Approaching storm means likely snow for Winter Carnival weekend in Steamboat


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The light snow that was falling across Steamboat Springs on Wednesday afternoon was really just a warning shot. The main event is forecast to hit Saturday.

“After this current weak wave passes (Wednesday), warm temperatures and mostly sunny skies should yield to showers starting Friday night as a large storm approaches,” Steamboat meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, of, wrote in an email.

Dennis Phillips, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Wednesday that the southerly flow early in the weekend will favor the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado more than the Park Range in Northwest Colorado.

Snow showers can be expected Friday, Weissbluth and the National Weather Service predicted, but by the time a cold front moves into the Steamboat area Saturday, conditions should be ripe for heavier snowfall.

Weissbluth wrote that Saturday should start with light snowfall that will increase in intensity as the storm gains strength and the northwest flow that favors this area takes over by Saturday night.

“This favorable flow should last through Sunday afternoon until a shortwave rounding a building Gulf of Alaska ridge digs another similar storm to our west,” he wrote.

Phillips also said the flow would become more northerly as the weekend progressed and that there’s another system in store for Colorado in the beginning of next week.

The second system looks to be more polar in nature than the storm making its way here now from the Gulf of Alaska, Phillips said.

“Showers should increase on Monday as this second system passes south of our area by late Monday or early Tuesday,” Weissbluth wrote.

Predicting snowfall totals for the weekend is problematic because of the evolving nature of the storms, he wrote. Better forecasts will be available as new models are run closer to the storm reaching Colorado.

Regardless of the inch count, the snowfall will coincide with a busy weekend of 100th Winter Carnival activities in downtown Steamboat Springs. Click here for a complete guide to this year's Winter Carnival.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email


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