Steamboat under storm warning until 6 p.m. Saturday
Ski area reports 8 inches of snow in 24 hours
February 25, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs residents woke this morning to a little more snow than forecast.
About 6 inches of dry, fluffy Champagne Powder had to be wiped from cars, and Steamboat Ski Area reported 8 inches for the 24-hour period.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction issued a winter storm warning for the area and expects 10 to 14 inches of snow to fall by Saturday evening.
Roads are slick, and in many places there is a layer of ice under the snowfall. Routt County law enforcement officials and emergency responders have been busy this morning with several reported car crashes.
Jim Daniels, a forecaster with the weather service, said sometimes a complicated system like this one develops differently than expected.
"Down in town there, the snow that occurred last night was more than what we initially expected," Daniels said this morning. "We had a report of 6 inches, and it was the result of a jet stream that has set up over the Wyoming/Colorado border Thursday evening."
In that jet stream are several embedded waves and minor disturbances. The wave that came through early this morning was stronger than expected, Daniels said.
Although temperatures remained seasonably mild in the high 20s and 30s, the snow was light and dry.
Daniels said that was because the snow had just the right conditions to form perfect "dendritic" snowflakes.
"This whole thing was really a combination of things: a favorable temperature and this embedded disturbance," he said.
The snow will likely taper off Saturday afternoon, when the focus of the system moves to Southwestern Colorado, Daniels said.
But before then, the weather service expects a foot or more to fall in the area, with favored areas from Steamboat north to Clark.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasts 7 to 10 inches to fall tonight and 4 to 8 Saturday, and Colorado Powder Forecasts calls for 2 to 4 inches tonight and 1 to 2 Saturday.
Skies are forecast to clear on Monday.
"I think the folks up there are quite happy with what's going on," Daniels said about the snow.