Week starts off mild before Wednesday snow that could linger into weekend | SteamboatToday.com

Week starts off mild before Wednesday snow that could linger into weekend

Mt. Werner seen in the distance over the Yampa River in Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area against the backdrop of Sunday’s bright blue skies without a cloud in sight. (Photo by Dylan Anderson)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Sunday’s above average temperatures and sunny skies are going to continue into the early days of the week before a storm rolls in Wednesday.

Monday will likely have the same cloudless sky as Sunday, while on Tuesday clouds will start to set in ahead of a snowstorm currently spinning in the Gulf of Alaska. This storm will also cool down temperatures, but Monday and Tuesday are expected to be above average.

“Kind of mild compared to where we have been,” said Michael Charnick, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “Might even get up into the low 40s in town here.”

Wednesday morning is when it should start snowing, Charnick said. He added that most of the accumulation in the mountains will likely happen that afternoon and early evening — probably about 5 to 7 inches.

In town accumulation is more uncertain because of how warm it could get Tuesday. If it doesn’t cool down enough, most or all of the snow falling in town will likely melt. Charnick said probably one to two inches at most.

Charnick said snow would linger through the day Thursday — “Light to moderate, nothing really heavy accumulation wise” — likely bringing the mountains another 3 to 5 inches.

In all, the surrounding mountains will likely see 8 to 12 inches, maybe more at some of the higher elevations, and Steamboat Springs proper will see around 4 to 5 inches, Charnick said.

Mike Weissbluth, a local meteorologist who runs the forecasting website, SnowAlarm.com, said the Wednesday storm cycle is shaping up to be the major storm that he had forecasted late last week.

The storm will likely split early in the week along the West Coast, which is normally a poor sign for getting snow locally, but the split could actually result in more moisture being diverted around the Sierra Nevada mountains toward Steamboat.

Like previous storms this season, the front will likely bring strong winds from the west when it moves through. Weissbluth said there will likely be 6 to 12 inches of snowfall for the whole storm, but the storm has been changing a lot on models.

“Yesterday morning, it didn’t look as good, and it looks better this morning. Three days ago, it also didn’t look good.” Weissbluth said about how the storm was shaping up on forecast models. “There is a lot of variability going on here.”

There are a lot of things that can lead the models to change overnight, Weissbluth said. A new observation could now be incorporated into the model or a previous observation may change. There is also relatively sparse data in the Pacific Ocean, where this storm currently is, making models dependent on data from few stations with a limited observational network.

As for next weekend, Charnick said it looks like there will be enough moisture coming in from the northwest after the storm that it will likely have continuous light snow showers Friday and Saturday.

“You will have some light accumulations throughout the weekend. It doesn’t really look like a big storm coming in by any means,” Charnick said. “Sort of just continuous light snow and snow showers from Friday all the way through Saturday.”

It is still early to have any firm numbers, but right now, it looks like the mountains should get about 4 to 6 inches by the time the snow stops Saturday.

For Weissbluth, there is still too much uncertainty in the mid-week storm to have a good prediction for next weekend.

“It could go either way at this point,” he said. “I’m hopeful now that kind of the dam has broken, that we’re going to have our first cold outbreak. Hopefully, that continues but there is no guarantee.”

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