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Persistent snows today through tomorrow and again through the next work week

Friday, December 11, 2015

There are now about 5” of snow at the top of the Steamboat Ski area with about 3.5” on my deck. Most of that fell between 5 am and 9 am this morning, leading to average snowfall rates of over an inch per hour up top for our first dose of Steamboat Magic this morning.

The cool air came in a bit quicker than I forecast on Wednesday, and the storm has slowed considerably as well, placing Steamboat Springs very close to the almost stationary frontal boundary. Additional waves look to eject from the parent system over the Great Basin today and tonight, keeping the snowfall going overnight as they move over this front.

Considering that snowfall is forecast to become moderate to heavy at times around mid-evening to midnight tonight for several hours, I would now expect 8-14 inches to be reported in the Saturday morning report. Another 3-6” will likely fall during the day tomorrow and be reported Sunday morning as there is now evidence of moist and cool northwest flow around the parent low as it forms a closed circulation to our south.

Snows will decrease or may even stop Saturday night into Sunday night before another similar storm begins snowfall over the Steamboat Springs area by Monday morning. I expect moderate to heavy snows by Monday afternoon and continuing overnight as the coldest air of the season pours into the area, leaving 6-12” on the Tuesday morning report.

Snows will continue in the cold and moist northwest flow Tuesday and Wednesday with additional accumulations before a trailing wave in the northwest flow increases very low-density snowfall by Wednesday night. The atmosphere is expected to stabilize by Thursday afternoon as it warms, ending this storm cycle and ushering in a drier and much warmer couple of days for Friday and Saturday.

Another dynamic storm is forecast for late in the weekend or early the following work week, though there is now considerable model disagreement as the European ECMWF closes off the storm in southern California by Monday while the American GFS has it moving over our area by Monday morning.

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