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Last very cold wave ends the current storm cycle before another begins Sunday

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Another 5” of snow on my deck this morning, 10.5” at mid-mountain at 5am and about 3” additional as of 11am, slightly higher than 10-20” of snow I predicted on the hill by Wednesday morning in the Monday forecast. The last wave in this storm cycle will move over the Steamboat Springs area tonight and early tomorrow with the coldest temperatures of the season observed tomorrow. Ironically, the cold temperatures may lead to an increase in snow density as the snow crystal habit transitions from the familiar and space-taking dendrites to space-conserving columns at temperatures below 0F or so.

Nonetheless, I expect 6-12” of new snow to be reported tomorrow morning on top of the 22” in the past 2 days. Depending upon the timing of the last wave, snow may continue in the morning, leaving an additional 2-4” by noon and the possibility of some Steamboat Magic between the 5am report and the mountain opening.

Snow should actually stop by Thursday afternoon as some upper-level warming moves over the area, though a slug of moisture moving through the warming and stabilizing airmass might produce some snow showers for the first half of Friday, possibly leaving another inch or two to be reported Saturday morning.

Saturday may be our only snow-free day in 2 weeks as a quick moving wave passes over the Steamboat Springs area Sunday. The forecast calls for snow increasing until about noon Sunday before tapering off in the afternoon, leaving 3-6” that will be reported Monday morning.

After a brief break, the snow machine cranks up again with a long-duration event starting during the day Monday. The ideal scenario of moist and cool northwest flow containing numerous waves is forecast to be over our area from Monday though Wednesday, possibly leaving around a foot or more of fresh for both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings with periods of moderate and heavy snow through the entire time.

A break in snowfall is then predicted heading into and including Christmas day before another major storm threatens our area around the following weekend.

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