Snow persists despite warmer weather

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— The temperature in Steamboat Springs is expected to reach 50 degrees Thursday, but winter is far from over.

Local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth was calling for between 4 and 8 inches of snow to fall by Wednesday morning at Steamboat Ski Area before the skies clear and warmer weather moves in. He expected snow to return by Thursday night.

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“However, current model forecasts have this wave splitting as it moves over our area, and model trends indicate the bulk of the storm may pass west and then south of us,” Weissbluth wrote in an email. “Nonetheless, precipitation will begin early Friday and last through Saturday, but due to the splitting flow, I might expect only three to six inches during Friday ... An additional one to three inches may fall during the day Saturday before a transient ridge containing warm and dry air moves over our area for Sunday.”

Weissbluth said a similar storm might makes its way into the area early next week, and it could be accompanied by colder air.

“This storm currently is forecast to produce significant precipitation for our area from Tuesday through Thursday of next week, though that forecast is dependent upon the amount of splitting the storm endures as it moves over our area,” Weissbluth said.

As of Tuesday, the ski area was reporting total snowfall for the season was 292 inches at midmountain. In the past 20 years, the ski area has received 342 inches of snow each season, on average. The ski area sees 47 inches of snow in March on average and 18 inches in April. As of Tuesday, 5 inches of snow had fallen in March at midmountain.

In February, 60 inches of snow fell at midmountain, which was slightly below the 20-year February average of 69 inches.

In between the mountain area and downtown, local weather observer Art Judson measured 2.85 inches of precipitation in February. That measurement includes rain and melted snow. On average, throughout the past 30 years, Steamboat has seen 1.9 inches of precipitation in February.

At the Tower measuring site on nearby Buffalo Pass, the automated measuring station Tuesday was reporting a snow depth of 136 inches with a water equivalent of 44.8 inches. The median snow water equivalent for March 4 is 36.9 inches.

On Rabbit Ears Pass, the measuring site was reporting a snow water equivalent of 27.4 inches. It is usually 19.7 inches.

The snow water equivalents throughout the northern Colorado river basins are all above their historic averages. The Yampa/White River basin Tuesday was at 122 percent of the average.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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