Washington’s birthday present: Up to 30 inches of snow expected in Steamboat over holiday weekend | SteamboatToday.com

Washington’s birthday present: Up to 30 inches of snow expected in Steamboat over holiday weekend

Residents in Steamboat Springs were greeted by blue skies Friday, but the weather is expected to change this weekend with forecasters calling for up to 30 inches of snow at the higher elevations through Monday.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Washington’s Birthday is bringing a fluffy present to Steamboat Springs in the form of up to 30 inches of snow in the higher elevations by the end of the holiday weekend, according to meteorologists.

Local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website snowalarm.com, predicts 1 to 2 feet of snow feet of snow at midmountain at Steamboat Resort by Monday night. That could cause some travel concerns but should make for an excellent day of skiing on Presidents Day, Feb. 17, Weissbluth said.

On Friday morning, the National Weather Service in Grand Junction issued a hazardous weather outlook for the Steamboat area over the next five days. Meteorologists there are calling for anywhere from 7 to 30 inches of snow for the surrounding mountains.  

A moist storm system from the Pacific Ocean is creating what meteorologists refer to as an “atmospheric river,” according to Weissbluth, which carries large amounts of moisture. It is the same type of system that dumped 32 inches of snow on the ski area last week.

“It’s a pretty good-looking surge of moisture,” he said of the upcoming storm. 

Following a sunny Friday, light snow showers are expected to begin Friday night into Saturday morning. The higher elevations could see 1 to 2 inches of fresh snow by Saturday night, according to Weissbluth. 

The storm should intensify throughout the day Sunday, with warmer daytime temperatures making the snow denser than the Champagne Powder coveted by locals. Temperatures Sunday are expected to reach a high of 37 degrees, according to the Weather Service, dipping to a low of 18 degrees at night.

Westerly winds also may cause visibility issues for drivers Sunday, according to Weissbluth, making travel difficult or impossible. He predicts sustained winds of 25 mph during the day, with gusts of 40 to 50 mph possible.

Because much of the ski area faces west, Weissbluth cautioned some ski runs could get wind-blasted. He predicted “storm skiing” conditions throughout the day.

That should change by Sunday night, Weissbluth said, with cooler temperatures and calmer winds leading to a powder spree for Presidents Day on Monday. Workers who do not have the holiday off may want to see about taking advantage of a powder clause, the policy of some businesses to allow employees to eschew their duties for all or part of an especially good snow day.  

Monday should bring cooler temperatures, with a daytime high of 27 degrees and a nighttime low of 4 degrees, according to the Weather Service. 

While meteorologists predict additional snow showers Monday, travel should be easier, according to Weissbluth. Scattered showers should continue Tuesday, Feb. 18, before the sun returns Wednesday, Feb. 19.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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