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Steamboat Springs Get ready, Steamboat. Meteorologists say the cycle of snowstorms that began in earnest in Steamboat Springs on Monday morning could deliver, on the low side, 22 inches of fresh powder to the Steamboat Ski Area before the week is out. On the high side, the total could exceed 36 inches.
As of 12:45 p.m. Monday, the ski area had received 5 inches of new snow, and the snow continued to fall throughout the day.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction was predicting the Elkhead and Park mountain ranges that wrap around Steamboat from the north to southeast could receive between 17 and 33 inches of new snow by the end of daylight Wednesday. And Steamboat-based meteorologist Michael Weissbluth of www.snowalarm.com said there is a potential for Mount Werner to receive 22 to 44 inches of snow through Thursday with a significant chance for even more on Friday.
“We have a very strong storm track approaching from the west,” Weissbluth said. “This is going to be excellent light champagne powder skiing.”
It was snowing heavily in Steamboat Springs as daylight came up Monday, and with temperatures holding steady at 30 degrees, the fat flakes were on the wet side. U.S. Highway 40 was slick during the morning commute, but the nature of the snow had changed by Monday night, when the overnight low was expected to dip to 4 degrees. Tuesday's high will reach only 21 degrees.
The zone forecast issued by the National Weather Service for the Park Range anticipated accumulations of 4 to 7 inches of snow Monday night with the wind gusting as high as 25 miles per hour. That forecast calls for between 6 and 12 inches of snow during the day Tuesday and 1 to 3 inches Tuesday night.
Weissbluth expects 4 to 8 inches to accumulate on the ski mountain Wednesday and another 6 to 12 inches to nail the ski slopes during the day Thursday. And that may not be the end of it, he said.
A winter weather advisory is in effect for Steamboat Springs and the surrounding areas until 5 a.m. Tuesday. A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday for higher elevations, including Mount Werner. The National Weather Service's hazardous weather outlook states "a prolonged period of snow is expected over the mountains surrounding Steamboat Springs through Thursday afternoon."
Although the avalanche danger was rated moderate in the Steamboat Zone on Monday, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche watch for all of Western Colorado in anticipation of drifting snow expected to take place overnight Monday into Tuesday.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com