Winter returns Monday night as fast-moving storm drops temperatures, snow
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — On Monday, forecasters were calling for a little taste of winter to return to the mountains surrounding Steamboat Springs Monday night and Tuesday morning, thanks to the same line of storms that brought wind, hail and cooler temperatures to eastern Utah and western Colorado last weekend.
“We’re looking at like 2 to 4 inches there in the Park Range of Rabbit Ears Pass and that area as you head east of Steamboat Springs. We are showing Steamboat to maybe see some light snow, maybe upwards of a few 10ths of an inch, but not significant accumulations,” said meteorologist Matthew Aleksa, who works with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “It’s all just response from this trough, which has been ejecting these disturbances out ahead of it,”
Meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who publishes his forecasts on snowalarm.com, said he has been watching the storm develop the past few days, and while he agrees with the Weather Service about the drop in temperatures and accumulation of snow at the higher elevations, he also thinks the downtown could see more than an inch of snow.
“Temperatures are going to be in the 50s today, which really is quite a drop from the 85 we had on Friday,” Weissbluth said Monday. “We have another sharp cold front tonight that is going to drop temperatures abruptly mid-evening, probably with lots of wind again with the front and cold air behind it.”
He said it looks like the storm is trending a little stronger, and after what happened at the end of June last year when the Steamboat area saw heavy snow on June 21, he thinks this storm could also pack a punch. He is predicting several inches of accumulation in town with 4 to 8 inches on the higher peaks.
This storm system has actually been sitting over the Great Basin for the last few days and resulted in a string of storms that began Friday and brought heavy rain, high winds and golf ball-sized hail to southeastern Utah and high winds to western Colorado. The Steamboat area has seen some of the wind and rain but has avoided the brunt of the storm.
“In Steamboat, you guys were really on the fringe of the strongest winds,” Aleska said.
The Weather Service reported anywhere from a 10th of an inch to 3/10ths of an inch of rain in the Steamboat area. In Dinosaur, the storm brought 1.3 inches of rain and the Western Grand Valley saw 1.28 inches. In Moffat County, the roof of a building was blown off by high winds.
Both Aleska and Weissbluth said residents should be prepared for winter conditions with this storm and be careful when traveling at higher elevations. They also suggested covering outside plants and bringing flowers inside during the cold.
“Plants definitely have to be protected,” Weissbluth said. “Tuesday and Wednesday for sure and possibly Thursday.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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