Unusually strong storms in Pacific influence Steamboat’s return to rainy pattern
Steamboat Springs — Routt County residents who have outdoor exercise on their to-do lists had best not sleep in Saturday — they can thank Hurricane Andres for the early wakeup call.
Steamboat-based meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who blogs at snowalarm.com, said both hurricanes Andres and Blanca have the potential affect Steamboat’s weather over the next few days, but it’s the moisture left from Andres, which is now weakening in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, that suggests you might rise early Saturday for a bicycle ride or hike. He expects Andres, no longer rated a hurricane, to feed additional moisture into a storm already headed in the direction of Northwest Colorado.
“There will be a small break early Saturday before a lobe of energy is ejected over our area ahead of the eastward progressing West Coast storm, bringing another round of moderate to heavy rain for Saturday afternoon and extending into the night,” Weissbluth forecasted Friday.
The National Weather Service rates the chance of heavy rain on Saturday at 70 percent.
The region saw record precipitation in May, but summer had been trying to assert its will June 3-5 when just .07 inches of rain had fallen in Steamboat Springs, while afternoon temperatures rose into the high 70s. The summer-like conditions may prove to have been short-lived.
After another break Sunday morning, Weissbluth expects the storm to have weakened, but to still have enough moisture and lift to bring a return of lighter showers by afternoon.
And there is a more active hurricane than Andres, this one dubbed Blanca, threatening Cabo San Lucas this weekend. Blanca could potentially move north, leading to some messy weather in Colorado in the work week ahead.
“Earlier model runs had the moisture moving over our area, but current runs keep most of the moisture to our south,” Weissbluth wrote. “However, models also forecast a complicated interaction between the former hurricane, another storm entering the West Coast around midweek and a surge of cool air from the Canadian plains. These three entities may conspire to increase the threat of heavy rain by Thursday afternoon and lasting through Friday. That forecast will no doubt evolve as we get closer to the event.”
Weather service meteorologist Ellen Heffernan predicts Tuesday will be the driest of the next four days, and high pressure will dominate.
Meteorologist Jeff Masters, of Weather Underground, reported that only six Northeast Pacific hurricanes have occurred prior to June 5 since accurate satellite records began in 1971. Andres and Blanca are among them. Andres, with winds that topped out at 145 miles per hour, is second only to 2014’s Hurricane Amanda in wind speed. Winds associated with Amanda reached 155 miles per hour.
Weissbluth said hurricanes of this strength this early have been rare because sea temperatures and other weather factors haven’t supported them.
The relationship between sea temperatures and hurricane strength is complex, but generally, warmer water fosters higher wind speeds.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — James “Jim Bob” Moffett was a geologist, a former college football player and oil wildcatter, who built Freeport-McMoRan into one of the world’s leading natural resource companies.