Steamboat ahead of February snowfall average, still lags 25 inches behind season average
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As this weekend’s winter storm wraps up, Steamboat Springs is about 10 inches ahead of the average for snowfall in February.
“Cold, very high quality snow. Very low density, cold, cold fluffy powder,” said Mike Weissbluth, a local meteorologist, about the snow on Mount Werner while skiing Sunday.
While February’s snowfall is up, this winter has seen about 25 inches of snow below average at this point.
As of Feb. 20, the National Weather Service reports that 34.8 inches of snow has fallen at their measuring location near downtown with still about a week to go. That is already above the average of 30.8 inches and well above the 19.3 inches that fell in January, which didn’t even reach half of the average for the month.
Still, the 111 inches of snow that have fallen this year is behind the average for the season at this point, 136.7 inches. It also doesn’t compare to the record snowfall for February 1936, which saw 65.8 inches of snow, according to historical climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
|Top 5 Steamboats Springs snowfall during February (Source: NWS)|
Steamboat Ski Resort has now reported at least an inch of snow at midmountain each of the last 12 days and all but five days in February. The 77 inches the resort has seen at midmountain is behind the hefty 99 inches that fell in February 2020.
“There really has been a pretty large disparity between snowfall in town and on the mountain,” said Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website snowalarm.com.
The storm that led to the 7.5 inches on Sunday morning’s report will be winding down throughout the day, potentially with some scattered snow showers, but wont leave much accumulation except at high elevation, said Erin Walter, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
Monday will see clouds leave the area throughout the day, with the high temperature expected near the mid- to upper 30s. Snow is expected again Tuesday, but it seems like the bulk of the storm will miss Steamboat.
“It is kind of like a broad trough in the first wave brushes to the north of us,” Walter said. “The Elkhead and Park (mountain) ranges might see some flurries out of that, but we might also be just too far south for that one to really impact our area.”
Walter said the “second punch” of this storm comes through Wednesday evening, which should bring more snow than the first wave.
“There is a little bit more moisture with that; my one concern is that there is drier air ahead of that, so we wont get high totals out of that,” Walter said, adding that the storm doesn’t look strong enough to issue a winter weather advisory at this point.
Including both waves of the storm, Walter said it still likely wouldn’t lead to much, with total accumulations around 2 inches at higher elevations and less than an inch in town.
“Five days ago, it looked relatively promising, and now, it is kind of splitting around us and looking less promising,” Weissbluth said. “I think we will get some snow out of it; it just isn’t going to be very much.”
Another storm coming in over the weekend looks to be a better producer of snow and just in time to pad the month’s total.
“The storm over the weekend looks like the better push and the better source of moisture,” Walter said. “I could calculate a forecast snow total, but I would definitely take that with a grain of salt, just because it is pretty far out, and the models tend to fluctuate.”
Weissbluth agreed it is still uncertain how productive this storm could be, with the models showing several different solutions.
“We’ll either get some snow, or we’ll get a lot of snow,” he said. “Guessing amounts that far in the future is almost not even worth the time.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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