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Weekend storm deemed ‘weak’

NWS: Winter weather likely to hit later this week

Doug Crowl

— Rain, sleet and snow fell in Routt County on Sunday, and up to 3 inches of the white stuff was forecast to have fallen in Steamboat Springs by today. However, the National Weather Service says the moisture is not the beginning of the first substantial winter storm in the High Country but that storm could be right around the corner.

Though the 1 to 3 inches of snow hinted at the end of a long, warm fall, the weather system is “nothing real spectacular” and won’t be sticking around, said Dan Cuevas, a technician at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

By late afternoon today, the forecast shows the clouds clearing, the sun shining and the temperature rising, Cuevas said.

“There is just not much punch with this weak storm, only a couple of inches (of snow),” he said.

But Cuevas and his colleagues are keeping an eye on a weather system that could bring some punch into the Yampa Valley.

“By the holiday weekend, we may see a better chance of precipitation,” he said.

The “weak” system and the holiday forecast for snow comes on the heels of the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.’s postponing the opening day of the ski season for the first time in 20 years, from Nov. 21 to Nov. 30. Some businesses depending on winter tourism reported Friday the lack of snow and postponed opening day is somewhat of an economic blow.

However, other local businesses in the county are taking advantage of the warm November.

“This gives us some more time to get our work done,” said rancher Jim Stanko, who owns a ranch with his wife, Jo, off County Road 33. “It also helps with feeding.”

Last year’s early snow, which covered grazing fields, forced the Stankos to begin feeding their livestock earlier than normal, on Nov. 4.

“That cost us some money,” Jim Stanko said.

Every year the Stankos plan for 190 days’ worth of hay to feed their animals. Stanko said the later they start feeding, the less chance there is of running out of hay at the end of the year. He added the late-coming winter is not an odd thing. In the mid-’80s he remembers the valley not getting snow until after Thanksgiving. Then it snowed for 40 straight days.

Tony Connell, of Connell Resources Inc., a paving and excavating company, said he also reaped some benefits from the long-running fall.

“It definitely helped us out,” he said. “We were able to complete a lot of projects that we didn’t think we would get done in the fall.”

He added the dry weather in August and September also helped out with the road construction on Colorado 131.

Construction worker David Irby said he feels like he is benefiting from the warm fall, too.

“I would rather be working in 60-degree days with no mud at the site in November than 30 degrees with snow on the ground,” he said. “Every day it doesn’t snow in November is one less day of working in the winter.”

On the other hand, Irby added he is looking forward to the ski season beginning.


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