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Light snow returns tonight ahead of cool and unsettled weekend

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Storms to the south of the Steamboat Springs area have helped eliminate the cold valley temperature inversion we experienced last week into this week as overnight clouds last night have kept the lower elevations relatively warm. A storm currently producing moderate snows in southern Colorado will begin light snow over our area around midnight tonight even as it stays south of our area and moves eastward.

Models indicate a weak TROWAL signature for this storm from about midnight through noon or even afternoon Thursday, and the upward motion associated with this feature is a bit of a wildcard for tomorrow’s snow forecast. With that being said, I would expect around 2-4” for the morning report with the possibility of another 2-4” tomorrow morning if there is indeed enhanced snowfall in the northwest quadrant of the storm due to the TROWAL. There may even be another several inches after noon if the latest bullish forecast from the American NAM model verifies as that model now hangs on to snowfall through Thursday evening.

Another storm further to our south quickly follows on Friday. Current models have this storm too far south to bring significant snows to our area, but a trailing wave phases with some cold air from the Canadian Plains and drags it over our area around Friday night, noticeably cooling temperatures and increasing a moist northwest flow that persists through the weekend.

There should be light to sometimes moderate snow for the entire weekend in this favorable flow as models don’t have the precipitation ending until Monday morning. I would expect around 2-5” of low-density snowfall each day, with only very light snowfall after sunset Sunday.

Monday should be mostly precipitation-free before models indicate some sort of storm moving through the West Coast ridge and possibly affecting our area around Tuesday or Wednesday. There is a great deal of uncertainty with regards to how the West Coast ridge evolves as it is affected by both Pacific energy to its west and very cold air from the Canadian Plains to its east.

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