Steamboat Springs When the snow falling Friday begins to taper off, Steamboat Springs can look ahead to a week of mostly clear skies and moderate temperatures.
The last wave from a series of storms this past week, which left more than 2 feet in town and nearly 3.5 feet on the mountain, moves through the area Friday.
Steamboat-based meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, of www.snowalarm.com, wrote in an email Friday morning that the last waves of departing systems have tended to be stronger than forecast and predicted from 3 to 7 inches of new snow during the day Friday.
But going into the weekend and the next week, Steamboat looks to be sunny with temperatures in line with seasonal averages.
Despite the lack of cloud cover forecast, it’s unlikely the Yampa Valley will experience strong inversion layers like those that caused frigid conditions in early January.
The average temperature for January was 11.6 degrees, bumped from the single digits by the past week of warmer temperatures.
“I think you’ll get some weak ones, but nothing like those strong ones that locked in for a week at a time,” said Jim Daniels, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “There’s really not any big cold mass of air, which helped strengthen inversions last time.”
The forecast high temperatures for the weekend and beginning of next week hover around 34 degrees while the lows are between 6 and 10 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
“ A spectacular sunny and warm weekend ensues, with weak waves passing to our north and south mid-week,” Weissbluth wrote. “Our next chance of significant snow looks to occur around next weekend as energy in the Pacific crashes through the ridge.”
And while it’s hard to complain about nearly 3.5 feet of snow in three days at Steamboat Ski Area, Weissbluth explained a couple of factors that affected snow quality Thursday morning: wind and temperature.
“Basically, mountain-top flow was from the west rather than northwest, likely due to the strong circulations associated with a jet streak moving over us after midnight Wednesday,” he wrote. “While the mountain is relatively sheltered from northwest flow, it is very susceptible to westerly winds.
“In addition, temperatures warmed a bit more than I expected, creating denser snow.”
Weissbluth wrote that this combination created slabs that made for tricky skiing, especially on the upper mountain.
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com