Despite tropical moisture, signs of seasons changing in Steamboat’s mountains
September 9, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Could it snow on Big Agnes peak in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area on Monday night?
An automated weather forecast issued by the National Weather Service for the mountain in the Park Range 20 miles north of Steamboat Springs predicts that's a possibility. Although the current weather system is carrying relatively warm tropical air, a mix of rain and snow was forecast for Big Agnes with overnight lows expected to dip to 37 degrees.
September is a time when the first trace of snow often appears on Storm Peak at Steamboat Ski Area, but that event does not appear to be in the cards this week. An automated forecast for Storm Peak anticipates overnight lows at 10,305 feet will hover just above 40 degrees through Thursday.
Sunday evening's steady rain showers produced variable precipitation totals with some of the highest amounts in south Routt County. But the National Weather Service was calling for the possibility of heavier rainfall Monday morning and continuing through the day Tuesday. It was raining steadily in Steamboat at 9:45 a.m.
The Weather Service explained that deep subtropical moisture is pushing in a northeasterly direction into Colorado where cooler daytime highs in the 70s are allowing for the development of horizontal cloud layers in contrast to the tall thunderheads that predominated during the first week in September when temperatures were in the high 80s.
Steamboat Springs weather observer Art Judson reported that an automated weather station located near Dry Lake just northeast of Steamboat accumulated 0.09 inches of moisture Sunday night, but not far away, a weather observer in the Sanctuary subdivision recorded 0.32 inches. Another automated station about 19 miles south of Rabbit Ears Pass picked up 0.41 inches.
As of mid-morning Monday, the Weather Service was forecasting a 50 percent chance of rain in Steamboat through Tuesday with the possibility of some heavy showers. The chance of thunderstorms drops to 30 percent Tuesday night but bounces back to 40 percent for Wednesday and Thursday.