Big change headed Steamboat Springs’ way
Steamboat Springs — After near record-high temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather is expected to change drastically in Steamboat Springs.
The snow and cold weather are expected to come just days before the anticipated Nov. 23 opening at Steamboat Ski Area.
Temperatures reached the low 60s Tuesday and flirted with the record-high temperature of 65 degrees set in 1999.
Julie Malingowski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the change will begin Wednesday morning as a cold front approaches. There will be wind gusts of up to 30 mph in the mountains.
The cold front is expected to arrive Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. Temperatures will plummet with a high temperature Thursday of 36 degrees and a Thursday night low of 16 degrees.
Precipitation is expected to begin falling mid-Thursday morning, and Malingowski expects mostly snow.
It should snow off and on Thursday and continue through the night. The winds from the Northwest will favor Steamboat along with orographic flow.
“We are expecting snow to continue a little bit Friday morning,” Malingowski said.
The snow should taper off by noon Friday.
Malingowski said one to three inches of snow is expected to fall in the city and between six and eight inches is expected for the mountain.
Steamboat meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs snowalarm.com, is calling for 2 to 5 inches of snow in the valley on unpaved surfaces and 6 to 12 inches on the mountain.
“The cold northwest flow on Thursday night may give us a ‘pop’ in the snowfall and could push totals closer to 10 inches at the summit,” wrote Joel Gratz, who runs opensnow.com.
The low temperature Friday night could bottom out at 10 degrees. That should aid snowmaking operations at Steamboat Ski Area.
Despite a mostly bare ski area right now, ski area officials have been reminding people that they have the ability to make a lot of snow quickly.
Ski area spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said that with average temperatures of 18 to 20 degrees, the snowmaking fleet can cover all of the Vogue trail with a foot of snow in 17 hours.
The colder it gets, the more snow they can make.
If temperatures drop below 10 degrees, they can cover Vogue in eight and a half hours.
More natural snow could be headed Steamboat’s way after a dry weekend.
Moisture could approach the area Monday, and there is a chance that a second storm could reach the region later in the week.
A dry November is not necessarily a sign of things to come for the rest of the season.
In November 2012, it only snowed 7 inches but then it snowed 105.25 inches in December.
In 2007, it snowed 23 inches in November and then 126 inches in December. That season went on to break the snowfall record with 489 inches.
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The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a winter storm warning for much of the West Slope ahead of a major weather system expected in the area starting Thursday.