January thaw in Steamboat Springs was for real
Average temperatures for the month were about 5 degrees above normal
January 30, 2012
Steamboat Springs — With Monday's high temperature reaching 38 degrees, Steamboat Springs was on course to finish January with an average daily high temp of about 5 degrees warmer than average.
Through the first 30 days of January, the average daily high was 34.3 degrees. The historic average is 28.8 degrees, Steamboat weather observer Art Judson said.
Judson's temperature log, recorded on an elevated bench between downtown and the ski mountain, shows there were 17 days in the month where the high temperature was above freezing and another five when the high for the day was 32 degrees.
The warmest day of the month was Jan. 6, when the thermometer reached 45 degrees. With one day left in January, there already have been nine days that reached 40 degrees or higher.
The average daily low temperature in January here is 1.1 degrees, Judson said. As of Jan. 30, the 2012 average stood at 6.7 degrees. His records show there had been seven mornings when the mercury fell below zero. The low was minus 9 degrees, a number that was recorded three different days.
Snow accumulation in town also is off from the norm. As of 7 a.m. Monday, total January snow in the city stood at 16.9 inches compared to the average January total of 35.5 inches.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service was reporting Monday that the standing snow was 35 inches deep on the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass. The 7.5 inches of water contained in the snowpack there is 48 percent of average for the date.
To the north, at 10,500 feet elevation on Buffalo Pass, the snow was 61 inches deep Monday with a water content of 17.1 inches. That translates into 58 percent of average.
The water outlook is a little more positive farther north. The NRCS reports the snow depth at 8,700 feet at the Elk River site is 35 inches, and the 8.3 inches of water in the snow is 70 percent of the typical 12 inches for the date.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com