Return to hot and dry for the week ahead

Sunday, August 5, 2018

After a welcome second morning of rain showers in three days, the Steamboat Springs area will be returning to hot and dry weather this upcoming week. The ridge of high pressure that was flattened and pushed eastward by a grazing Pacific storm to our north this past weekend will rebuild over the West Coast as southerly flow ahead of a strong fall-like in the Gulf of Alaska storm draws hot air northward.

Currently, even though dry air is moving in behind the grazing storm, lingering moisture and energy will continue the threat of afternoon storms this Sunday, with perhaps some breezy conditions. This looks to be the end of our precipitation chances until next weekend, or after, as the building West Coast ridge keeps dry air firmly entrenched over western Colorado.

Monday will be the coolest day of the week with temperatures approaching our 82 F average as some cooler air is left behind the departing storm to our north, but hot temperatures will return by Tuesday and last into the weekend. Luckily, the dry air will allow overnight low temperatures to drop toward or even below our 46 F average, which means we will see daily swings between lows and highs approaching 40 F or more!

The fall-like Gulf of Alaska storm will be reinforced by some cool air traveling southward across Alaska near the end of the work week, and weather forecast models disagree on the evolution of the storm through next weekend. This affects our weather since the eastward moving storm will be responsible for again flattening the ridge of high pressure over the West Coast and moving it eastward, and it is not clear if that will happen by the end of next weekend or during the next work week. When the ridge eventually moves eastward, we will likely see moisture increase again in the southerly flow along the western periphery of the ridge which would bring the possibility of showers back to our area.

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Showers on Friday followed by weekend wind

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The best chance for showers in Steamboat Springs this week will occur on Friday ahead of some breezy conditions for the weekend that should at least temporarily clear the smoke blanketing the Yampa Valley from the Silver Creek fire to our south.

The last forecast from Sunday afternoon is in good shape as a Pacific storm currently crossing the West Coast near Vancouver pushes the dominant ridge of high pressure over the southwest eastward. Some energy and moisture rotating northward along the western periphery of the ridge will cross northern Colorado during the first half of Friday, and we may see a gusty shower ahead of the main push later this afternoon. But the best chance for showers looks to be between midnight tonight and noon Friday as the wave passes over northern Colorado, with some smoke dispersal possible. There will also be a chance for afternoon showers that linger into the evening as residual moisture is heated by the strong summer sun.

By Saturday, the Vancouver storm will be moving east, but winds will increase from the west as the storm nears, which should clear the smoke from the area if it wasn’t dispersed on Friday. Some energy associated with the storm will graze our area in the afternoon and possibly overnight which should lead to another chance of afternoon and evening showers.

Drier air works in behind the grazing storm for Sunday with still breezy conditions, though an afternoon shower cannot be ruled out.

For the following week, the ridge of high pressure will move back westward toward the Desert Southwest once again as the first large storm of the next season brews in the Gulf of Alaska. The southerly flow ahead of this storm will encourage the persistent southwestern ridge to amplify and expand northward heading into next weekend.

Longer range models have the Gulf of Alaska storm moving first south early in the work week and then east, and this will again force the southwestern ridge of high pressure eastward as well. Like the current scenario, we will see moisture increasing as this occurs with another chance of monsoonal showers looking possible after next weekend.

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Temperatures warm after cool start to Monday

Sunday, July 29, 2018

An approaching cool front to the north of the Steamboat Springs area has increased the southwest winds today, likely transporting smoke from nearby wildfires over our area this Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the front will be dry, so after a breezy afternoon today and a cool start to Monday morning, temperatures will return to above average by Tuesday.

An incoming Pacific storm that will stay to our north as it progresses eastward this week will first amplify the persistent southwestern ridge of high pressure, bringing above average temperatures back to most of the west during the work week. The southwestern ridge of high pressure will then be forced eastward by the Pacific storm midweek, and the southerly flow behind the ridge will bring some increased subtropical moisture typical of the Southwestern Monsoon over Colorado starting around Wednesday or Thursday.

At this point, the moisture looks to be sparse over northern Colorado, so we’ll see only a small chance of afternoon storms for the end of the work week.

The Pacific storm is forecast to make landfall in the Pacific Northwest on Thursday, and around Friday and Saturday we may see some breezy winds as the cool front associated with the storm skirts to our north. There may be a chance of some afternoon storms around next weekend, but nothing appears significant at this time.

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Cooler temperatures for most of the next week

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A battle between the hot and dry weather associated with the persistent ridge of high pressure over the Desert Southwest and Pacific energy traveling to the north of Steamboat Springs will bring cooler temperatures closer to average to our area through most of the next week. The northern latitudes have begun to cool as daylight decreases and the sun angle lowers, producing a stronger Pacific jet stream which will travel further to the south and have some success in modifying the strong southwestern ridge.

The proximity of the Pacific jet stream will drag several cool fronts through our area through early next week that will keep our temperatures closer to average and keep the chance of afternoon storms in northwesterly flow going through the weekend.

The strongest cool front is currently forecast for late in the weekend or early in the work week, bringing cooler temperatures for Monday and at least part of Tuesday. Additionally, while there may be some stronger storms associated with the front depending upon the exact timing of its arrival, drier air sweeps in behind the cool front which will likely eliminate the chances for storms during the first half of next week.

A stronger Pacific storm is forecast to approach the West Coast midweek, and this one looks to travel far enough south to further weaken and dislodge the Desert Southwest ridge. As the ridge travels eastward, we should see temperatures warm along with increasing storm chances for the rest of the work week and headed into the following weekend as moisture increases from the south along the backside of the ridge.

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Standard summertime weather ahead

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The weak cool front promised in the last forecast does not look to arrive till this evening, so the Steamboat Springs area will see another warm day this Sunday with a chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Temperatures will cool back toward average behind the front on Monday with a good chance of afternoon and evening storms.

For the remainder of the week, our area will be under the influence of generally northwesterly flow as a series of Pacific storms travel well north of our area and drop southward into the Ohio River Valley. This will have the effect of forcing the dominant southwestern ridge of high pressure back westward, cutting off the fetch of monsoonal moisture into Colorado from the south, but bringing periodic surges of moisture and energy to at least northern Colorado.

Right now, Tuesday looks to be the driest day of the week before storm chances reappear for the afternoon and evenings through the rest of the work week and heading into the weekend.

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