Afternoon showers possible through the Independence Day weekend

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Cloudy skies, temperatures around seventy degrees and relative humidities above fifty percent are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. There will be good chances for rain later today and overnight, with those chances being relegated to the afternoon and evening and diminishing, but certainly not disappearing, for the duration of the long Independence Day weekend.

A ridge of high pressure is forecast to rebuild over the Intermountain West this weekend while an area of low pressure currently near the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to strengthen as it elongates southward along the West Coast. Some energy from the west being dragged eastward by the southern edge of a storm rotating through the Great Lakes will combine with the high humidities over our region for good rain chances this evening and overnight.

Winds from the south ahead of the West Coast storm will encourage the ridge of high pressure to rebuild over the Rocky Mountains this weekend, and the combination of those two features means the monsoonal moisture tap from the south will continue through the holiday weekend. Because the ridge of high pressure will help steer upper level energy around our area, we will be dependent upon the heat of the day to create an unstable enough atmosphere for the usual afternoon and evening showers.

Weather forecast models agree the West Coast storm will stay to our west as any eastward progress will be met by stout resistance from the ridge of high pressure over our area, though at some point next week it appears the West Coast storm will move to the east far enough to bring drier air overhead. So while it appears the atmosphere will dry and warm after the weekend, there is uncertainty with respect to the timing. Stay tuned as I’ll know more about that by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Shower chances increase by midweek

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Temperatures in the lower seventies and mostly sunny skies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday noon. While there may be some passing showers this afternoon, precipitation chances decrease for Monday and Tuesday before increasing by midweek for at least a couple of days.

A ridge of high pressure currently centered over the West Coast is sandwiched between deep areas of low pressure just north of the Great Lakes and south of the Gulf of Alaska. Winds from the northwest traveling around the ridge of high pressure brought drier air into our area yesterday, and those winds will keep the bulk of the moisture to our south today, though there will be still be chances for some showers this afternoon.

Shower chances decrease on Monday and Tuesday as the ridge of high pressure is pushed overhead by that storm south of the Gulf of Alaska, which is forecast to make landfall over Vancouver during Tuesday.

As the ridge of high pressure is squashed and temporarily relocated to the central U.S. by Wednesday by the eastward moving Vancouver storm, clockwise circulation around the high pressure will draw another round of monsoonal moisture over our area on Wednesday and Thursday, leading to increasing shower chances for those days.

Shower chances look to decrease, but not end, as we head into the long Independence Day weekend as that ridge of high pressure bounces back over our area behind that Vancouver storm, which is forecast to eventually be over the Great Lakes on Friday.

The weather for the holiday weekend will be determined by the interaction between the ridge of high pressure and another storm that is forecast to eventually form south of the Gulf of Alaska again. Whether the monsoonal moisture plume will be reinforced by winds from the south or severed by winds from the west ahead of that storm is yet to be determined, so check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon when more details about the Independence Day weekend weather should emerge.

Showers possible through the weekend

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Cloudy skies with temperatures around seventy degrees and relative humidities north of forty percent are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. I mention the relative humidity since the day feels humid compared to our normal summer days which often clock in with values below twenty percent. The moist atmosphere will support the possibility of showers today with better chances on Friday as a cool front passes through within several hours of noon. Drier air behind the front will reduce the shower chances on Saturday before they increase again for Sunday.

Currently, a leftover piece of the early week Great Basin storm is over Nevada and is being dragged eastward by another storm passing through the southern Canadian Rockies. Additionally, the clockwise rotation around a ridge of high pressure centered over Texas and extending into the Dakotas is bringing moisture from the south over our area and creating the humid conditions.

Look for a chance of showers this afternoon and tonight as a weak wave of energy rotates around the backside of the high pressure early tonight. We will see a better chance of showers on Friday as that leftover Nevada storm drags a cool front through our area tomorrow within several hours of noon.

Winds will turn to be from the current southwest to the west when the cool front passes and eventually the northwest, which will dry the atmosphere for a substantial decrease in afternoon shower chances on Saturday.

Concurrently, that Canadian Rockies storm is forecast to move into the Dakotas on Saturday, though its southward progress will be limited by the ridge of high pressure to its south. The ridge will end up being deformed; think of a bowl of jello where depressing the center of the bowl temporarily forces the jello to the sides. So by Sunday, as the Dakota storm moves into the Great Lakes, the ridge of high pressure squirts westward, allowing moist flow from the south to re-establish itself overhead. This should lead to good chances for showers on Sunday afternoon and night.

