Steamboat Springs A winter storm out of the southwest is shifting gears, and several more inches of snow are expected for Steamboat Springs and the surrounding mountains into Sunday morning.
The first wave of snow fell early Saturday accompanied by a cold front. Local weather observer Art Judson recorded 4 inches of snow in Steamboat and 0.49 inches of total precipitation.
A brief clearing midday didn’t last for long as winds shifted to provide Steamboat with the coveted northwest flow and a winter weather advisory until 6 a.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
“The low that supported the front is still to our west, that’s where the really cold air is,” said National Weather Service forecaster Tom Renwick early Saturday afternoon. “As that trough starts moving eastward, the flow becomes northwest. The model is showing … more prolonged showery activities for you guys through (Sunday). We’re looking for another … in town another couple inches. But up higher, another 6 to 8 inches.”
He said the outlook is “showery” because the next round of precipitation will be facilitated by orographic flow. When an air mass meets a mountain, it’s forced up where it’s cooled. If the conditions are right, that means snow for Steamboat.
“The only fly in the ointment is the amount of moisture available,” Renwick said about the current system. “But that orographic flow really favors you guys.”
This week, the Weather Services is forecasting lows as frigid as 4 degrees Sunday night and highs in the 30s and 40s. Lows throughout the week remain well below freezing and in the range — depending on localized conditions — for snowmaking at Steamboat Ski Area.
Off the coast of the Pacific Northwest is another system that Renwick said would peter out and not affect the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Renwick said “something” is possible for next Sunday into Monday, but it's too early to tell what kind of system could materialize.
In the city of Steamboat Springs, there were no reports of slide-offs or accidents related to the first round of snow Saturday. Routt County Communications scanner traffic Saturday indicated some reports of accidents in Routt County, but no more information was available.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com