Thursday, October 25, 2018
The current cloudy skies in Steamboat Springs this Thursday afternoon are due to a wave of energy and moisture traveling down the east side of a flat ridge of high pressure to our west. Originally forecast in my last Sunday discussion to stay north and east of our area and arrive for Friday, the earlier arrival means warmer and sunnier weather for tomorrow, with high temperatures near our 54 F average.
The western ridge of high pressure will build over the weekend and move over our area leading to pleasant weather extending through Monday. A wave of Pacific energy and moisture is deflected to our north by the ridge around mid-weekend, and we should see breezy northwest winds with above average temperatures and some clouds on Saturday ahead of the wave, with less wind and slightly cooler temperatures for Sunday.
Warmer temperatures are expected Monday ahead of cooler and wetter weather that is still forecast for the rest of the work week as a strong Gulf of Alaska storm moves piecemeal over the west. The first part of the storm arrives around Monday night and will carry relatively dry but cold air originally sourced from the North Pole. A reinforcing wave of cold, but still relatively dry air is forecast for early in the day on Halloween, and we may see some light snow showers in the Yampa Valley on Tuesday and the first part of Wednesday during and behind these cold fronts.
A ridge of high pressure builds in the Gulf of Alaska behind the departing storm, and a much wetter Pacific storm moves over the top of the ridge and mixes with some cold air from Alaska around Tuesday. This should be a fairly significant weather maker for northern Colorado later Wednesday and Thursday as the storm will be accompanied by strong northwest winds and plenty of moisture. It is unclear whether the storm arrives early enough to affect Halloween activities for later Wednesday and whether it will be all snow in the Yampa Valley on Thursday, but snow above the valley floor will likely make travel over the passes difficult.
There is a lot of uncertainty for Friday and the following weekend as weather forecast models disagree on the track of another storm that may affect our area.
Sunday, October 21, 2018
After a spectacular fall day in Steamboat Springs yesterday with a high temperature of 62 F, this Sunday afternoon and Monday will feature similar temperatures before they are knocked back closer to our average of 56 F for Tuesday and Wednesday by a weak storm moving over our area.
This storm is actually the southern part of the storm from over a week ago that was left behind. Incoming Pacific energy will nudge this storm eastward and over our area around Tuesday, with the weak storm becoming even weaker as it is sheared into two pieces that will skirt northern Colorado and bring the best precipitation to our south.
While we will see some passing clouds ahead of and behind the system, our best chance of rain showers will be from Monday night through Tuesday night. Snow levels will be quite high, around 12,000′, as the system has very little cold air. Light showers may be possible Wednesday afternoon in the somewhat cooler northwest flow behind the exiting system before warmer and drier weather returns later Thursday.
The rest of the work week and the following weekend are forecast to be dry as a ridge of high pressure moves over the west. Some Pacific energy moving around the periphery of the ridge looks to stay mostly north and east of our area, though we may see a bit of cooling for Friday and breezy northwest winds on Friday and Saturday as that system grazes northern Colorado.
Enjoy the pleasant fall weather now since it appears we may be in store for a pattern change after next weekend that will bring much cooler and unsettled weather back to the west.
Thursday, October 18, 2018
A piece of the storm from last weekend is approaching the Steamboat Springs region this Thursday afternoon, and we will have a chance of showers later today as most of the storm moves east of our area by midnight. A pleasant weekend will follow before the chance for showers return for the start of the upcoming work week.
The cold air I talked about in last Sunday’s blog looks to stay east of our area, and even the Front Range, as it plunges into the Midwest and eventually the Northeast this weekend. A piece of the current storm that will bring the chance of showers to our area tonight will be left behind and is forecast to move westward back to the Desert Southwest before revisiting our area late in the weekend or early in the upcoming work week.
We should have plenty of sun for Friday and most of the weekend with high temperatures near our average of 57F.
Meanwhile, a large storm develops in the Gulf of Alaska this weekend, and incoming Pacific energy on the south side of this storm will eventually nudge the remaining piece of the storm in the Desert Southwest back towards our area later Sunday or Monday. We should see increasing clouds by late in the weekend, with light showers possible from Monday through Wednesday. While the system will be warm, the increased cloud cover may keep temperatures a bit below average.
Sunnier skies and warmer temperatures should return for the end of the work week and possibly heading into the following weekend as some weather models forecast a shallow ridge of high pressure temporarily building over the west ahead of the fairly stationary Gulf of Alaska storm.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Other than cold temperatures for Monday, especially in the morning, a quiet weather week for Steamboat Springs is forecast to follow what has been a very active two weeks.
The Yampa Valley is currently experiencing temperatures in the low thirties, which is well below our average high of 59 F, along with periods of sun and passing snow showers this Sunday afternoon. While the snow showers will end later today, very cold air moves over our area tonight with low temperatures Monday morning perhaps reaching the single digits!
Though there will be plenty of sun on Monday, the very cold start to the day will keep afternoon high temperatures well below normal again. Temperatures should start warming by Tuesday and more so on Wednesday as a ridge of high pressure over the West Coast moves inland.
A piece of the storm from this past weekend was left behind over the Desert Southwest, and the southerly flow around this may bring some clouds around midweek and a small chance of some rain showers Thursday.
Several pieces of Pacific energy riding over the ridge of high pressure in the west are forecast to mix with the rapidly-growing-colder airmass in Canada and travel down the east side of the ridge starting Friday. Though most of the cold air from these waves will drop into the eastern two thirds of the U.S., some of it may make it far enough west to bring cooler temperatures to our area starting Friday and lasting through the weekend, though the westward extent of the cool air may be limited to the Front Range of Colorado.
More quiet weather is expected after that as the ridge of high pressure continues moving eastward and brings more sun and even warmer temperatures after next weekend.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
The active weather pattern over the western states continues through this weekend before warmer weather appears after a very wintry Sunday and cold Monday. Currently this Thursday afternoon, the temperature in Steamboat Springs is over 20 degrees below our 60 F average, and it feels even cooler than that with precipitation falling ahead of the next weather feature tonight.
A cold front will pass through northern Colorado this evening, turning the current cold rain showers into snow before ending around midnight. We will get a welcome break in the precipitation for Friday and Saturday as the sun returns and temperatures rebound, though they will still stay below average.
But very cold air is forecast to arrive for Saturday night, or as early as Saturday afternoon, as a wave of Pacific energy moves over a ridge of high pressure off the West Coast and mixes with some cold western Canadian air. Weather forecast models have struggled with the westward extent of the snow, with some initially keeping the bulk of the precipitation along the Front Range, but current trends indicates snowfall with the front Saturday night and at least some snowfall for most of Sunday in the cold, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the front. Temperatures in the valley will struggle to reach the thirties and the snow at higher elevations should be relatively low-density and powdery.
Snowfall will taper off through the day, but will be followed by an even colder blast of dry air Sunday night into Monday morning, with low temperatures possibly falling into the single digits to start the work week!
It will take some time for temperatures to recover after Monday’s very cold start, but the ridge of high pressure off the West Coast is forecast to move inland early in the work week, and this will bring warming temperatures closer to, but still below normal, starting Tuesday and lasting through the following weekend.
Normally, I would expect sunny skies with this warmer weather, but a piece of the weekend storm that initially gets left behind off the southern California coast briefly mixes with the former hurricane Sergio. While the bulk of Sergio looks to travel across New Mexico during the weekend, the leftover West Coast storm is forecast to slowly drift over the Desert Southwest and then to the northeast as the work week wears on, and we may see some clouds and cooler temperatures associated with that as the weak storm approaches.