Rain, snow mix could give peaks in Zirkel a taste of autumn Saturday night | SteamboatToday.com

Rain, snow mix could give peaks in Zirkel a taste of autumn Saturday night

Leaves on a tree near downtown Steamboat Springs already are transitioning to their autumn colors. In another sign that summer is fleeting, the Mount Zirkel WIlderness Area and other high peaks near Steamboat could receive some snow Saturday night.
Scott Franz

— Don’t rush into the workshop to wax your skis just yet, but Steamboat Springs-based meteorologist Mike Weissbluth and the National Weather Service agree that there’s a chance that a little snow could fall in the highest peaks of the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.

Weissbluth predicts that the chance for a dusting of snow that will stick around until morning is likely reserved for peaks of 13,000 feet and more, and that rules out Routt County. But a forecast map produced by the National Weather Service in Grand Junction foresees that a mix of rain and snow could fall above 11,700 feet in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area on Saturday night. And the Weather Service indicates an accumulation of 1 to 2 inches of snow is possible on the highest peaks of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness during the day Friday.

Weissbluth sees the current monsoon flow of subtropical moisture affecting Steamboat getting mixed up with a little autumn cold front that could spawn a little of the white stuff Saturday. Although it’s not likely to stick in the peaks of the Park Range east of Steamboat, it could make its presence felt in higher peaks to the south in Summit and Eagle counties.

Clouds from tropical storm Lowell off the Baja coast were dominating Steamboat’s weather at midweek, Weissbluth wrote in an email forecast. By Friday, he said, an area of low pressure headed in the direction of Steamboat will generate periods of rain sometime Friday afternoon through early Saturday morning.

A change arrives close on the heels of that system, Weissbluth predicted, when a fall-like storm from the northwest will make its presence known with showers followed by dropping temperatures and heavy rain as the main front moves through the area.

“Rain is forecast to persist for a significant portion of (Saturday) night before clearing early Sunday morning, and there may even be a dusting of snow at the highest elevations of the Rockies,” Weissbluth said.

He maintains the weather blog, http://www.snowalarm.com.

Temperatures in Steamboat Springs on Saturday and Sunday could struggle to reach 70 degrees.

Steamboat recorded one of its biggest 24-hour rain events of what has been a rainy August on Wednesday — as of 7 a.m., a couple weather stations ringing the city reported 0.38 inches to 0.42 inches in the preceding 24 hours. However, as dark clouds blew first over the north end of the city and then over the southern boundary of Steamboat, some weather stations picked up as little as 0.1 inch.

Officially, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, monthly total stood at 2.44 inches compared to the “normal” total for the month of 1.6 inches.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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