Snow lasts through much of the weekend

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Steamboat ski area reported 6” mid / 9” top this morning, though I found that 9” report suspect since it was not supported by either the visual evidence from the powder cam nor the measurements I made in the Priest Creek area this morning. Nonetheless, the 7 or 8” that I DID measure in the favored locations skied great this morning, as this high quality snow was dense enough to mostly separate the skier from the hard surface underneath.

Snow has currently ended with periods of sun, but the break will be short-lived as the second storm just off the central California coast backs the winds to the southwest and spreads clouds and then precipitation over our area this evening. Even though southwest flow is not very favorable for our area, both the cooling aloft this evening and proximity of surface front may allow for moderate to heavy precipitation rates, especially during the day Saturday. And because the storm does not have much cold air associated with it, the precipitation is likely to be rain or mixed in the valleys and the lowest 500 - 1000′ of the hill, with increasingly higher quality snow as elevation increases.

I might expect 2-5” by Saturday morning, and another 4-8” by Sunday morning as the heaviest snow continues through the daylight hours Saturday, but wanes toward sunset and might even stop by midnight as the main part of the storm swings south and east of us. However, some models have northwest flow continuing through much of Sunday, possibly producing another 3-6” by sunset.

Pieces of energy in the favorable northwest flow will keep showers going through midweek, and some drying is currently forecast later in the workweek before another possibly significant storm approaches our area around Friday.

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