Snowfall total in city of Steamboat nears average for full winter
February 20, 2014
Steamboat Springs — The month of March still is a week away, and the city of Steamboat Springs already is closing in on the average season snowfall.
After 3.1 inches of fresh snow was recorded in town Thursday morning, the snowfall total for October 2013 through February to date was 165.6 inches, according to the regional climate center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That compares to the full-season average (1981 through 2011) of 169.7 inches. And there's likely more on the way.
The National Weather Service is predicting that the possibility of new snow will remain at 60 percent all day Friday through the daylight hours Saturday. The chance of snow dips to 40 percent Saturday night and 20 percent during the day Sunday.
Precipitation amounts in town Friday and Saturday are expected to be modest with 1 to 2 inches possible in each 12-hour period. But that's the way the snow totals have built up thus far in February. Although the month's total in town now stands at 30.4 inches, the single biggest 24-hour total was the 4.1 inches that fell Feb. 5. Another 4-inch snowfall was recorded Feb. 9. There have been five days of snowfall totals of between 1 and 2 inches.
Season-long snowfall in town always is significantly lower than it is at midmountain at Steamboat Ski Area. And this winter is no different, with the ski area reporting 279 inches for the season thus far.
Meteorologist Joel Gratz, of the OpenSnow website, wrote Thursday that the forecast for the next few days at the ski area is a moving target because prevailing atmospheric conditions are not pushing defined storms into Colorado. Instead, "subtle waves of energy" are headed our way. That said, Gratz expects periods of light to moderate snow to arrive in the northern mountains from Friday morning through Sunday morning. It all could add up to double-digit accumulations along Interstate 70, but he was hesitant to commit.
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It's possible, according to OpenSnow, that the ski slopes at Steamboat could see 2 to 4 inches of new accumulation during each of the 12-hour periods during the day Friday, Friday night and Saturday.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Joe Ramey wrote that a wind-driven warming trend that could push the temperature to 34 degrees in town could limit precipitation during the day Friday.
In the longer range, National Weather Service Senior Forecaster Jeff Colton said Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday should be dry for most of the state with the exception of the northern mountains, which could see periods of light snow.
Monthly snowfall in the city of Steamboat consistently has been above average this fall and winter, with 16.8 inches in October, 27.9 inches in November, 38.3 inches in December, 52.2 inches in January and 30.4 inches as of Thursday for February.