Steamboat Springs Golfers, bikers, runners and climbers needn't worry.
The mixed bag of weather that passed through Routt County on Wednesday and Thursday will quickly yield to higher temperatures and sunny skies, according to the National Weather Service.
An unstable weather system passed through the region during the day Thursday, bringing with it a mix of rain, sleet, hail, snow -- and even some sun.
Snow in May is hardly out of the ordinary for Northwest Colorado and the Rocky Mountains, but the thunder and lightning that accompanied it is a fairly unusual weather phenomenon.
Thundersnow is a rare weather occurrence in which the instability characteristic of a summer thunderstorm pairs with the lower temperatures more reminiscent of a winter blizzard.
Meteorologist Jeff Colton said the thundersnow that blew through Steamboat on Thursday was created by the combination of three conditions: moisture, instability and a lifting mechanism that ushered very cold air down to surface levels. The instability of the system was great enough to create thunder and lightning, and the air at the upper and lower levels of the troposphere was cold enough to produce snow, Colton said.
The science behind thundersnow is relatively new to meteorologists. Scientists from the University of Missouri, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Center for Atmospheric Research have teamed for a five-year study to learn where and why thundersnow develops. Colorado is one of several states thought to have the highest occurrence of thundersnow.
Lightning, thunder and the white stuff will soon be just a memory in Routt County, however. Colton said typical temperatures will return to the Yampa Valley today and into this weekend.
A weak storm system could bring rain showers to the area tonight and early Saturday, followed by temperatures that reach into the 70s on Saturday.