Changing weather pattern could bring more snow to Steamboat |

Changing weather pattern could bring more snow to Steamboat

Michael Schrantz

A snowmaking gun blows snow at the top of Howelsen Hill on Monday before noon. Crews at the downtown ski area have been busy working to maintain and open new terrain. Some good news is in the forecast for Steamboat Ski Area, where snow is expected Wednesday night above 8,500 feet.

— The 3 inches of snow that hit Steamboat overnight Sunday might be followed by another quick shot overnight Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, a fast-moving Pacific storm system coming through the area from midnight Wednesday until noon Thursday will favor the Flat Tops, Park and Gore ranges around Steamboat.

The forecast predicts 3 to 6 inches of snow above 8,500 feet.

However, the larger development is a pattern change that could bring lower temperatures and moisture to the area for a longer period. A more northwesterly flow will bring moisture to Steamboat and northern Colorado this weekend, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Daniels said.

"In general, the overall pattern seems to be a northwest flow that looks like it could persist into next week," Daniels said Tuesday morning.

Some of the high pressure around Northern Colorado has moved on, and more moisture should make its way here, Daniels said.

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"In the bigger picture, it's a change from the warmer weather into colder and more winter-like" conditions, he said.

Joel Gratz, with, also is predicting a change in the storm track.

A map with his daily snow report shows the new northwesterly flow that is predicted to take hold.

Gratz predicts some moisture specifically for Steamboat from Wednesday night to Friday night as colder air passing north of Colorado meets warm masses.

But this weekend is the "main event," Gratz said.

"If the current model forecasts hold, I would expect a cold front to bring heavy snow to the northern areas (i.e. Steamboat) starting late Saturday afternoon and move south through the entire state Saturday night into Sunday," Gratz wrote.

And while Gratz cautions against being too optimistic about a storm forecast five days in advance, he wrote that Colorado should be in much better shape in the third week of December than it is right now.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email