Heavy snow to begin falling Thursday in Steamboat, expected to last through next week | SteamboatToday.com

Heavy snow to begin falling Thursday in Steamboat, expected to last through next week

Steamboat Springs resident Garth Hammond uses a pair of poles to trek through a snow storm in December. Meteorologists are calling for up to 30 inches of snow in the surrounding mountains by Friday.
Derek Maiolo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After a brief period of sunshine, meteorologists are calling for multiple snow storms to bring daily showers for this week in Steamboat Springs.

“People should get out and enjoy the sunny weather. It’s not going to be out for a while once it starts snowing,” said local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth who runs the forecasting website snowalarm.com.

The first round of snow will arrive Wednesday, he said, with 1 to 4 inches of fresh snow possible by Thursday morning. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction calls for 5 to 8 inches of accumulation at higher elevations. Showers could persist through next Wednesday.

Some uncertainty remains about the timing and intensity of the coming storms, however, according to Weissbluth. This is due to multiple storm systems flowing in from the Pacific Ocean and mixing in unpredictable ways with cold air from Canada. 

“It’s all unclear at this point,” Weissbluth said. 

He expects the most intense snowfall to occur Thursday night through Friday morning. Accumulation could range from a minimum of 3 inches of snow to as much as 10 inches by the Friday morning snow report. 

While the accuracy of forecasting models will improve as the storm gets closer, it is moving along a cool, northwest flow. Such a pattern tends to favor heavier accumulation in the mountains around Steamboat, Weissbluth said.

Keep up with the conditions

• Find the latest forecast and recent weather stories here.
• View Steamboat webcams here.
• Find information from the National Weather Service, including storm warnings and advisories at wrh.noaa.gov
• The Colorado Department of Transportation provides road conditions, closures and traffic cameras at cotrip.org.
• For travel information by phone, call 511 (in Colorado) or dial 303-639-1111.
• Find information about avalanche danger and conditions from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
• For flight information, visit flightview.com/traveltools.

Below-normal temperatures will accompany the snow starting on Thursday, according to meteorologist Erin Walter with the Weather Service. Thursday’s high will be 25 degrees, dipping to a low of 8 degrees in the evening. Friday will be even colder, with a high of 22 degrees and a low of -2 degrees once clouds clear in the evening. 

Those cooler temperatures should make for the light, fluffy Champagne Powder for which Steamboat is known, Weissbluth said. Though, he cautioned that winds over the weekend could threaten what would otherwise be deep powder days at Steamboat Resort.  

Weissbluth compared the situation to Monday, when heavy gusts blasted several trails at the ski area into icy sheets, particularly west-facing terrain at and around the summit. 

“It was difficult skiing,” he said. 

Weissbluth recommends Friday as the best day to ski this week, when a mixture of fresh snow and calm winds should add a fresh, soft blanket to the trails. As of Tuesday, about 99% of the runs were open. 

Steamboat should see a break in the snow on Saturday morning, according to Walter with the Weather Service. Showers are expected to return in the afternoon and continue through Sunday morning. Scattered showers should persist through the start of the work week.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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