Up to a foot of snow predicted for Steamboat mountains this weekend
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — More snow and some rain showers are expected to hit Steamboat Springs this weekend, with up to a foot of accumulation at higher elevations by Monday.
Meteorologists said some uncertainty remains with the forecasts due to the prevalence of multiple storm systems that could move away from the area and reduce the amount of snowfall.
The first of two projected storms could hit Steamboat as early as early as Saturday, with a 20% chance of snow showers Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
Meteorologists expect warm temperatures to accompany the first round of snow showers. Saturday’s high is 41 degrees, according to the Weather Service, with a low of 20 degrees at night. Sunday’s high also is 41 degrees, with a low of 18 degrees.
Local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting site snowalarm.com, predicts heavy snowfall on Sunday, starting around noon. Rain is possible at lower elevations, Weissbluth said, but he expects that to quickly turn to snow as temperatures drop in the evening.
“A cold front is expected to pass through the area (Sunday), lowering snow densities and creating some light and fluffy powder that will ski great on top of the denser layer of snow underneath,” Weissbluth said in his forecast.
By Monday morning, he expects total snow accumulation to be anywhere from 6 to 12 inches. Erin Walter, a meteorologist with the Weather Service, predicts a milder storm than Weissbluth, with 6 to 10 inches of accumulation at higher elevations and 2 to 5 inches in Steamboat. She cautioned that uncertainty persists in the weekend forecast.
“Even a slight shift in wind direction could bring more snow,” Walter said.
A second storm will hit early next week, but with less accumulation than the first wave, according to meteorologists.
“Unfortunately, the second part of the storm is not looking as promising as past (forecasting models),” Weissbluth said.
He expects another 2 to 5 inches of snow by Tuesday. As Weissbluth explained, models show the second storm splitting to the north and south as it moves across Colorado, which is “stealing” some of the energy from the storm expected to hit Steamboat.
This latest round of storms follows a week of scattered showers, which allowed more terrain on Steamboat Resort to open. As of Friday, the ski area had received about 7 inches of snow over the previous two days, according to its midmountain measurements.
An avid skier, Weissbluth said the snow on Thursday allowed for some good turns.
“The snow is a little bit heavier. If you catch it while it’s falling, it skis great,” he said, cautioning that fog and clouds have limited visibility at times.
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