Steamboat could see a wet snow storm Sunday and Monday
March 4, 2016
Steamboat Springs — With the thermometer registering 47 degrees under sunny skies in Steamboat Springs at 3:30 p.m. March 4, hardened veterans of winter were walking around town in shirt-sleeves. However, Friday's balmy temperatures couldn't match the record for the date of 55 degrees recorded in 2009 and didn't compare to the all-time recorded high temperature for any day in March — that was the 70 degrees recorded March 24, 2012.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction is forecasting Steamboat could take a shot at the 50-degree mark Saturday, when it expects the high to be 49. Saturday's forecast of partly sunny skies could also be the last time Steamboat sees the sun before Tuesday, which may turn into good news for skiers by Monday, if not sooner.
Steamboat-based meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who writes the SnowAlarm blog, said Friday a complex storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska will begin to affect the upper Yampa Valley on Sunday, when increasing cloudiness is expected to arrive on the scene.
"The main storm in the gulf ejects a lead storm that brings storm clouds to our area by later Sunday morning." Weissbluth said in an e-mail. "Precipitation may begin by noon Sunday, with the warm temperatures bringing rain showers in the valleys and the lower slopes of the mountain and snow showers at higher elevations."
The storm's energy will become more wintry by Sunday night, but it will really begin to deliver the goods Monday, when the flow at mountain-top elevations begins to move from the northwest, favoring Mount Werner and the Steamboat ski area.
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"Temperatures will still be on the warm side, so I would expect up to an inch or two of relatively dense snow," on the Monday morning ski report, "with an additional three to six inches of dense snow falling mostly during the day and possibly into the early evening Monday," Weissbluth said.
As that storm leaves the area, a larger storm will move southward along the California coast before crossing northern Baja that night, forming a "closed low cutoff form of the jet stream that is typical of El Nino winters,” Weissbluth added. At that point, the most persistent snow here will be over, he said, but Tuesday's weather is still likely to be unsettled.
Weissbluth expects drier conditions for the remainder of the coming work week before a "more promising" Pacific storm spreads clouds and possibly precipitation over the area late March 11.
The National Weather Service is calling for highs from the mid 30s to mid 40s March 7 through 10, with overnight lows dipping into the teens.