Snow predicted for high elevations

Weekend storm may drop rain before next week warms up

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— Snow is expected to dust Mount Werner for the second consecutive weekend, though the rest of the Yampa Valley will be relegated to rain as a storm front begins moving through the area today.

The weekend storm is forecast to bring cold temperatures and rain and snow showers persisting through Sunday, with snow expected above 9,500 feet Saturday, National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Lawrence said.

"It's not going to be a big snowmaker - we're not expecting much accumulation," Lawrence said.

Overnight lows are expected to fall below freezing in Steamboat on Saturday night and dip even further into the low 20s on Sunday. However, the moisture is expected to pass the Yampa Valley to the east before the temperatures fall far enough to drop snow in town, Lawrence said.

Sunny skies are forecast after the storm system moves through the area Sunday, and high temperatures will hover in the low 60s and high 50s next week, according to the National Weather Service.

Snowmaking crews at the Steamboat Ski Area will begin their orientation Oct. 22, and crews will be able to make snow the next day if need be, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokesman Mike Lane said.

Snowmaking crews will be on-call 24/7 beginning Oct. 27, and they will begin making snow as soon as weather conditions permit it, Lane said.

The ideal weather for artificial snowmaking begins at 19 degrees with low humidity, but production can be done at as high as 22 degrees, Lane said.

"If persistent cold temperatures would be predicted, the snowmaking crews will have at it," he said.

The Steamboat Ski Area is scheduled to open Nov. 27, with Scholarship Day on Nov. 26 benefiting Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Last year, Ski Corp. delayed the ski area's scheduled Nov. 21 opening by nine days to allow more time for snowmaking, given the fall's dry, warm conditions. But by closing day in April, the ski area clocked its snowiest winter on record, with 489 inches falling at mid-mountain.

Howelsen Hill Ski Area is scheduled to open Dec. 6.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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