Steamboat wakes up to several inches of fresh powder with more on the way |

Steamboat wakes up to several inches of fresh powder with more on the way

National Weather Service issues winter storm warning for Rabbit Ears Pass beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday

Skiers and riders enjoy the fresh snow early Thursday afternoon outside Four Points Lodge at Steamboat Resort. (Courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Resort reported more than 6 inches of fresh power at midmountain and 10 inches at the summit Thursday morning, as a storm system billed as the most productive so far this season starts to take shape.

“We could have used a little bit more, it is pretty hard underneath, but there is about 10 inches, and it is skiing pretty well,” said Mike Weissbluth, a local meteorologist, as he was riding a chairlift on the mountain.

Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website, said more is coming with the heaviest snowfall Thursday night into early Saturday morning.

“What I hope to see is 3 to 6 (inches) in the morning and 6 to 12 (inches) during the day,” Weissbluth said, admitting that those midmountain totals are slightly above the forecast. “I expect that snow to continue into at least Friday evening, or probably tapering off on Saturday.”

He said he is expecting a report between 8 and 16 inches at midmountain Saturday.

Unsettled northwesterly flow that will remain over the area for the next several days will bring colder temperatures in addition to the snow, said Meagan Stackhouse, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

For the most part, things will remain dry Thursday ahead of the evening snowfall, Stackhouse said. For the Upper Yampa River Basin, she said they are forecasting 4 to 8 inches from Thursday night through Friday.

Steamboat Resort's snow stake reported 8 inches of snow from the recent storm, which is expected to continue into the weekend. (Courtesy photo)

The National Weather Service in Denver has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Rabbit Ears Pass starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, warning that travel through the pass could be difficult to impossible on Friday night.

Areas above 9,000 feet could see 10 to 18 inches of snow by Friday night with winds upwards of 50 miles per hour.

The warning suggests traveling earlier the day when there will be less snow or taking alternate routes. If traveling during the storm, drivers should carry extra food and water in addition to a flashlight in case of emergency, the warning says.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction also issued a warning for the Elkhead and Park Mountains that will start 5 p.m. Thursday and continue until Saturday morning.

Stackhouse said the northwest flow will continue into early next week which will likely bring more snow. The extended forecast for Steamboat has the chance of snow showers between 20% and 40% every few days for the next week.

By midweekend, Weissbluth said he expects anywhere from 15 to 30 inches, so another wave or two could help the Yampa Valley catch up on snow totals well below average.

“This is a relatively ideal pattern for Steamboat, so let’s hope we can stay in it and be productive for the next week,” Weissbluth said.

Routt County law enforcement officials responded to several snow-related incidents after the snow started to fall late Wednesday afternoon.

At 4:38 p.m., Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies assisted a truck driver that slid off Routt County Road 78 in Hayden. At 6:07 p.m., deputies assisted a vehicle stuck in a snow bank on Colorado Highway 131 and U.S. Highway 40 in Steamboat; at 8:34 p.m., Steamboat Springs Police Department officers found a vehicle tipped on its side on the side of Mount Werner Circle. Officers said they could not locate a person in or around the vehicle. At 8:49 p.m., the Steamboat Springs Fire Department responded to a driver in the 1200 block of Pine Grove Circle that ran into a light pole. Officers said the driver was injured but did not have more detail.

“Slow down, take time and give the person in front of you a lot of room,” said Cpl. Aaron Arsenault with the sheriff’s office.

Steamboat Pilot & Today Reporter Alison Berg contributed to this report.

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