Snow, colder temperatures expected this weekend
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County residents and visitors can expect snow right in time for the weekend.
While the Yampa Valley has seen high temperatures for December, Steamboat Springs forecaster Mike Weissbluth said that will change this weekend. He expects the warm and sunny weather to last through Wednesday but advised residents and visitors to prepare for lower temperatures throughout the next few weeks as part of a storm near the Aleutian Islands crosses the Pacific Northwest that then moves across the northern Rocky Mountains.
Clouds and cooler temperatures are expected to begin Thursday, with light snowfall Friday and into Saturday morning.
“It’s probably too early to throw numbers around for forecast snow amounts at this point due to the complicated interaction between all of these storm pieces,” Weissbluth said, adding he would have better estimates Thursday.
Weissbluth said Champagne powder, which he described as lightly dense snow that Steamboat has earned a reputation for, is what can be expected Friday.
While the Yampa Valley has had a few days of snow this season, Weissbluth said temperatures around 40 degrees are “not usual” for December, which he said usually averages around 30 degrees.
“It does look like Friday starts a pattern change, and we can look forward to more seasonable weather,’” he added. “It does, at this point, look like we may see storms every two or three days until the end of the year.”
As temperatures drop and snow accumulates, Steamboat Springs Police Department Sgt. Evan Noble said drivers should be extra conscious of keeping appropriate distance, avoiding Buffalo and Rabbit Ears passes during storms and ensuring cars are equipped properly.
“Just drive slow and give plenty of room between each vehicle,” he said.
Weissbluth echoed those concerns and said those not used to winter weather should avoid driving during a storm if possible.
“We have some snow melting on the roads during the day, but we still have the very cold nights, so you can get these spots that don’t look icy but are very icy, so keep an eye out for the black ice,” he said.
Robbie Shine, Howelsen Hill Ski/Rodeo supervisor, said Howelsen will continue to rely on manual snow making, but the colder temperatures will be of use.
“It’s allowed us to open up terrain and try to spread people out,” which is particularly important due to COVID-19, he said. “Snow making is our biggest success.”
Howelsen’s Rodeo Nordic Loop is currently open, and Howelsen staff are hoping to open more Nordic terrain this weekend and next week. They are also planning to open the chairlift for blue and green runs this weekend, Shine said.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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