3 to 6 feet of snow in forecast for Steamboat
Majority of precipitation expected to hit higher elevations
December 20, 2010
Steamboat Springs — After getting more than a foot of fresh powder this past weekend, forecasters say Steamboat Ski Area will get more — a lot more.
"It's going to be a heavy snow week," said meteorologist Chris Cuoco, of the National Weather Service's office in Grand Junction.
The Grand Junction office is forecasting 3 to 6 feet of snow by Wednesday morning at the ski area, Cuoco said. He said most of the snow would fall at elevations higher than 9,000 feet.
"You can probably look at a lot of snow in the mountains, but it's probably not cold enough to get a lot of snow accumulation in Steamboat proper or places like that until late Wednesday when it cools off," Cuoco said.
He said there is a winter storm warning for the higher elevations at the ski area and the surrounding mountains until Tuesday evening.
However, it was snowing in the valley floor Monday morning, and the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the city of Steamboat Springs as of 8:46 a.m. According to the advisory, Steamboat proper could receive 5 to 10 inches of snow by late Tuesday — or more, depending on a number of variables.
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On Wednesday, Cuoco said, a cold front will push through, putting a halt to the storm. Until then, he said, the high temperatures would be in the low- to mid-30s, with lows in the 20s. He said to expect little to no wind in town, but winds from the west with gusts at 20 to 40 miles per hour during the storm this week at the ski area.
Cuoco said temperatures would return to the 20s for Thursday and Friday.
This week's storm comes in time for the opening of the Pony Express lift, which is planned for Friday. Trails accessible by Pony Express, however, are open by hiking, ski area spokesman Mike Lane said.
Lane said as of Sunday, 98 percent of the ski area's terrain was open.
Lane said with near-certainty that the addition of Pony Express would open all of the mountain's terrain. He added that the Bar UE lift could open next week, depending on demand.
Local law enforcement agencies reported vehicles sliding off roadways and noninjury crashes during the weekend. Law enforcement officers said people should continue to drive with caution.
"Slow down and drive for the conditions," Steamboat Springs Police Department Sgt. Gerard Geis said. "Keep your speed in check and be prepared to stop.”
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