Snow thaws on colorful aspen leaves near Fish Creek Falls on Sunday.

Photo by Scott Franz

Snow thaws on colorful aspen leaves near Fish Creek Falls on Sunday.

Clear skies ahead, but October moisture already exceeds monthly norm in Steamboat

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— Carpenters, roofers and excavators should all catch a break from the weather the rest of this week with sub-freezing nights to harden gooey work sites, and bright sun and mild afternoon highs to permit a late October push on construction sites.

The National Weather Service is predicting mostly clear skies and highs in the mid-50s through Sunday. Overnight lows will reach the 20s and possibly wipe out the lingering fall color apparently supported by all of the moisture that has fallen this month.

Steamboat Springs weather observer Art Judson reported Monday morning that the city had seen .12 inches of precipitation overnight, bringing the month-to-date total to 2.8 inches. Normal October precipitation for the entire month is 2.17 inches. This month’s moisture has fallen on top of September precipitation of 4.44 inches that more than doubled the normal amount for the ninth month of the year of 2.19 inches.

All of the moisture has produced unusually healthy flows in the Yampa River, which is benefiting from a combination of rain and melting snow. Measurements taken by the U.S. Geological Survey at the Fifth Street Bridge over the Yampa in downtown Steamboat show that the flows have nearly doubled the norm since Oct. 1. The river was flowing at 264 cubic feet per second late Monday afternoon, placing the flows above the 90th percentile for the date. The median flow for Oct. 21 is 124 cfs.

The flows in the town stretch of the river have been above 200 cfs since Oct. 4, according to the USGS.

The weather pattern could begin to change again by early next week, according to Joel Gratz of Open Snow.

“There's a chance that the cool air and storminess (spending this week in the upper Midwest and New England) may push just a bit further west and bring snow to the Rockies and especially the eastern foothills and plains of Wyoming and Colorado,” Gratz wrote.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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