Forecast: Expect frigid temps before warmer weather sets in later in the week |

Forecast: Expect frigid temps before warmer weather sets in later in the week

Fresh snow covers cars in downtown Steamboat Springs on Friday, Dec. 11.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today.

The Yampa Valley will ring in the new year with temperatures dropping to 16 degrees below zero without the wind chill and minus 20 with it.

However, the cold snap shouldn’t last long. Scott Stearns, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said frigid temperatures over the weekend will give way to much warmer weather beginning Monday.

Monday through Wednesday, the area is expected to see temps around 34 degrees with no chance for precipitation. Later in the week, highs could reach closer to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, Stearns said.

Though temperatures are expected to warm up next week, Steamboat Springs and the mountains surrounding it are expected to receive heavy snow through the weekend.

Mike Weissbluth, a local meteorologist and author of, said Steamboat Resort could receive five to 10 inches at mid-mountain by Friday evening, with an additional two to five inches Saturday afternoon.

In a Thursday post on his blog, Weissbluth wrote the coldest part of the storm moves overhead Saturday night as the atmosphere dries, so Saturday night and early Sunday morning will see very cold temperatures.

Weissbluth predicted a sunny but cold Sunday, Jan. 2.

“Enjoy the powder to start the new year, but be mindful of the extreme cold when outside,” he said, adding that he would release a new weather update Sunday.

Steamboat Resort saw long lift lines Friday morning with skiers and riders taking advantage of the several powder days in a row. After a slow start to the year, nearly all of the resort’s terrain is open with 14 of 17 lifts and 147 of 169 runs operating going into the new year.

At Howelsen Hill — Steamboat’s city-run ski area just south of downtown — crews have begun spinning the brand new chairlift and plan to have all terrain open by Sunday, Jan. 2.

“Getting all of our terrain safe to open is currently our first priority,” said Robbie Shine, Howelsen ski and rodeo manager.

As for road conditions, Elise Thatcher, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said closures are unlikely unless wrecks occur and cars cannot maneuver around the accident safely or winds are strong enough that it becomes difficult to see.

Routt County public safety officials are warning drivers to ensure they have proper tires this time of year.

“When you have bad weather like this, jut give yourself plenty of time and make sure you have proper tires,” said Routt County Undersheriff Doug Scherar.

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