Atmospheric river arrives in Steamboat Monday night, bringing more snow to town

Snow covers trees along Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. Meteorologists expect another few inches of snow to fall this week as an atmospheric river passes through the area from the West Coast.
Kit Geary/Steamboat Pilot & Today

An atmospheric river coming from the West Coast will reach Steamboat Springs Monday night, Jan. 9, bringing with it a few more inches of snow. The system is expected to conclude by Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 11.

“The first wave coming across Monday looks to be more of a grazing event, at this point we could be seeing as much as 3-6 inches of snow at midmountain on Tuesday morning, (Jan. 10), and it tapers off throughout the day”, said local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website “Tuesday will be relatively warm and then colder air will follow behind Wednesday’s storm.”

Atmospheric rivers are systems of concentrated moisture that get picked up from subtropics and tropics, generally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and are carried west via storms. When these systems make landfall they tend to generate an abundance of precipitation.

“Wednesday’s storm looks like it could be better and bring more snow,” Weissbluth said. “Yet, there’s still a fair amount of uncertainty because of the unpredictability of the storm so far. It will want to intensify right as it moves over the Rockies. It’s not clear yet if it will close off as an eddy for a short period of time either over us or east of us, and that will impact the snow on Wednesday.”

While Steamboat proper will likely get 3-6 inches of snow overall, the mountain could get 6-10 inches. According to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, based on the way the storms are currently moving, southwest Colorado is likely to get most of the powder this time around.

The National Weather Service also predicts upwards of 3 inches of snow for the beginning of the week. Another storm is expected to pass over the coming weekend, but with the current chaotic weather patterns, it is too far out to accurately predict the snowfall it will bring. 

“As far as temperatures, throughout the week it will roughly be in the 30s for highs in Steamboat proper, so nothing too different from what we have been seeing,” said meteorologist Scott Stearns with the National Weather Service. “It could actually get to 40 degrees on Friday, (Jan. 13), and Saturday, (Jan. 14), that would be ahead of that weekend storm.”

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