April 2018 was 2nd wettest in 10 years, but not because of snowfall | SteamboatToday.com

April 2018 was 2nd wettest in 10 years, but not because of snowfall

April was the second wettest in nine years.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – April 2018 was one of the wettest in almost a decade but not because of spring snow.

The 3.93 inches of precipitation that fell on the valley floor in Steamboat Springs last month represents the second highest total for April since 2010.

The wettest April in the past nine years was 2011, when Steamboat saw 6.37 inches of moisture and 24.9 inches of snowfall, according to records kept by weather watchers Kate Gmeiner and Art Judson. Both have reported their data on the Colorado Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network.

In addition to frequent rain showers last month, 11.4 inches of snow accumulated, yielding 1.33 inches of the total precipitation.

The final April 2018 total did not include the gentle rain that fell in Steamboat the afternoon of April 30. That’s because the last official rainfall measurement for the month had been recorded by 7 a.m. Monday.

In 2011, Judson recorded 24.9 inches of snowfall in the valley. There was much more snow accumulating in the mountains that spring leading to a record snow depth. But 2010, with 34.1 inches of snow in the valley and 2013, with 34.8 inches, were actually snowier in town.

And there is more moisture on the way for Steamboat by midweek.

Steamboat-based meteorologist Michael Weissbluth predicted April 30 that a complex storm gathering Pacific energy was due midweek to  interact with a storm approaching from Nevada.

“More incoming Pacific energy moves the bulk of the storm across the Great Basin and over our area by later Wednesday and Thursday,” Weissbluth wrote in his Snow Alarm blog, “eventually bringing beneficial rains to the Yampa Valley and accumulating snows above 9,000 feet.”

The National Weather Service rates the chance of precipitation in the Upper Yampa River Basin for the afternoons of  May 3 to 4 at 60 percent with high temperatures ranging from 45 to 55 degrees.

Gmeiner, whose weather station sits at an elevation of 7,049 feet between downtown Steamboat and Steamboat Ski Area, recorded 10 days in April with measurable precipitation and seven more days when just a trace fell.

The wettest period in the month by far occurred when 1.09 inches of precipitation arrived April 7 followed by another 1.03 inches the next day, then 2.4 inches of wet snow on April 9.

The Climate Prediction Center at the National Atmospheric Center rates the prospects for above average precipitation in Northwest Colorado this month in the range of 40 percent-plus.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

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