Meteorologist predicts 19 to 33 inches of snow in Steamboat by Monday
Joel Gratz runs forecasting website out of Boulder
January 13, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Meteorologist Joel Gratz has been predicting snowfall at Colorado ski resorts on his website, and he has good news for Steamboat Springs.
The meteorologist, recently touted as "powder's new guru" in The Denver Post, is predicting that Steamboat will be hit hardest by two storms headed toward Colorado. Gratz, who runs http://www.coloradopowderforecast.com, is predicting that 19 to 33 inches of snow will fall by Monday night at Steamboat Ski Area.
Steamboat should see some snow tonight and Saturday, but the "big show" will start Sunday morning with a "classic moist flow from the northwest, which just keeps hammering away for 48 hours or more," Gratz said by phone Thursday morning.
He does not expect heavy snow throughout the 48-hour period, but the result should leave Steamboat with the best snow in the state early next week, he said.
"Nothing is better than consistent snow for 48 hours," Gratz said. "This is free refills for a couple days."
Gratz, like any powderhound, is hoping the computer models prove to be true.
"I might be in your neck of the woods Monday or Tuesday," said Gratz, who lives in Boulder.
Gratz recently was featured in the Post for his website, which provides targeted forecasts for Colorado ski resorts. In addition to forecasts, the website is updated with the latest powder photos and videos from across the state.
Gratz, 29, received his degree in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University and started e-mailing informal forecasts to friends in 2008. The hobby morphed into a full-time job by the beginning of 2010.
Unique to his site is the "Keep Me Honest" feature that follows up on the accuracy of Gratz's forecasts. He also tells you how well he did compared with other forecasters, including the National Weather Service and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
"He definitely knows when he's right and when he's wrong, and that definitely lends some credibility to it," said Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokesman Mike Lane, who said he recently started visiting the site. "It's nice to have a variety of sources."
Gratz's site is developing a following. He told the Post that in December he recorded 225,000 pageviews, and media coverage is drawing more visitors and advertisers.
"It's awesome," Gratz said. "I think I hit the highest pageviews on my site yesterday."
Lane said he would continue to monitor Gratz's site and was curious how the forecast would play out this weekend.
"Anyone that spreads the word of powder, it's a good thing," Lane said.
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