Storm brings mixed bag

Mild temperatures will affect system's snow totals

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— A strong storm system moving through the region has the potential to leave half a foot of snow or more across Steamboat Springs by Sunday morning.

But daytime temperatures forecast to hover at or above freezing today and Sunday could mean the difference between significant accumulation and just a few inches of heavy, wet snow.

Ken Ludington, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said snow accumulations are difficult to forecast for this storm because of the borderline temperatures and warm moisture associated with the system. The system originated from the Pacific Ocean and made first landfall near Baja, Calif.

Its southwest flow means the southern part of Colorado, including the San Juan mountain range, has the potential to be hit by as much as 3 feet of snow and blizzard conditions. The potential for significant snowfall is diminished in Northwest Colorado.

The rain/snow line is expected to hover at about 8,000 feet, Ludington said, although that could drop as the system makes its way across the state and a cold front from the northwest settles into place.

The precipitation began as rain in Steamboat Springs on Friday afternoon but was expected to switch to snow overnight. The city of Steamboat is at 6,700 feet. Steamboat Ski Area's base is at 6,900 feet, and Thunderhead is at 9,080 feet.

Today's high temperature is forecast at 35 degrees, and the thermometer is expect to drop to a low of 14 degrees tonight. Sunday's high could reach 33 degrees, and there is a 20 percent chance of snow during the early part of the day.

The next chance for snow comes Wednesday.

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