Moderate snowfall expected over the weekend; spring temperatures could arrive next week
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs residents and visitors can expect a “modest storm,” coming after midnight Friday and into Saturday morning.
Steamboat meteorologist Mike Weissbluth said the storm could produce from 4 to 8 inches of snowfall at midmountain by Saturday morning, followed by an additional 1 to 4 inches during the day Saturday.
“Weather forecast models disagree on exactly how the storm will split and whether the snow showers will hang on Saturday night or not,” Weissbluth said. “But there could be additional dry and fluffy accumulations Saturday night in the cold, unstable but drying air mass.”
Saturday’s expected snow comes as a result of a storm currently moving through the Gulf of Alaska, mixing with a reservoir of cold air stretched between Greenland and Alaska and bringing precipitation to the Pacific Northwest, Weissbluth said.
While the Yampa Valley saw a slow start to winter, Matthew Aleksa, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Steamboat’s total snowfall of about 114 inches so far this season is only 8 inches less than its 2019-2020 total.
“What’s interesting about that is we were pretty dry and below normal until we hit December,” Aleksa said. “Steamboat got about 34 inches in December, then January was another dry month, but we’re starting to make up for the earlier dry months.”
February brought more snow than Steamboat Resort has seen since 2012, said Loryn Duke, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. director of communications. The ski area currently has about 80 inches of snow midmountain, Duke said, the snowiest February on record in nine years.
Weissbluth said there is another storm crossing the Gulf of Alaska on Monday, and a ridge of high pressure will move overhead producing sunny weather and temperatures warming toward an average of 35 degrees Monday, with even higher temperatures expected Tuesday.
“It’s probably too early to call it springlike, but after such a cold and snowy February, March will be arriving like a lamb,” Weissbluth said.
Temperatures are expected to climb even higher by the end of next week, Weissbluth said.
“Overall it seems like it has been a much dryer winter, and it’s just a matter of the pattern we’re in,” Aleksa said.
Aleksa said it may be too soon to make long-term predictions but the near future doesn’t look promising for snowfall.
“We are still in a drought, and we’ve had more systems coming out of the northwest so you get that more persistent snow flow, which favors the Steamboat area and the surrounding mountains in getting better snowfall,” Aleksa said. “For the most part, we’ve been kind of on the drier side of things”
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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