Thursday, September 21, 2000
Steamboat Springs It may be time to take your favorite sweater out of the closet and unpack a warm jacket because meteorologists are predicting the first fall snowstorm to hit northwest Colorado this weekend.
National Weather Service weather specialist Doug Baugh said a storm system that started in the Pacific Northwest is on its way to Steamboat Springs.
"We're on the edge of it right now," he said. "And it's pretty drastically changing the weather."
That explains temperatures that dipped into the low 50s on Thursday.
By tonight, Baugh predicted snowfall in the mountains and he said it should be enough to stick.
"It is a pretty rigorous-looking system," Baugh said as he looked at a satellite picture of the storm.
He expects cooler temperatures and scattered snow showers through Monday.
"It looks like we're going to get nailed," said Jonathan Wheby, of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
He was looking at a similar satellite picture, which showed the jet stream pulling the storm right into Steamboat.
But Wheby promised that the events over the weekend, including the Brewfest at Gondola Square and the Fall Foliage Festival, will be held snow or shine.
"That's the deal with fall in Steamboat," he said. "Maybe a little snow will be nice."
Snow is always nice for officials at the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.
"It is nice. It certainly gets people thinking about the ski season," said Kent Kirkpatrick, public relations coordinator for ski corp.
For the last weekend of archery season, snow is good for the hunters, but the forest may be empty.
"There's no doubt it's better for the hunting," Colorado Division of Wildlife area manager Jim Haskins said.
However, even if the snow falls, he doesn't expect to see more hunters in the field.
"By the last weekend of archery season, it's hard to find a hunter," Haskins said.
He explained that most people want to hunt early in the year, before the elk are spooked. Also, the snow can be a deterrent to bring people out to hunt, even when it makes for quiet conditions and easy tracking.
"They all want snow, but when it comes, it kind of scares them off," Haskins said.
If predictions hold true, snow this weekend in Steamboat would be a few days earlier than the first day the white stuff fell last year, which was on Sept. 28. A couple inches fell that day.
In 1998, Oct. 4 was the first snow of the season. Those flurries produced 10 inches in two days, according to the Western Regional Mountain Center.
Nothing like that is expected this weekend, Baugh said. Higher elevations might see several inches, but he's expecting small showers periodically through the weekend for most of northwest Colorado.
"By Sunday, most of the mountains will have snow," Baugh said.
To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail email@example.com