Sunday, December 3, 2017
A strong cold front currently moving through Salt Lake City has brought southwest winds and clouds to the Steamboat Springs area this afternoon. The storm responsible for the front is forecast to split into several pieces, with the best moisture and forcing staying to our north. However, along with the much colder air, we will see precipitation with the storm through Monday night.
There may be some rain showers at the lower elevations and snow showers at higher elevations ahead of the front this evening, but snow levels will crash to the Yampa Valley floor when the front blasts through around midnight. There will be localized heavy and even intense snow showers with blowing snow along the front and for a few hours behind it, with several inches of fairly dense snow likely at the Steamboat Ski Area by the Monday morning report, and more further north and at higher elevations.
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Snows will let up until picking back up again on a cold-feeling-but-near-average Monday morning as winds veer to our favorable northwest direction. While there is plenty of cold air aloft to keep the atmosphere unstable through Monday night, snows will turn more showery in the afternoon as moisture decreases. There may as much as 3-6” of very light and fluffy powder by the below-average and cold Tuesday morning report.
Snows will end by Tuesday morning as the storm moves east of Colorado. A very large and dominant West Coast ridge builds behind the storm, with warm and dry air to our west underneath the ridge, and cold and snowy weather to our east. Over Steamboat Springs, there may be some moderation in the temperatures on Wednesday before another push of cold air and possibly moisture travels southward along the east side of the West Coast ridge. At this point in the forecast, some light snow is possible along with colder temperatures and strong northerly winds on Thursday.
Winds may stay strong on Friday, though dry air infiltrates northern Colorado as the West Coast ridge expands eastward. Sunnier skies and warmer temperatures begin on Friday and look to last through next weekend. I’d like to say the West Coast ridge breaks down after than and brings the storm track back to Colorado, but current long-range forecasts keep the ridge intact through the following work week.