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Two storms on track for Thanksgiving night and Saturday

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Two storms will grace the Steamboat Springs area this Thanksgiving holiday, with the first weaker one starting light snows by this Thursday mid-afternoon and the second stronger, colder and longer-lasting storm bringing moderate to heavy snows starting Friday night.

Remarkably, the storm scenario laid out in my last Sunday forecast looks to occur, with the Saturday storm likely producing even more snow than I initially forecast! The first storm has already put down a foot of snow in the Sierras around Mammoth and Kirkwood (see the California snowfall totals here as the storm develops), and clouds will increase through the day today before we see some light snowfall by mid-afternoon. Snowfall will be moderate at times this evening, likely starting around sunset before becoming lighter again after midnight. I still expect 3-6” at mid-mountain by the Friday morning report.

Though we will be between storms on Friday, light snows will likely continue during the day, along with increasing winds that may make travel difficult, especially over the passes. We will see some warming ahead of the second storm from midday Friday through Friday evening before cooler air brings the onset of moderate to heavy snows and continued strong northwest winds starting later Friday night or very early Saturday morning. Difficult travel may well become impossible from Friday night through the day Saturday.

We could see 5-10” of mid-mountain snowfall by the Saturday morning report with continuing moderate to heavy snows for a day of full-on mid-winter storm skiing! The coldest air arrives Saturday afternoon along with a period of intense snowfall, gustier winds and likely whiteout conditions. Though moisture decreases behind the cold air, snow densities will decrease, keeping light and fluffy accumulating snows going overnight and into early Sunday morning, when another 5-10” of snow will likely be reported.

Though Sunday will start quite cold, we should see the sun reappear along with some higher elevation warming, producing a spectacular ski day (especially if new terrain opens!).

After the weekend excitement, a ridge of high pressure is forced eastward by a strong Pacific jet stream and moves over the west early in the work week. Northern Colorado will be susceptible to some dry cool fronts as energy from the Canadian Plains travels down the east side of the ridge and clips our area on Monday and early Tuesday. Wednesday will be the warmest day at higher elevations, and even though the sun will be out, cold low-elevation temperatures will persist as inversions form over the newly fallen snow blanketing the Yampa Valley.

The end of the work week looks uneventful before another storm develops off the West Coast and possibly brings another round of stormy weather to our area around the following weekend.

Stop battling cold feet! I’ve used the awesome Hotronic foot warmers from their beginnings, and can honestly say that each iteration of the product is better than the last. I have the S4 custom, attached to my powerstrap so they never fall off, and my toes stay warm for my entire ski day.

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