Shower chances remain going into the work week, though at much reduced levels as the stream of moisture from the south is temporarily reduced as the ridge of high pressure relocates. Check back Sunday afternoon for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative where I’ll discuss the work week weather and take a peek at the weather for the long Independence Day weekend.

Nice workweek coming up

Sunday, June 19, 2022

A mix of sun and clouds with temperatures around seventy degrees are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday afternoon. We may see some showers from these clouds today, though wetting rains will be hard to come by for most locations except southwest Colorado. A grazing storm then brings a weak cool front through our area tonight along with dry air that will stick around for most of the work week.

A deep and cold storm currently in the Great Basin is battling an expansive ridge of high pressure extending from central U.S. into the Canadian Plains. This is a battle the Great Basin storm will lose as we head into the first day of summer on Tuesday, which is marked by the summer solstice and the longest day of the year.  This occurs when the sun has reached its northernmost extent in the northern hemisphere, which for 2022 occurs at 3:13 am MDT Tuesday.

The currently breezy winds from the south will turn to be from the southwest and decrease as the Great Basin storm is deflected to our northwest tonight and eventually into Montana on Monday. Along with the much drier air from the Desert Southwest, a cool front tonight will drop our high temperatures into the sixties, around ten degrees below our average of 75 F, for a delightful last day of spring on Monday.

The dry air will stick around through midweek as temperatures rise to the mid to upper seventies before we may see the return of some moisture from the south by Thursday. This will result from the southerly winds ahead of a piece of the Great Basin storm left behind over California and reinforced by some incoming Pacific energy conspiring with the clockwise rotation around the ridge of high pressure to our east.

We will likely see only some increasing clouds on Thursday before the the atmosphere moistens enough for the possibility of wetting showers on Friday. Additionally, weather forecast models agree that the California storm will eventually move eastward and near our area around Friday, and we will likely see some good rain chances if and when that occurs.

So check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss the rain potential for Friday and whether rain chances persist for the weekend.

Showers likely over the weekend

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Bluebird skies and temperatures near eighty degrees are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon. While Friday will start similar to today, with perhaps some smoke from several wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico, we should see increasing clouds by Friday afternoon as a surge of moisture from the south moves over Colorado. Precipitation will be hard to come by to start thanks to the dry atmosphere, but becomes likely by Saturday and possibly Sunday as the atmosphere moistens.

A storm currently off the Pacific Northwest coast is forecast to elongate along the West Coast during the weekend before moving inland across the Great Basin and grazing our area on Monday. Additionally, a ridge of high pressure extending from the Southeast to the Canadian Plains is forecast to strengthen through the weekend, and the southerly flow ahead of the West Coast storm combined with the clockwise rotation around the high pressure center will force subtropical moisture currently residing over the Mexican deserts northward and eventually over our area by Friday afternoon.

Unfortunately, this southerly flow will also draw smoke from the large Black Fire in southern New Mexico and the Fish Fire across the state line in Arizona, and possibly the Midnight Fire in northern New Mexico, northward and over our area for at least tonight and tomorrow. With this in mind, I have made two changes to the SnowAlarm site by placing the PurpleAir air quality indicator from the Routt County Courthouse back on the home page and grabbing the NOAA smoke plume forecast maps which are run out to 48 hours four times a day.

While Friday will start similar to today, other than the possibility of some haze due to smoke, clouds should increase in the afternoon as moisture moves northward. Storms that form will initially produce more wind than rain as it will take some time for the lower atmosphere to moisten, so the better chance for wetting rains waits until Saturday afternoon and evening, and possibly Sunday.

And along with the clouds, high temperatures will drop from around ten degrees above our average of 74 F today and tomorrow to around average, or even several degrees below for the weekend.

While weather forecast models agree that the West Coast storm will graze our area, there is disagreement on how close it will get, and that will influence the chance of precipitation on both Sunday and Monday. The European ECMWF keeps the storm further away, which allows for more showers on Sunday and a dry Monday, while the American GFS has the storm moving close enough to sever the moisture plume for a drier Sunday before increasing shower chances on Monday as the storm moves by.

So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll discuss that grazing storm for Sunday or Monday and what currently looks like nice weather for the remainder of the work week.

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11 August 2019

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