Pattern change brings cold air from Canada, not much snow to Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com
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Pattern change brings cold air from Canada, not much snow to Steamboat

Backcountry skiers glide across several feet of snow on a trail called Fox Curve on Rabbit Ears Pass. Morning temperature inversions have low sections of the Yampa Valley bitterly cold to start the day, while higher elevations like this are as much as 20 degrees warmer.
Dylan Anderson/ Steamboat Pilot & Today

A change in the weather pattern after a series of sunny, dry days would generally mean strong snowfall for the Yampa Valley. While a change is expected this week, there won’t be very much snow coming with it.

Rather than moisture-rich air from the Gulf of Alaska, a series of cold fronts are coming in this week from the Arctic, a much drier continental air mass.

“We got the pattern change,” said Mike Weissbluth, a local meteorologist who runs SnowAlarm.com. “Unfortunately, it is going to be dry and cold, and not wet and cold.”



On Monday, Jan. 31, the weather should be similar to this weekend with clear blue skies and highs in the mid-30s.

By Tuesday, Feb. 1, there is a chance for some light snow, but Weissbluth said hoping for even an inch would be “optimistic.”



The best chance for snow this week will start Tuesday night and continue until late Wednesday, Feb. 2. Weissbluth said midmountain could see between 2 and 5 inches over that time.

Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction Dan Cuevas said he doesn’t expect significant accumulation from the storm either, with higher elevations likely only seeing about 6 inches.

“For the coming week, that really looks like our only chance (for snow),” Cuevas said.

The arctic air will drop temperatures during the week, with the overnight low Wednesday forecast for 10 degrees below zero.

Weissbluth said morning temperature inversions would likely continue through the week, with lower elevations in the valley experiencing colder temperatures than spots higher up.

Weissbluth said there looks to be more chances for snow next weekend and the middle of next week, but he didn’t expect much snow then either.

“We have a relatively active pattern, but it’s just dry,” he said.

Limited snowfall this week is expected to keep avalanche conditions relatively safe across the state.

Most regions, including the Steamboat and Flat Tops area, should have generally safe backcountry conditions. There haven’t been any avalanches locally reported to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center in the last week.

“Weak layers are buried pretty deep, and they are pretty hard to impact,” the center’s Deputy Director Brian Lazar said in a snowpack update. “Given the current weather pattern, it doesn’t look like we are going to see enough snowfall to produce much of an avalanche concern into February.”


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