Watches, warnings issued for Steamboat area as storm approaches | SteamboatToday.com

Watches, warnings issued for Steamboat area as storm approaches

The latest winter storm had brought nine inches of snow to the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area as of Tuesday morning.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued winter storm warnings and watches as well as an avalanche watch for the Steamboat Springs area.

The winter storm warning begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening and goes through Thursday night. Impacted areas include the Park, Gore, Elk and Flat Tops mountains, and winds could gust to 50 mph.

"Heavy snow and blowing snow expected," the National Weather Service stated in the warning. "Plan on difficult travel conditions. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 16 inches, with localized amounts up to 20 inches, are expected."

Snow showers were expected during the day Wednesday before the brunt of the storm arrived.

The winter weather advisory begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday and goes through Thursday night. The impacted area includes the city of Steamboat.

Blowing snow is expected with accumulations of up to 4 to 7 inches. Wind gusts could be as high as 35 mph.

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"The moderate winds are forecast to be westerly for a large part of the storm, and those that ski the Steamboat Ski Area know that our snow quality can be adversely affected by westerly winds due to the largely western aspect of Mount Werner," wrote Steamboat meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs snowalarm.com. "Northwest flow is forecast for late in the storm and late in the day Thursday, but when the moisture is decreasing, and this will limit the accumulations of the lightest and fluffiest snow on the backside of the storm."

The avalanche watch was issued for dangerous avalanche conditions beginning Thursday morning.

The avalanche danger could increase to a high level if snow accumulations meet expectations.

"Natural avalanches will become likely, and large dangerous human-triggered avalanches that break near the ground will become very likely," the National Weather Service states.

Another storm is expected early next week.

"There is uncertainty with respect to how quickly this storm moves inland, but it appears another stationary front may form somewhere near our area around Monday or Tuesday, leading to the possibility of more significant snows early in the work week before unseasonably cold air is forecast to wash over the western states behind the storm," Weissbluth said.

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