Outlook not good for much snow ahead of ski season start
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A meager few inches is looking like all the snow expected this week in Steamboat Springs.
As Howelsen Hill Ski Area plans to commence its 2020-21 ski season Saturday and Steamboat Resort is slated for a Dec. 1 start, there isn’t much snow in the local forecast. That comes after a relatively sizable winter storm expected last weekend ultimately petered out.
Mike Weissbluth, a Steamboat-based meteorologist who owns and operates forecasting site snowalarm.com, said he expects a relatively sunny Wednesday before an uncertain chance for snow showers on Thanksgiving.
Another storm, currently over the Bering Sea to the west of Alaska, is forecast to intensify and quickly move across the Gulf of Alaska on Tuesday, Weissbluth said. It is expected to move across the local area on Thanksgiving Day.
Weissbluth initially forecast a dry holiday, though he noted last week there was substantial disagreement in forecast models. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts had forecast a much stronger storm crossing the West Coast on Wednesday as opposed to the American Global Forecast System. They call for dry weather in the area as the European model forecast splits the storm around northern Colorado, and the American model shows it moving quickly to the north.
“We can only hope at this point that both are wrong, and it is possible that a compromise solution may bring some sort of storm overhead for Thanksgiving,” Weissbluth said Tuesday.
And that seems to have come true as part of the storm is expected to pass over the area and bring some minor snow accumulations, he said.
After that, however, the outlook is poor for fresh snow in time for the ski area openings. A ridge of high pressure over the West will push cooler air into the Yampa Valley for Sunday and more high pressure follows for Monday.
“… it is unclear what the weather will be for the new Opening Day of the Steamboat Ski Area,” he said.
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
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With abnormally low snow levels, most of the snow skiers and snowboarders will encounter Saturday during Steamboat Resort’s Opening Day will be manufactured.