Snow comes to Steamboat Friday, ahead of a sunny weekend
Another storm on the horizon as early as Monday night that could last until Wednesday
After high temperatures in the mid-40s the last two days, Steamboat Springs is in line to wake up to fresh snow on Friday, March 31.
Mark Miller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the storm is shaping up to be a pretty typical spring storm, potentially bringing 4 to 8 inches of new snow in Steamboat and upwards of 2 feet in the surrounding mountains.
“This is one of those classic spring storms where it can be mild ahead of it and pretty cold behind it with snow piling up pretty decently up there,” Miller said.
The storm was passing through Vernal, Utah, on Thursday afternoon, March 30, and it reached Steamboat Springs and the rest of the Yampa Valley by 3 p.m. High winds accompanied the storm as it moved in, causing some lifts to stop turning at Steamboat Resort at about 11:30 a.m.
Local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth said he expected between 5 and 10 inches of snow at mid-mountain of Steamboat Resort by the Friday morning report.
“This is going to be a good one,” said Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website SnowAlarm.com. “This storm is of Siberian origins and it’s mixed with an atmospheric river, so there’s good moisture and cold air with it.”
Another 5 to 10 inches is expected to fall through the day on Friday with maybe another 2 to 5 inches after the lifts close, Weissbluth said.
Miller said the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the mountains around Steamboat Springs, but hadn’t yet felt it was necessary to issue any kind of warning in town.
“It’s a couple waves,” Miller said, adding that the first wave would likely only last a few hours. “Once we get past that it starts to get more kind of showery, where it could be more on and off. That basically will continue through much of the day on Friday.”
The snow will add to what has already been a powdery season for Steamboat Resort, which passed 400 inches at mid-mountain and 500 inches at the summit of Mt. Werner earlier this week.
The Yampa, White and Little Snake River Basin is currently at 144% of the 30-year median in terms of snowpack. Snow water equivalent in the basin is just a tenth of an inch behind the recorded maximum, with 28.6 inches compared to the high for March 30 of 28.7 inches. Last year’s snowpack peaked at 17.8 inches on April 18.
Weissbluth said the weekend looks to be sunny following the storm, with temperatures getting as high as the mid-40s both days, which is near average for this time of year. The high for Sunday, April 2, is forecasted at 46 degrees.
The next storm looks to come toward the Yampa Valley to start next week, taking a similar track to the current storm by swinging across the Great Basin. Weissbluth said models are showing it could start with some light precipitation on Monday evening, April 3, with the bulk of the storm happening on Tuesday, April 4, and Wednesday, April 5.
“This is another storm with Siberian origins and a tropical from Indonesia that is brought all the way across the Pacific,” Weissbluth said. “This is looking like another snowfall event.”
With three weekends left in the season at Steamboat Resort — barring another extension — longer range forecasts do have unsettled weather projected for the weekend the resort had originally planned to close on April 9.
“There is a grazing storm for closing weekend, but that can easily move over us or away from us,” Weissbluth said. “It’s difficult to talk about closing weekend at this point.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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