Steamboat to see first significant snow and lowest temps of the season Sunday
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs is likely to get its first significant snowfall of the season this weekend as a cold, wet system rolls in to the Yampa Valley.
Saturday will mostly be dry and windy with a high temperature in the 50s. Winds out of the west will be between 10 and 20 mph, with gusts of 30 to 40 mph, according to Mike Weissbluth, a local meteorologist who runs the forecasting website snowalarm.com.
While the westerly winds will keep Steamboat relatively smoke free Saturday, it could make for hazardous firefighting conditions.
“The strong winds are not good for the fires, but we are hoping that the moisture that we get from the storm will kind of be the saving grace and help with the control of the wildfires later on,” said Dan Cuevas, a hydrometeorological technician with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
That precipitation will start Saturday evening, with snow continuing through Monday.
“Light precipitation probably starts Saturday night and likely really gets going on Sunday morning,” said Weissbluth.
Weissbluth said the storm bringing in snow is pretty complex, but he expects snowfall between 4 and 8 inches in Steamboat Springs with between 10 and 20 inches at higher elevations.
Cuevas projected between 6 and 10 inches of snow falling in Steamboat while the storm passes over with the brunt of the load being delivered late Saturday into Sunday.
Snow could cause some traffic problems in town, but could make mountain passes rather treacherous. The snow could stick around for a few days with temperatures staying low into the middle of next week.
“Sunday is going to be a really ugly day on Rabbit Ears would be my guess,” Weissbluth said. “Travel will be difficult or probably avoided on Sunday.”
Much of the state could see some snow between Saturday night and Monday morning, potentially a welcome sign for those fighting fires across the state.
With the snow will come the coldest temperatures Steamboat has seen yet this season, with highs on Sunday forecasted in the mid-thirties. But on Monday the real plunge kicks in with single digit temps in the morning. It may not even reach freezing at any point on Monday, Weissbluth said.
Snow could linger into Monday as some of the storm remains in the area bringing periods of light to moderate snow showers throughout the day.
National Weather Service’s three-month projections released Oct. 15 point to a dryer winter for Steamboat Springs. While the projections may be useful, Weissbluth said that it is still to far out to project how snow will look for the ski season.
“There is no way at this point of getting a seasonal forecast that has any chance of being accurate,” Weissbluth said. “I am focused on the shorter term.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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