Nick Bencke/U.S. Forest Service
At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the snow measuring stakes at the Tower site on Buffalo Pass were at 22 and 19 inches.
Updated December 6, 2012 at 5:39 p.m.
Steamboat Springs The burst of rain mixed with snow that brought an inch of fresh snow to Steamboat Ski Area on Thursday is gone, but there is a bigger snow producer on the way. A Steamboat-based meteorologist sees signs that the mixed precipitation signals the beginning of a more typical weather pattern for this time of year in Northwest Colorado.
“The really cold weather looks like it will come Saturday afternoon, and we have a lot more (precipitation) behind it,” Mike Weissbluth said. “This is the wet, cold northwest flow, which is our ideal scenario. I expect (snow) conditions to rapidly improve.”
Meteorologist Joel Gratz, of www.opensnow.com, filed a post Thursday afternoon that agreed with Weissbluth’s prognostication.
“The weather pattern is shifting, and the first storm to follow this new direction will move through Idaho, Wyoming and Montana on Friday and then take aim on Colorado from Saturday into Sunday,” Gratz wrote. “These same areas will see snowy weather persist into next week, and I see some hints in the models that powder could be plentiful for much of the U.S. through at least the third week of December.”
The National Weather Service reported that the next two bouts of snow would favor the northern Colorado mountains rather than the south.
The forecast discussion posted by the Weather Service in Grand Junction predicted the shift in the polar jet stream will drive a cold front into Northern Colorado on Saturday bringing measurable snow by afternoon, and by Sunday morning, the colder air will take over in the valley bottoms.
“Tentative snow accumulations for the northern and central Colorado mountains look to be on the order of 4 to 8 inches with locally higher amounts,” the Weather Service predicted. “Combined with some blowing snow, there is a possibility for winter weather advisories this weekend."
Gratz wrote that snow showers will persist into Sunday morning but that most of the actual accumulation will be over by Monday.
“Another weak storm or two will move in from the northwest on Monday, Monday night and Tuesday, and areas from Aspen north to I-70 to the Wyoming border should see at least another few inches of snow,” Gratz predicted. “We want consistent cold weather with consistent snow. Big storms are great, but consistency wins.”
Weissbluth earned a doctoral degree in atmospheric science from Colorado State University in the 1990s and did numerical analysis for a private company for a decade after that. Today, he maintains the website www.snowalarm.com.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com