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Significant wintry storm starts later Monday

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Temperatures are around thirty degrees under cloudy skies this Sunday noon in Steamboat Springs after the Steamboat Ski Resort reported two inches at mid-mountain and three inches up top on the 5 am ski report. We should see some peeks of sun today and a cloudy Monday ahead of an arctic front that will bring moderate to sometimes heavy snowfall to our area from later Monday through Tuesday, along with very cold temperatures. The snows will end Tuesday night but the cold will stick around on Wednesday before temperatures moderate for the rest of the work week ahead of a snowy weather pattern that likely starts around next weekend.

A vigorous storm currently affecting the Pacific Northwest will continue to mix with arctic air from western Canada as it moves through through the Cascades on Monday and the Great Basin early on Tuesday. A piece of energy ejecting out ahead of the storm will keep the skies from turning mostly sunny for early this afternoon, as originally expected in my last Thursday weather narrative, though the peeks of sun and perhaps sunny late afternoon will be gone tomorrow as thicker clouds invade our area ahead of the approaching storm.

The arctic front will be on our northern doorstep by Monday afternoon with snow showers likely starting at the higher elevations up north by the afternoon. The front should blast through our area by mid-evening accompanied by winds and moderate to sometimes heavy snows that should be heaviest from Monday night into Tuesday morning, followed by good snow showers through the rest of the day and Tuesday evening in the favorable cold, moist and unstable flow from the northwest that will make driving over Rabbit Ears pass difficult at times.

I would expect 6-12” of snow between Monday and Tuesday evening, along with very cold temperatures with highs in town relegated to the high teens or low twenties on Tuesday, about fifteen degrees below our average of 34 F, and low temperatures Wednesday morning around zero, about ten degrees below our average of 11 F, or even colder if skies clear by sunrise.

The cold start to Wednesday will warm thanks to mostly sunny skies behind the storm and winds turning to be from the west, bringing warmer air overhead. High temperatures should rise to near thirty degrees, with another nice day on Thursday with continued sunny skies and temperatures rising to near forty degrees.

Meanwhile, another wave currently moving across the Bering Sea is forecast to mix with another chunk of arctic air moving south across Alaska and develop into a strong elongated storm along the West Coast by Thursday. Not only will this storm incorporate subtropical moisture as it extends to the south, but it will also eventually interact with another wave of energy currently moving across the Kamchatka Peninsula.

While we have to get past the significant storm between Monday and Tuesday evenings, it does look like an active and snowy pattern will follow starting around the end of the work week or next weekend. Be sure to stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon as I’ll have a better idea how the upstream pieces evolve and when we may expect our next snowfall.

Beautiful Friday ahead of light snow chances Saturday night

Thursday, November 24, 2022

After a couple of inches fell on my deck near the base of the Steamboat Ski Resort yesterday afternoon and evening, skies are beginning to clear this Thanksgiving mid-morning over the Steamboat Springs area with temperatures currently in the mid-twenties. Look for the sunny skies by this afternoon continuing through a beautiful Friday with warmer temperatures. A sunny start to Saturday and sunny end to Sunday will bookend a chance of snow showers Saturday night with light accumulations expected.

A splitting storm passed through our area yesterday afternoon and evening and is currently moving south through New Mexico. Even though the official ski report for the Steamboat Ski Resort had 2.5” at mid-mountain and 4” up top, the Steamboat Powdercam and Steamboat mid-mountain Powdercam both showed closer to 2” from the storm. Please keep in mind that while the the upper mountain powdercam is within 10 yards of the official snow stake used for the ski report, it still may accumulate different snow totals thanks to its different location in the snow plot.

Clouds are now dissipating as drier air from the northwest moves overhead, so look for sunny skies by this afternoon with high temperatures reaching into the thirties, a few degrees below our average of 36 F. We should see a gorgeous Friday with sunny skies and temperatures several degrees above average as a weakening ridge of high pressure is pushed overhead by our next storm currently moving eastward through the Gulf of Alaska.

So Saturday should start sunny with increasing clouds in the afternoon and snow showers developing later in the day and continuing overnight. While the storm is quite weak as it moves overhead Saturday night, there is sufficient moisture in the favorable cool northwest flow to produce 1-4” of accumulating snowfall.

Similar to today, a cloudy morning on Sunday should give way to sunny skies as a transient ridge of high pressure moves through the area ahead of the next more significant weather maker currently moving through the Aleutian Islands.

That storm is forecast to mix with a chunk of cold air moving through Alaska and develop into a significant storm with heaviest snowfall over our area currently expected from Monday night into Tuesday. Luckily, the Thanksgiving travel window between midday Sunday and midday Monday looks uneventful, but that changes by later Monday with storm totals in the 6-12” range looking possible between Monday and Tuesday nights.

While there is general weather forecast model agreement on the track, timing and intensity of the storm, be sure to stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for the latest specifics on this likely significant storm.

Sunny and warmer weather ahead of a chance for Thanksgiving flurries

Sunday, November 20, 2022

A spectacular bluebird day with temperatures in the mid-thirties is over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday mid-afternoon. Though morning low temperatures will start chilly this week, look for continued sunny skies with afternoon temperatures warming into the low forties to start the short work week. A quick moving and moisture starved cold front is then forecast to pass through north central Colorado later Wednesday and bring a chance of flurries.

