Steamboat tops 3 inches of precipitation after frequent April showers
Sundberg tends rain gauge for 44 years
April 29, 2016
Heavy rain has fallen in Routt County during the last few days of April, but drive up 1,500 feet in elevation, and it's snow that’s been accumulating.
And there was more on the way for the northern Park Range; the tiny North Routt communities of Columbine and Hahn's Peak Village were included in a winter weather advisory released by the National Weather Service in Grand Junction at 1 p.m. April 29.
"Snow will be heavy at times with snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches, but with large variation," from one location to another," the weather service cautioned.
Carolyn Sundberg, a National Weather Service observer in Hayden, is celebrating 44 years of continuous service with a very rainy month of April. After enduring 44 inches of snowfall in January, Hayden-ites have seen 2.8 inches of precipitation this month, compared to the normal 1.71 inches. Most of the precipitation fell in the form of a foot of snow April 14.
"It really is good for the country to get extra heavy amounts of spring moisture," Sundberg said. "The snow soaked in really well this year, and now, we're hearing of several (rural) ponds coming back after being pretty dry," for an extended period.
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The National Weather Service is reporting that the official weather site for Steamboat Springs has seen 3.24 inches of precipitation this month, compared to the "normal" amount for April 29 of 2.32 inches. Of that total, 1.35 inches accumulated over a three-day snowstorm April 15 through 17 that saw 13.1 inches of snowfall which quickly melted.
The winter weather advisory for Friday night stretches all the way south to the San Juan Mountains and the town of Silverton. But the heaviest snowfall might accumulate on the Front Range.
The Colorado Department of Transportation was reporting conditions on the western approach to the Eisenhower Tunnel were slushy.
The snow that continues to build in the Park Range east of Steamboat is helping to make up for a dry February.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service reports snow depth at Dry Lake — at the foot of Buffalo Pass, just northeast of Steamboat — was 41 inches April 24. As of April 29, that snow depth had increased to 56 inches, signaling more than a foot snow had fallen there this week. And at 10,500 feet on Buffalo Pass, at the Tower measuring site, the moisture stored in the snow has reached 90 percent of median for the date for the first time all winter.
Standing snow depth at Tower is now 115 inches.
The precipitation pattern in the Yampa Valley fits with a climate report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which shows significant snow accumulation from the Colorado Rockies north through central Wyoming and taking in most of of the state of Montana. There was also new snow in the Sierras and the mountainous areas of Nevada's Great Basin.