Photo by John F. Russell
Water from melting snow rolls down the shale alongside U.S. Highway 40 on Friday evening near the intersection with Routt County Road 42 just outside Steamboat Springs. Warm temperatures have melted much of the snow from lower areas near Steamboat, filling drainage ditches and small streams to the point where they are flowing onto the roadway.
Steamboat Springs Temperatures are expected to come within a few degrees Saturday of the record high of 66 degrees set in 1994 in Steamboat Springs.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction is forecasting the high temperature will be 62 degrees in Steamboat Springs a day before winter weather returns to the region.
A cold front and accompanying moisture are expected to move through Steamboat on Sunday afternoon.
At lower elevations, moisture is expected to fall in the form of rain before changing to snow Sunday evening, said meteorologist Jim Pringle. Higher elevations might avoid the rain and just get snow.
The storm is not expected to move out of the area until Tuesday morning.
Pringle said computer models forecast 2 to 6 inches of snow in town during the storm. The surrounding mountains could see 3 to 8 inches of snow.
The moisture is coming from the south and southwest, which typically does not favor the Steamboat area in terms of snowfall.
Strong winds with gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour are expected to accompany the storm.
“I’d recommend to people that things that could blow around are tied down in the next couple days,” Pringle said.
The coming storm will provide a break in the abnormally dry and warm conditions the area has been experiencing. The break could be short-lived as high pressure is expected to settle over the region after the storm. The warming trend will start again Tuesday. By Friday, temperatures could return to 15 to 20 degrees above what is typical this time of year, Pringle said.
“We may have six, seven days between storm systems,” he said.
Parts of Northwest Colorado experienced record or near-record high temperatures Thursday. Craig tied its record of 64 degrees set in 1994. Jensen, Utah, near the Colorado border, saw a high of 71 degrees, breaking the record of 70 degrees set in 1999.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com