Heavy snow possible through afternoon
April 16, 2009
Steamboat Springs — The heavy snowfall pounding Steamboat Springs could persist into the early evening hours.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for Steamboat and the surrounding areas. The advisory, in effect until 6 p.m. today, calls for snowfall rates of 2 to 3 inches an hour. Another 5 inches of snow or more could fall in Steamboat Springs before diminishing this evening.
Gusty winds also are possible, creating hazardous driving conditions.
There is a chance of snow overnight and snow likely before noon Friday before giving way to rain and high temperatures of 39 degrees. Tonight’s low is forecast at 21 degrees.
A 30 percent chance of rain and snow will be followed by clearing skies and temperatures in the upper 50s and low 60s Sunday and Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
The wintry weather has already forced the cancellation of Steamboat Springs High School tennis and lacrosse matches scheduled for today, as well as Hayden’s track and field meet.
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Today’s spring snowstorm won’t mean much to skiers and snowboarders; the Steamboat Ski Area closed for the season last weekend. But it will bring needed moisture to high-elevation snowpack.
The accumulated snow in the mountains surrounding Steamboat is monitored closely by the federal Natural Resources Conservation Services. Data about the mount of water stored in the snow is shared with reservoir managers and water users as far away as Nevada and California.
Before the snowfall began today, the NRCS was reporting that the snow at a measuring station near the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass was 62.6 inches deep. The 32.3 inches of water stored in that snowpack was 109 percent of the historical average of 29.7 inches.
Snowpack in the overall Yampa and White river basins was at 111 percent of average, a sign that many reservoirs will fill when spring runoff begins in earnest in mid- to late May.