Winter storm packs a wallop in Steamboat area | SteamboatToday.com

Winter storm packs a wallop in Steamboat area

From left, Mae Thorp, Alexa Paola and Sydney Graham, of Steamboat Springs, gather at the base area of Steamboat Ski Area on Dec. 25.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Plow drivers were hopefully able to find a little bit of time to unwrap some Christmas presents Monday.

The snow totals from the storm were impressive with a weather station on Buffalo Pass measuring 20 inches of snow.

The snowfall was also impressive in North Routt County where 16 inches of snow was measured near Clark.

Steamboat Springs did not get left out with a measurement of 14 inches three miles northwest of the city.

Two miles west of Hayden, two inches of snow fell.

The Steamboat Ski Area reported seven inches by 5 a.m. at mid-mountain. By 12:30 p.m., an additional four inches fell.

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In a 48-hour period, the ski area received 25 inches of new snow.

Colorado State Patrol sergeant Scott Elliott said Monday afternoon he had not heard of any serious crashes.

"CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) did a great job keeping the roads clear," Elliott said.

The recent weather has led to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to categorize the avalanche danger in the local backcountry as considerable.

"Recent snow and strong westerly winds have built slabs on top of an extremely weak snowpack," the Avalanche Information Center wrote Monday.

"Dangerous avalanche conditions exist across the Steamboat and Flat Tops zone today."

The Avalanche Information Center was advising backcountry adventurers to stick to terrain with slope angles of less than 30 degrees.

"If you trigger an avalanche today, it may be large enough to kill you," they wrote.

Snow was expected to taper off Tuesday, according to Steamboat meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs snowalarm.com.

"Along with seasonable temperatures, there is a chance for some light snow from about Wednesday afternoon through Thursday afternoon and again Friday ahead of another possible weekend storm," Weissbluth wrote. "However, numerical forecast models are struggling with the timing and strength of the storms in the relatively fast jet stream."

He said there is a possibility for another strong storm moving through the area New Years Day.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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