Monday is best day for snow as spring weather resumes later in the week

The Spring-like weather the Yampa Valley has seen intermittently over the last two weeks will resume later this week, after some snow on Monday and Tuesday. (Photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Monday looks to be the Yampa Valley’s best day for snow this week, as part of the storm that has delivered impressive snow totals to the Front Range brings a wave of energy and moisture over the area.

Mike Weissbluth, a local meteorologist who runs the forecasting website, said he expects 3 to 6 inches of snow at midmountain on the Monday morning report, with another 2 to 5 inches during the day.

“We’re going to still be dealing with the tail end of the current storm going through the area on Monday morning, and that will be tapering off thoughout the day,” said Norv Larson, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

Weissbluth said the second storm that comes in Tuesday afternoon would actually suck up part of the energy from the storm before it, which is what will deliver whatever snow does fall in the middle of the week.

“Meteorologically that is really interesting when one trailing storm actually kicks the first storm out, but then actually mixes with part of that first storm,” Weissbluth said.

Larson said there is disagreement on the models over how much moisture this system will have, but neither of them predicts a significant amount of snow in the Yampa Valley.

Instead, the storm is expected to pass farther south and will only give the area about 1 to 4 inches over those two days, Weissbluth said. When that storm moves out Wednesday night into Thursday, mostly clear skies and warmer temperatures return to finish out the week.

“Then it get’s nice, and we are going to stay nice for Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” Weissbluth said.

Highs should reach the mid 40s Thursday, be around 50 on Friday and warm up into the mid 50s by Saturday, according to the National Weather Services 7-day forecast for Steamboat Springs.

“Spring in the Rockies,” Larson said, adding that this weekend looks like a mixed bag, as it seems it will be like spring one day and winter the next.

On Sunday, a colder area of low pressure will move into the area, and Weissbluth said models right now are making the early parts of next week look “quite stormy.”

“I think we are going to do quite well that Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,” Weissbluth said, adding that it is too early to put any snow totals on the storm. “I think it could be significant is as far out on the limb as I would probably go today.”

Avalanche danger is starting the week at level 3 — considerable — across the Steamboat and Flat Tops region as snow over the weekend and winds are increasing the potential for both storm and persistent slap avalanches.

The main hazard for early this week would be an avalanche triggered from new snow, and the danger is higher as you get closer to the Front Range, which saw multiple feet of snow in some areas. The Front Range has an avalanche warning out on it until Monday morning.

While less likely, it is still possible for avalanches to break deeper in the snow pack and make them more destructive, especially east of the Continental Divide, where the snowpack was thinner to begin with. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s summary for the area suggests avoiding being on or under any slopes steeper than 30 degrees.

“Avoiding avalanche terrain is the only way to mitigate your risk. This has been an unusual storm and we expect some unusual avalanche behavior,” wrote Kreston Rohrig in his avalanche forecast for the Steamboat and Flat Tops area. “If you find storm snow over 10 inches, you can trigger a slide big enough to do you harm or potentially bury you.”

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