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Storms slide into town

Snowstorm expected for weekend, into next week

Susan Cunningham

The Steamboat Ski Area likely will have a fresh topping of powder for opening day after a snowstorm moves through the area this weekend with more to follow next week.

Mountain areas in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah are under a winter storm watch for today and tonight because of a cold and windy snowstorm that moved into the area Friday night.

Snow is expected to continue falling through Sunday night, dumping 4 to 8 inches in the area from Steamboat to Yampa and up to 20 inches at higher elevations, Forecaster David Nadler said.

The stormy conditions are expected to bring high winds and falling temperatures. Today, temperatures should plummet, possibly reaching 10 degrees below zero in Steamboat and as low as 25 degrees below zero in the mountains by Sunday morning, Nadler said.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for Steamboat, and a winter storm warning has been issued for surrounding mountains because of the storms.

The storm system started in the Pacific Northwest region and was expected to cross Utah on Friday and enter Colorado today, Nadler said.

During the storm, gusty and erratic winds could cause blowing and drifting snow and bring whiteout conditions at times. Once the cold front comes through, the winds are likely to die down, Nadler said.

But this storm could be just a taste of what’s to come in the next week. Several systems are developing, and Nadler said the area’s next shot at snow could come as early as next Tuesday. It’s likely that storm activity will be high during the next week or so.

“We have a few more systems to contend with,” Nadler said. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to warm up any time soon.”

For skiers and boarders looking forward to the opening of the Steamboat ski area Wednesday, the snow is good news.

The cold temperatures mean snowmaking will go smoothly, and natural snow is a bonus, said Cathy Wiedemer, spokeswoman for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

“We feel like this weekend can hopefully enhance everyone’s experience on Wednesday,” Wiedemer said.

“Everyone’s geared up for a really good opening.”

As of Friday, the ski area had 48 inches of snow, which arrived almost entirely in November.

Last year at this time, the ski area had 60 inches of snow, with help from a heavy snowfall at the end of October.

For people who will be outside today, weather advisories recommend planning for weather conditions that quickly will deteriorate through the day.

For those traveling across the mountains of Eastern Utah and Western Colorado through tonight, icy and snow-packed roads are expected.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com


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