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Stellar weekend followed by storm in time for Opening Day

Friday, November 18, 2016

Dry air has invaded the Steamboat Springs area behind the storm that left 13” at the summit. Fresh snow cover and clear skies tonight will make Saturday morning the coldest of the season so far.

Temperatures in the mountains will warm the fastest on a mostly sunny Saturday as a large transient ridge builds over the West, with valleys a bit slower to warm as temperature inversions start to develop.

The ridge looks to persist through at least the rest of the weekend keeping the beautiful weather around until Monday when an incoming Pacific energy weakly splits as it crosses the West Coast. The dominant southern part of the storm draws subtropical moisture over the Great Basin in warm southwest flow and introduces the chance of showers on Monday.

Though the showers will start out warm, with rain possible in the valley, cooler air filters in by sunset Monday courtesy of the northern portion of the storm and will likely turn the rain to snow. Fortuitously, it appears that most of the precipitation will occur after sunset Monday, keeping the bulk of the storm as snow.

Current forecasts have bands of the heaviest precipitation overnight Monday into Tuesday morning before the snow turns more showery during the day Tuesday in the cool, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm. The amount of snow in the first part of the storm will be dependent upon where the bands set up, with moderate to sometimes heavy snow showers continuing in the second part of the storm through sunset Tuesday. Amounts are uncertain due to the banding nature of precipitation during the first part of the storm, but 6-12” of snow, starting out dense, but becoming lighter, is possible. Generally, the snow will be quite a bit denser than this past storm as temperatures will be warmer.

A transient ridge is forecast for Wednesday bringing a nice mostly sunny and warm Opening Day with fresh snow.

A minor wave quickly passes over the area late Wednesday or early Thanksgiving Day, possibly bringing some high elevation snow showers before dry air brings back sunny conditions for later in the day and Friday.

Earlier model runs had indicated a possible storm for Saturday, but they have trended weaker and now minimize the chance of precipitation for at least the first part of the weekend.


Winter weather stays on track for Thursday

Monday, November 14, 2016

A building ridge over the Intermountain West will be pushed eastward Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of the well advertised winter-like storm for Thursday. Tuesday will be another warm and sunny day before high level clouds appear on a still-warm Wednesday as breezy to windy southwesterly winds picks up ahead of the strong storm forecast to cross the central California coast Wednesday evening.

Even though there have been vacillations in the model forecast over the weekend, the storm looks to develop largely inline with last Thursday’s forecast. Models still have the storm racing across the Great Basin later Wednesday night before precipitation begins in the Steamboat Springs as early as Thursday morning. If it starts as rain in the valley, it should quickly transition to snow during the day as a strong cold front barrels through the region.

Snows will turn more showery behind the front, but I still expect accumulations Thursday night into Friday as we do well in the cold, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm that will leave daytime highs 20F to 30F lower than what we recently have been experiencing. By the time the showers end Friday afternoon or evening, the valley could see 2-5” of snow on unpaved surfaces with 6-12” on the hill.

Dry air is expected behind the storm, likely making Saturday morning the coldest of the season so far if the clouds clear by sunrise. Temperatures in the mountains will warm the fastest on a mostly sunny Saturday as a large transient ridge builds over the West, with valleys a bit slower to warm as temperature inversions start to develop.

The ridge looks to persist through at least the rest of the weekend keeping the beautiful weather around until Monday afternoon when upstream Pacific energy flattens the ridge and reintroduces moisture into the area.


Some moose, fall color and sunsets from the past month

Saturday, November 12, 2016

moose_creekside_11Nov2016 Continued warm and sunny days have allowed for a great fall mountain season that looks to continue for several more days until winter arrives about a week before the Steamboat Ski area official opening.

The moose are also out on the trails enjoying the beautiful weather. The picture of the one on the right was taken yesterday on 11 Nov on the Creekside trail right below the Pioneer merge.

The picture of the two moose below was taken on 9 Oct as they rested on lower Tenderfoot. They weren’t moving and they weren’t looking like they would be moving, so I backtracked to find a detour around the family.moose_lower_tenderfoot_9Oct2016

Milly_first_manmade_snow_right_o_wayOn the way up Zig Zag yesterday, Milly surveyed the latest efforts by the Steamboat Ski area’s excellent snowmaking crew. There were some isolated islands of snow she could roll around on, but winter will have to wait for a few more days.

pioneer_11Nov2016 After seeing the first moose in the pictures above, I headed up Pioneer on my way to Rainbow Saddle and then the gondola. The next 3 photos are all taken in a very similar spot a bit before the uphill trail crosses the Pony Express lifline. That there are no leaves on the trees on 11 Nov is not surprising, but the speed at which the color changed and the leaves dropped was, as shown by the next 2 photos taken less than a week apart, on 15 Oct and 9 Oct.

elkhead_9Oct2016Also on 9 Oct, the photo on the right was taken on the Elkhead trail.

sunset_lower_pioneer_14Oct2016I just can’t resist documenting a nice sunset; the first two were taken on 14 October from the top of Creekside looking south across the Yampa Valley.


gunsmoke_sunset_20Oct2016This last photo was taken the next day on 15 October further down the mountain on Gunsmoke.

Another week of warm and mostly sunny ahead of a looming winter-like storm

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Relatively rare gusty easterly winds have developed this afternoon as air is funneled between an indistinct low to our south and a lobe of high pressure to our north that is dragging a weak cool front through the Steamboat Springs area.

Warm temperatures and continued sunny skies with less wind will persist Friday and Saturday before a fast-moving Pacific traveling through the northern tier of states drags a weak cool front through the area on Sunday. There will likely be some clouds during Sunday and even a stray shower is possible, especially at the higher elevations.

Sunny conditions and warm temperatures return for the first half of the work week as a strong winter-like storm approaches the West Coast and pumps up the western ridge. While next Wednesday may be the warmest day of the week, southwesterly winds will increase through the day and become strong as the Pacific storm crosses the California coast. 

The storm is forecast to race across the Great Basin Wednesday night and bring a sharp cold front through our area during the day on Thursday. If snow does not fall in the valley during the day, it should turn to snow by sunset as temperatures plummet from the unseasonably warm temperatures we have been enjoying this fall. If forecasts hold, there will be significant snow accumulation on the hill, possibly in the 6-12” range as well as accumulating snow in the valley.

A transitory ridge is advertised for the next weekend before additional energy in the Pacific approaches the West Coast.


Gorgeous late fall weather continues

Monday, November 7, 2016

A high amplitude western ridge will continue our spectacular weather through at least the next week.  Temperatures will warm even more for Tuesday and Wednesday as the heart of the ridge moves over the Rockies before a Pacific storm moving along the Canadian border drags a dry cool front through the Steamboat Springs area sometime on Thursday.

Meanwhile, some energy left behind from this past weekend’s storm moves southwestward from it’s current position in Kansas and ends up along the Mexican border for Wednesday and Thursday. Colorado will be sandwiched between these two systems later Thursday and part of Friday leading to cooler temperatures with the possibility of cloudy conditions for a while.

But the ridge rebuilds for later Friday and Saturday once again bringing warm and sunny conditions to our area.

Another weak wave moving along the Canadian border this weekend may bring another dry and even weaker cool front through northern Colorado later Saturday, but temperatures quickly rebound for later Sunday and into the beginning of the next work week.

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