Cold, rain kicks off week as snow-filled storm passes over Yampa Valley |

Cold, rain kicks off week as snow-filled storm passes over Yampa Valley

Steamboat Springs will miss out on much of the snow from a storm moving over the area Monday that is expected to bring large quantities to the Front Range. Still, higher elevations could see light accumulation, and there could be some thunder early in the week. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Many parts of Colorado’s northern mountains are seeing late season snow to start the week, but the Steamboat Springs area will miss out on a big dump with any snow that falls likely melting quickly.

“It is a storm that is going to hit the Front Range the most,” said Mike Weissbluth, a local meteorologist who runs the forecasting website

A low-pressure system currently over Idaho will drop down over the Colorado and Wyoming border north of Steamboat. Tom Renwick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction said the system could bring some thunderstorms Monday evening into Tuesday, especially to the west of town.

Weissbluth figured there would be about 1 to 3 inches as the storm moves in at higher elevations with another 1 to 3 inches after the storm moves in Monday night and Tuesday. It will be cold enough to snow at lower elevations in town, Weissbluth said, but most of the moisture will be at higher elevations.

If it did snow in town, it wouldn’t stick around long but could yield about a half-inch of snow in grassy areas, Weissbluth said. The storm should pass over the area Monday night on its way east, where places near Boulder are expecting close to 20 inches of snow.

“We should do okay on the back side of it, whether it be snow at the higher elevations or a rain-snow mix or rain showers down lower,” Weissbluth said. “By Wednesday, the storm has passed us and things will clear out.”

Should higher elevations get snow Tuesday, it will likely not bond well with older snow that has been melting during the day and refreezing at night, according to Mike Floyd, a forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The center has switched to its spring forecasting schedule, offering outlooks for the northern, central and southern mountains until the end of May.

The new snow has risk for slides higher in the north than the rest of the state, but the heaviest snow is expected to fall further east of Steamboat.

Then a high-pressure system will move in, which typically leads to dry weather with largely cloud-free skies. But this system is flatter than most, Weissbluth said, which will leave some chances for afternoon storms Wednesday and Thursday, with even stronger chances Friday.

“Unfortunately it is not anything dramatic like lots and lots of rain. It is more like showery types of stuff,” Renwick said of rain chances later in the week.

Temperatures also jump later in the week after starting off below-average, Renwick said. Highs in the low 50s Monday and Tuesday will eventually reach highs above 70 degrees by Friday.

A storm is projected to reach the West Coast at some point this weekend and could reach the local area sometime early next week. Depending on how this storm develops through the week, this likely means the weekend will be some of the nicest of the week with highs in the low 70s and lots of sun.

“I think the chances for showers will probably go away on Saturday and at least some of Sunday depending how this next storm develops,” Weissbluth said.

Models are starting to agree a bit more on next week’s early storm, but it could still dip to the south and completely miss the area.

“(What) the American model has is kind of moving over us for a much wetter forecast, and the very latest European (model) has it passing south of us,” Weissbluth said. “Both of those have changed pretty drastically over the last couple of days, so we will definitely need a couple more model runs before we have confidence in what is going to happen next week.”

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