Crocuses, a sure sign of the spring, could be found blooming outside a home Tuesday afternoon on Pine Street in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Photo by John F. Russell

Crocuses, a sure sign of the spring, could be found blooming outside a home Tuesday afternoon on Pine Street in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Rain, snow mix in Steamboat could resemble thunder showers

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— Steamboat Springs residents who drove to work under gray skies Tuesday morning and thought they were seeing a little green grass poking out of south-facing road embankments weren’t imagining things.

Those who chose to look more closely might have spied the first flowering bulbs of the new season. With 12 days remaining in the 2012-13 ski season, crocuses already are blooming in some gardens in downtown Steamboat Springs.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction was calling for a high of 52 degrees Tuesday with a 50 percent chance of scattered showers. The chance of rain mixed with snow was to continue overnight before the weather clears Wednesday, with highs in the afternoon potentially reaching 56 degrees. The weather will get warmer from there with a forecast high of 60 degrees Thursday and 62 degrees Friday.

Should the temperature reach 62 by the end of the week, it would not threaten the all-time record. Records kept by the National Weather Service in Grand Junction show the record high temperature for April 5 is 67 degrees. And 70s are not unheard of in early April. A sampling of other record daily highs for the month include: 71 degrees April 9, 73 degrees April 10 and 76 degrees April 11.

Local weather observer Art Judson confirmed that Steamboat Springs received 0.16 inches of rain late afternoon Monday into the evening, and it was no April Fools' joke. However, the weather forecast for the remainder of the week might test the sense of humor of hard-core skiers.

The rain that fell Monday in Steamboat translated into an inch of new snow at midmountain at Steamboat Ski Area, but Judson said the valley floor has been losing 2 inches of snow per day, and the undisturbed snow at his measuring stake stood at 11 inches Tuesday morning after the rain.

Meteorologist Joel Gratz, of www.opensnow.com, said the energy of storm impulses moving through the valley this week will be low, but they could behave more like summer thunderstorms as their energy builds with the heating of the day.

Any shower that rolls through the valley Tuesday could add 1 to 2 inches of heavy snow above 8,000 to 9,000 feet, Gratz said.

The next chance for precipitation arrives Friday night with a slight chance for rain mixed with snow.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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