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Several chances for precipitation this week

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Even though the Steamboat Springs area started out sunny this Sunday morning, clouds have increased early this afternoon ahead of the first of three storms moving near our area over the upcoming week. We should see chances for precipitation on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

The storm for tomorrow is currently affecting the West Coast and has split, with the warmer southern part of the split moving across the Great Basin tonight and bringing a small chance of precipitation to our area on Monday. While the best precipitation will stay to our south, there will be some chance for precipitation during the day, with only an inch or two of snow possible at the higher elevations.

Meanwhile a strong and cold storm forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast tonight will move slowly across the northern Rockies this work week. We should see partly sunny skies and breezy conditions on Tuesday as the strong storm approaches our area.

While the bulk of the storm will end up staying to our north, a cool front will be just to our north on Wednesday and may move through our area on Thursday. There may be some showers later Wednesday, more numerous to our north, and a better chance during the day Thursday when the front is forecast to pass through. While this storm looked far more promising just few days ago, it now appears precipitation amounts will be modest from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday.

Some dry air will follow the storm for a mostly sunny Friday before weather forecast models substantially disagree on the fate of a separate Pacific storm forecast to slingshot around the northern Rockies storm and affect our area on Saturday. Interestingly, the impacts from this storm will be determined by what happens upstream with another Pacific storm. The European ECMWF forecasts a stronger storm off the West Coast which builds a ridge of high pressure over the West and deflects the Saturday storm mostly to our north as compared to the the American GFS, which has a stronger storm for Saturday due to a much weaker upstream storm.

Differences between weather forecast models generally increase in the spring and fall as the hemispheric circulation pattern changes in response to the amount of solar heating of the surface, and we have large differences in the forecasts for next Saturday and the following work week. There should be better consensus in time for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

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