Wednesday could bring Steamboat’s best chance for snow next week
Water in snowpack remains lower than it was at this point last year
Multiple chances for snow this week could give the Yampa Valley’s snowpack a boost, as it currently sits behind where the snowpack was at this time last year.
As of Sunday, March 6, the White-Yampa River Basin’s snowpack was at about 85% of its 30-year snow-water equivalent median, according to the National Water and Climate Center.
The 14.7 inches recorded Sunday was about half an inch below where the snowpack was a year ago.
The snowpack peaks when melting overtakes the rate at which snow is falling, and that is a sign to water officials the runoff season has started. In 2012, the snowpack peaked in early March at about the same level where it is now, but the average peak over the last 30 years has been on April 8.
Snowfall in line for Steamboat should stave off spring a little longer, though, with varying chances of snow through the week.
The first wave is a continuation of storms that a dropped about 11 inches at mid mountain of Steamboat Ski Resort over the weekend. However, local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth said this rendition will be drier and colder than the first two, and it will only add a little bit more powder to Mount Werner before it quits on Monday morning, March 7.
“There’s not a lot of moisture with it, and it’s going to be cold,” said Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website Snowalarm.com. “I would only expect another 1-4 inches out of that.”
The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures below zero Monday night into Tuesday, March 8, and again early Thursday, March 10. In between that is when Dennis Phillips, a meteorologist for the weather service in Grand Junction, said Steamboat will have its best chance for snow.
“(The best chance is) Wednesday morning by sunrise, probably through at least sunrise Thursday, and then you got just the lighter stuff that lingers,” Phillips said. “The chances of greater than 6 inches are pretty high.”
Weissbluth said models had moderated on the storm slightly, but he still expects between 5-10 inches at mid mountain. By Thursday afternoon, Weissbluth said, he expects the valley to have clear skies, which will help drive overnight lows to about minus 12 degrees.
After another clear Friday, the weekend weather is more uncertain because storms need to pass over a high-pressure ridge over the West Coast.
“I think there will be periods of clouds and sun,” Weissbluth said. “Friday will probably be the sunniest, snow showers on Saturday and we may be able to sneak in some sun on Sunday.”
Phillips said they use two different models that stretch out to the weekend and each is showing opposite results right now.
“One is fairly wet and one is completely dry,” he said. “So, probably in between there.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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The long-awaited environmental assessment for the Mad Rabbit Trails project could be released as early as July after partner agencies complete a review of the project’s plan, according to the U.S. Forest Service.