2012-13 Steamboat Ski Area snowfall
October: 14.50 inches
Steamboat Springs The 8 inches of fresh, buttery snow Steamboat Ski Area reported Sunday morning brought the grand total for the 2012-13 season to 338 inches, almost two feet more than the average of 317 inches since the ski area began measuring snowfall in 1979.
The season started off seemingly slow. A dry November left only 17 inches with temperatures slowing the snowmaking start. And in the last week of November, there was no snow in the forecast.
It all turned around when a snowy December yielded 105.25 inches.
January again started off dry and brutally cold, but a storm late in the month pushed the monthly total to 56.5 inches.
February saw an above-average 77 inches of snow, and March yielded 44.75, which is typical for that month. The ski area received 23 inches in April continuing right through Closing Day.
Even with the lifts closed down for the season, snow in Northwest Colorado continues.
Local weather observer Art Judson measured 5.8 inches of snow at his house between downtown and the ski area Monday morning. The total snowfall at Judson’s observation site is up to 190.5 inches for the winter, above the average of 179.6 inches.
The late-winter snowfall has nudged some snowpack measuring sites above average, with the Crosho site in Rio Blanco County at 131 percent, Lynx Pass at 112 percent, Columbine at 103, Bear River at 102 percent and Dry Lake at 95 percent. The Tower site on Buffalo Pass still lags behind at 75 percent of normal. Judson said that area has been missed by recent storms.
But more moisture is on the way.
According to local forecaster Mike Weissbluth, of www.snowalarm.com, a cold front will bring a wave of snow over Steamboat with “moderate to heavy snow” diminishing by late Wednesday.
“We will be susceptible to additional snow showers on Thursday and Friday in the continued moist and cool northwest flow before a more organized wave passes through on Saturday, noticeably increasing snowfall rates,” Weissbluth wrote in his Tuesday email forecast.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the mountains around Steamboat Springs calling for 8 to 14 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 40 mph.
Weissbluth said long-range models indicate average temperatures could return next week, but ongoing moisture is a continuing boost to the river ecosystems and drought conditions.
“An active spring pattern of warmer Pacific storms appears to persist in the long term, with one model tentatively predicting a significant storm around the following weekend,” he said.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com