The large area of low pressure that has been over the northern half of North America this past week is vacating our area thanks to an encroaching ridge of high pressure from the west. Dry air under the ridge will bring continued sunny skies on Monday and Tuesday with temperatures warming into the low forties, around five degrees above our average of 38 F.

Thanks to the fresh snow cover, light winds and dry skies, the surface will efficiently cool and bring nighttime temperatures into the single digits, around ten degrees below our average of 14 F.

A piece of a storm currently over the Aleutian Islands is forecast to eject across the Gulf of Alaska and keep the ridge of high pressure moving eastward, eventually bringing a fairly dry cold front through our area Wednesday afternoon or evening. Forecast precipitation from the storm has trended down since my last weather narrative on Thursday, with only a chance for flurries now possible later Wednesday and overnight.

Wednesday and Thursday high temperatures will fall into the thirties, with the clouds associated with the front dissipating later Thanksgiving Day. Another ridge of high pressure looks to move over our area starting on Friday, bringing above average temperatures and mostly sunny skies that may persist through next weekend.

Our next chance for precipitation appears early in the following work week, and I should have some details on that possibility in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

Dry weather with gradual warming follows last round of snow tonight

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Cloudy skies with intermittent snow showers and cold temperatures are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. The last cold front in the series over this past work week will bring accumulating snows tonight, with skies clearing by tomorrow afternoon. A frigid start to Saturday will be followed by lots of sun and gradually warming temperatures through the weekend and into the start of Thanksgiving week.

An expansive deep and cold area of low pressure currently extending across the northern half of North America is downstream of a ridge of high pressure over the Gulf of Alaska. Winds from the north and northwest ahead of the high pressure and behind the low pressure have brought mid-winter temperatures over our area this week, along with daily snow showers that are on the light side thanks to the relatively dry continental origin of the cold air.

The last reinforcing cold front is currently on our northern doorstep, and will bring a round of light to sometimes moderate snowfall through our area tonight. We’ve not been above 27 F for the last few days, which is around fifteen degrees below our average of 41 F, and the Friday high temperature in town may be in the low twenties for the coldest day in a cold work week. And we should be waking up to some fresh snow on the ground, with a couple inches in town and twice that up at the Steamboat Ski Resort.

Skies should be clearing on Friday, and fresh snow cover along with dry skies and light winds will bring low temperatures near zero degrees on Saturday morning, which is also about fifteen degrees below our average of 16 F. The favored coldest low-lying spots near river drainages will likely be in the negative single digits.

The ridge of high pressure is forecast to weaken and move eastward behind this last cold front, leading to plenty of sunshine and warming temperatures through the weekend and into the start of the short work week. Look for high temperatures to warm about five degrees per day starting Saturday before reaching average by Monday. Low temperatures will be a bit more stubborn, and though they will warm from zero degrees in town, they may stay in the low teens as the clear skies, light winds and fresh snow cover encourage efficient cooling of the nighttime surface.

The nice weather looks to continue into Tuesday, after which there is some hope for more snow around Opening Day of the Steamboat Ski Resort, currently scheduled for Wednesday, November 23. Be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where that evolving opportunity will be discussed.

Cold with passing snow showers this work week

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Sunny skies and temperatures in the low twenties are over Steamboat Springs this Sunday mid-morning, on their way to the upper thirties. Today will be the warmest day of the work week as a series of moisture-starved weather disturbances periodically drag reinforcing surges of cold from the north through our area. These look to bring the possibility of light snow showers through most of the work week, though any accumulations will be meager.

Our area will be sandwiched between a deep and cold trough of low pressure currently located over the Northern Plains and Canadian Plains and a ridge of high pressure off the West Coast that is forecast to strengthen through the work week. Light winds generally out of the north and northwest will carry several relatively dry and cold surges of air over our area from either Pacific disturbances traveling over the ridge of high pressure to our west or rotating around the trough of low pressure to our east, or both, through the work week.

But first, an eddy currently near Las Vegas will move through the Desert Southwest through Monday. While only southern Colorado may be close enough to see some light accumulating snows from the system, our area will see a cold front pass through tonight as the eddy grabs some cold air from the Northern Plains trough. There may be some snowflakes with the frontal passage, but dropping temperatures will be the most noticeable effect, with high temperatures on Monday relegated to the upper twenties, about fifteen degrees below our average of 43 F, and low temperatures in the low teens, about five degrees below our average of 18 F.

The next wave of cold air is timed for early Tuesday and we should see a better chance for light snow showers through the day, with meager accumulations possible at all elevations, along with temperatures dropping a couple of degrees. Another similar but drier wave is forecast for Wednesday with a slightly stronger and longer lasting one for later Thursday into Friday morning as Pacific energy rounding the ridge of high pressure off the West Coast mixes with a lobe of energy rotating around the Northern Plains trough of low pressure. We will probably see our best chances for accumulating snowfall during this time period, though accumulations will be quite light with several inches possible at best.

A strong storm currently developing south of the Aleutian Islands is forecast to move east through the work week, and interact with the ridge of high pressure off the West Coast by the weekend. This looks to change the current weather pattern as the weakening ridge of high pressure moves inland and kicks the Northern Plains trough of low pressure to the northeast.

There is some disagreement on the timing of the pattern change among the longer range weather forecast models, with the American GFS currently advertising warmer weather earlier in the weekend and the European ECMWF holding that back a day. I should know more about that by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon, and I also expect to take a peek at what follows this pattern change as the Steamboat Ski Resort prepares for its opening day on Wednesday, November 23.

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1 July 2021

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