‘Rollar coaster’ spring continues with snow, temps in 50s this week
Last week’s storm has Steamboat Springs off to a strong March with more than double the average snowfall for the first 10 days of the month.
Local Meteorologist Mike Weissbluth said the storm was somewhat unusual with a large arctic air mass combining with a big storm from the West to produce heavy snowfall and powder that was only about 4% water.
Because the snow was so light, Weissbluth said, about 20 inches of fresh snow only added about 8 inches to the base at Steamboat Ski Resort. Still, the storm pushed the snow base at the summit of Mount Werner over 100 inches for the first time this season.
“There was a lot going on there that is unlikely to be repeated,” said Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website SnowAlarm.com.
After a beautiful Sunday, Weissbluth said he expects it to snow in the evening, accumulating 4-8 inches at mid mountain overnight before tapering off by sunrise with the sun overpowering clouds by the mid afternoon Monday, March 14.
Tom Renwick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the system is moving quickly and won’t likely stick around longer than 12 hours while adding only a couple inches of snow in town.
“This thing is so fast-moving, it just looks like it isn’t going to be all that great,” Renwick said.
On Tuesday, March 15, the day is expected to be sunny with highs in the mid-40s before the next storm moves in Wednesday, March 16.
“We’re now in the spring roller coaster regime of the weather,” Weissbluth said.
Weissbluth noted the storm could bring a couple of different waves of snow, and potentially keep it going until the early hours of Friday, March 18. But the snow might not be as heavy as what fell last week.
Unlike this week’s first storm, Renwick said, the one behind it is moving much slower, though weather models disagree on how much precipitation it will bring. He anticipated about 4-6 inches with higher elevations getting a bit more.
When that storm ends Friday, the roller coaster will likely continue as the area welcomes another warm, sunny weekend, Weissbluth said. Renwick said highs may near the low-50s.
The warming makes sense to Renwick because longer-range weather models are showing a potentially powerful storm for the start of next week. However, he refers to predictions that far out as “fantasy land,” because forecasts often change quite a bit as the storm nears.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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As the snow melting off the peaks surrounding Steamboat Springs feeds the Yampa River, rafters, canoeists, kayakers and paddle boarders are trying to make the most of it.