A robin warms up in the sun while sitting on a branch of a tree in the Steamboat II neighborhood Tuesday morning. Spring officially returned to the Yampa Valley on Tuesday.

Photo by John F. Russell

A robin warms up in the sun while sitting on a branch of a tree in the Steamboat II neighborhood Tuesday morning. Spring officially returned to the Yampa Valley on Tuesday.

Record highs forecast for Steamboat this weekend

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— The start of spring Tuesday ushered in sunshine and a warming trend that is forecast to break records this weekend in Steamboat Springs.

According to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, Friday’s high temperature is forecast to be 1 degree below the record high temperature of 63 degrees set in 1994.

Saturday’s high temperature is expected to be 65 degrees, which is 5 degrees warmer than the record set in 1986. On Sunday, forecasters are calling for a high temperature of 64 degrees, which is 3 degrees warmer than the record set in 1989.

The records are based on weather data that dates back to 1893. The historical average high temperature for March in Steamboat is 42 degrees.

“We’ve got another warm pattern setting up kind of like last week,” meteorologist Dennis Phillips said.

He said the warm weather has been the result of troughs off the West Coast that dug in and forced warm air to move into Colorado from the southwest.

The next chance for moisture will be after the trough breaks up and moves toward Colorado.

Phillips said the system is expected to move through Colorado from the southwest Monday evening but is not expected to bring significant moisture or significantly lower temperatures. The high temperatures Monday and Tuesday are expected to be in the 50s. As the storm moves out, drier weather again is expected to move into the region.

The dry weather still is taking its toll on the moisture totals in the mountains surrounding Steamboat.

According to the Tower measuring station on Buffalo Pass, the snow depth was 87 inches Tuesday. That snow contains the equivalent of 28.7 inches of water, which is 67.4 percent of average. Historically, the snow water equivalent at the Tower site on March 20 is an average of 42.6 inches.

At the Rabbit Ears Pass measuring station, a snow depth of 50 inches was measured Tuesday containing 14.6 inches of water. The average amount of water equivalent for March 20 is 25.1 inches, which puts the measuring station at 58.2 percent of average.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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