North Routt wakes up to snow in June | SteamboatToday.com

North Routt wakes up to snow in June

The cold storm system that brought thunder and lightning to Steamboat Springs on Thursday delivered the startling sight of snow on the ground in North Routt.

“The snowflakes falling at 2 in the afternoon on Thursday were as big as silver dollars,” longtime Clark rancher Doug Carlson said. “I could barely see across the road.”

The snow still was falling at 9:45 a.m. Friday in Columbine, and Beth Hoffman confirmed Carlson’s report about giant snowflakes.

“We got four inches of snow (Thursday),” Hoffman said. She is an employee at Columbine Cabins. “They were the biggest snowflakes I’ve ever seen.”

The snow that fell Thursday afternoon and Friday morning might not have been the end of it. Ellen Heffernan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said a winter weather advisory remained in effect through Friday night for the mountains surrounding Steamboat. Elevations above 9,000 feet might have seen an additional 2 to 4 inches, Heffernan said.

Steamboat residents awoke Friday to the sight of snow on Mount Werner’s ski trails and even a dusting on Sleeping Giant. But in North Routt, where elevations reach 8,000 feet and higher along Routt County Road 129, the white stuff fell in peoples’ front yards.

Rilla Wiggins’ family has owned a cabin in Hahn’s Peak Village for 53 years.

“I don’t ever remember this much snow this time of year,” Wiggins said.

She had the foresight to cover her petunias with sheets of plastic Thursday night.

Carlson, who has ranched near Clark for 24 years, said snow in June isn’t unheard of but that it certainly hasn’t happened for quite awhile.

“I haven’t begun irrigating the hay fields,” Carlson said. “Last year at this time, I’d been irrigating for two weeks.”

It’s too early to predict an abundant hay harvest, Carlson said, but “we’ve got a heck of a start.”

Heffernan said Thursday and Friday’s snow fell north of a “surface boundary” that ran southwest to northwest, with areas to the north, such as Routt County, getting the snow and other areas to the south receiving only rain. By midday Friday, that surface boundary had rotated to a north-south axis. The change meant snow was a possibility in higher elevations from North Routt’s boundary with Wyoming to Cortez in southern Colorado.

The low pressure system coming out of the Great Basin was expected to have moved over the plains of eastern Colorado by Saturday.

“I guess the flowers will survive it,” Wiggins said.

— To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com