area starting Wednesday.

This first storm looks to intensify as it crosses the Great Basin on Tuesday and mixes with some cold western Canadian air, bringing likely moderate to heavy snows to our area on Wednesday. This storm looks to be cold enough to drive snow levels down to the Yampa Valley floor, and favorable cold, moist and unstable northwest flow looks to keep accumulating snows going over Mt. Werner through Wednesday night and Thursday. Granted, the storm is a week away, but there is a good chance of another cold powder day in our future if current forecasts hold.

Another Pacific storm is forecast to travel across the Gulf of Alaska around midweek and again mix with some cold western Canadian air, which strengths the storm over the Pacific Northwest later in the work week. The storm is forecast to first drop south along the West Coast, and energy and moisture ejecting out of this storm will likely keep cool and unsettled weather around our area heading into the weekend. This is good news for water managers as the cool temperatures will promote a slowly melting lower and mid-elevation snowpack.

And for what it’s worth at ten days away, weather forecast models turn the West Coast storm inland early in the weekend and bring it across our area as a major winter-like storm for Closing Weekend. The very active weather looks to continue after we (unfortunately) close, with cool and unsettled weather continuing and more significant additions to the snowpack likely.

Start your ski day with toasty warm and dry boots! I use a boot dryer/warmer after every ski day, and the Happy Feet Dry-n-Warm boot dryer would be my choice if I ever had to replace my 30 year old and no-longer-manufactured look-alike. Just insert into your ski boots at the end of the day and leave them plugged in overnight. They become only slightly warmer than your body temperature so are safe to be plugged in for all footwear for days on end, though only overnight is needed for even the soggiest of liners. The ski boots are then thoroughly dry and toasty warm to start your next ski day!

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