A fresh layer of snow accumulated Friday on the dirty snow piles surrounding the "Steamboat Legacy" bronze statue by local artist Sandy Graves on the Routt County Courthouse lawn. As much as 5 inches of new snow are forecast for Mount Werner today.

Photo by Matt Stensland

A fresh layer of snow accumulated Friday on the dirty snow piles surrounding the "Steamboat Legacy" bronze statue by local artist Sandy Graves on the Routt County Courthouse lawn. As much as 5 inches of new snow are forecast for Mount Werner today.

More sloppy weather ahead

Heavy snow expected at high elevations, but only slush in town

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Keep up with the conditions

- For local weather conditions and recent coverage of Steamboat Springs weather, visit SteamboatToday.com/weather

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- For weather information from the National Weather Service, including storm warnings and advisories, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/

- The Colorado Department of Transportation provides road conditions, closures and traffic cameras at www.cotrip.org. For travel information by phone, call 511 from anywhere in Colorado or dial 303-639-1111.

- Find information about avalanche danger and conditions at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website: www.avalanche.state.co.us.

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— Daytime temperatures in the mid-30s will persist through the weekend, causing a storm system passing through the region to continue dropping rain mixed with wet snow on Steamboat Springs through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

"The snow level is just a little above Steamboat Springs, about 7,500 to 8,000 feet," forecaster Bryon Lawrence said. "You'll see accumulation overnight; it's just so warm, it'll be kind of messy."

Just more than three-quarters of an inch of rain was measured overnight Thursday, and daytime rain Friday was expected to progress to wet, heavy snow today as temperatures were forecast to dip below freezing overnight, Lawrence said.

However, a winter storm warning for heavy snow is in effect through 11 a.m. Sunday for higher elevations, including Columbine and Toponas. The high peaks of the Steamboat Ski Area, and Gore and Rabbit Ears passes, are expected to get 10 to 18 inches of snow as the storm system runs its course, Lawrence said.

On Friday, the ski area's Web site reported total snowfall for this season has reached 202 inches.

"It's not out of the question that the higher elevations could receive several feet," Lawrence said. "Don't be lulled into complacency because it's raining in Steamboat Springs. (Rabbit Ears) Pass is going to be really bad."

The dense snow that began falling in the mountains and the Flat Tops on Thursday night caused avalanche danger to be nearing considerable Friday on north, northeast, east and southeast aspects near and above the treeline, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Avalanche danger remains moderate elsewhere.

The six inches of new snow in the region's higher elevations will be sensitive, and weak layers in the older snowpack are at risk of being triggered as well, according to the CAIC Web site.

"Considerable avalanche danger" is defined as a state in which natural avalanches are possible, and human-triggered avalanches are probable.

A recent avalanche on Sand Mountain was reported to the CAIC earlier this week, caused by an unknown trigger. The slide, reported to be 300 feet wide and as much as 5 feet deep, occurred on a northeast aspect near the treeline, and there were ski tracks in the area of the slide.

Icy roads

Icy road conditions resulted in some fender-benders in town, but there were no serious accidents, Steamboat Springs Police Sgt. Rich Brown said. However, a stuck semitrailer clogged traffic near the base of the Steamboat Ski Area for nearly two hours Friday morning.

The driver was passing through town on U.S. Highway 40 and trying to find somewhere to park his truck and wait out the weather, when he ended up on Mount Werner Circle and got stuck in the roundabout at AprÃs Ski Way, Brown said.

"The rear trailer wheels had to run up on the inside of the median in the roundabout and ended up in the snow. It almost flipped the trailer on its side before the driver stopped," Brown said.

It took quite awhile to cautiously tow out the large truck while keeping it upright, Brown said. As soon as all wheels were safely back on the roadway, the semitrailer's power steering went out, causing an additional delay, he said.

The Colorado State Patrol could not be reached for comment Friday.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203 or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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