Coldest night of winter forecast Friday; snow returns to Steamboat on Sunday
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The National Weather Service in Grand Junction is forecasting a low of minus 10 Friday night in Steamboat Springs.
Temperatures are expected to stay below zero on Saturday night, as well, before a Sunday snowstorm moves into the area and brings the overnight low slightly above zero. The unofficial low Thursday night was minus 3.
“Tonight, you’re gonna get pretty cold, down to around negative 10. We do have some clouds moving in, so that could limit some of the cooling,” Weather Service meteorologist Jimmy Fowler said.
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The coldest night this winter was minus 8, which was reached Dec. 5. If Friday’s temperature dips to forecast lows, it would be the coldest night of the winter so far.
On Saturday, cloud cover is expected to move out of the area, with a high in the upper teens to low 20s and a low of around zero, Fowler said.
Temperatures are expected to warm up a bit as a storm moves into the area Sunday, with snow forecast to start around sunrise and continue through Monday morning or afternoon.
“As of right now, it looks like Sunday is going to be the warmest day over the next couple of days thanks to that southwesterly flow that will be moving in ahead of that system,” Fowler said.
It’s still a bit too early to know with any certainty how much snow Steamboat can expect, he said, but town could see about 1 to 3 inches with the mountains getting 6 or more inches.
Mike Weissbluth, who runs SnowAlarm.com, was a bit more optimistic Thursday, forecasting 6 to 12 inches in the mountains. On Friday, he said he was less confident in the storm track and expecting about 3 to 6 inches at the ski area.
“When that storm comes through, it is going to bring the temperatures back down in the wake of it,” Fowler said, with Monday’s high forecast at 18 and the low expected to drop to about minus 9.
The storm system will be the final one to move through Northwest Colorado this year, adding to Steamboat Resort’s season snowfall total of 119.75 inches. On the same date last year, the ski area had seen only 71.5 inches of snow.
That additional snow has led to a snowpack that is slightly above average for this times of year, with the Yampa River basin at 108 percent of normal. The strong start to the season has the Yampa basin at 180 percent of last year’s snowpack at this time, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
That compares to statewide snowpack that is 93 percent of normal and 200 percent better than last winter.
“We’re still in the early season, so we can’t really say too much about how the rest of the season is going to go,” Fowler said. “This year, at least compared to last year, we’re doing much better.”
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