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Colder snow arrives later Friday

Thursday, March 7, 2019

While a a strong and cold storm spins in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado has been under the influence of a warm and very moist airmass from storms that developed over the Pacific between Hawaii and California earlier in the week. Colder air will return our fluffy and low-density snow around Friday afternoon into Saturday morning before the heaviest snowfall ends and warmer temperatures in continued unsettled weather reappear for Sunday through midweek. Temperatures will then cool, but the unsettled weather will persist for the rest of the work week and possibly the following weekend.

After a 7” mid-mountain report and 11” at the summit of the Steamboat Ski Area this Thursday morning, with most of that falling during the day yesterday, we’ll see afternoon snow showers in the slightly cooler and unstable westerly flow that may produce several inches of snow that would be reported Friday morning.

A couple more incoming Pacific storms will mix with the Pacific Northwest storm before what is left of it moves along the U.S. - Canadian border, the first timed to arrive in the Steamboat Springs area Friday and the second mostly missing our area as it first dives southward along the California Coast before moving eastward early in the work week across the U.S. - Mexican border.

The storm arriving Friday will be preceded by snow showers in the morning and will be accompanied by a strong cold front that should bring moderate to heavy snow when it passes Friday afternoon, along with difficult travel conditions and continued light to moderate showers overnight and into Saturday morning. I would expect 6-12” for the Saturday morning report at mid-mountain, with about half that currently forecast to occur while the lifts are spinning and the other half occurring after the lifts stop.

There may be an opportunity for some Steamboat Magic Saturday morning in northwest flow, though a warming atmosphere behind the storm will allow showers to taper off through the day, with only another 1-4” expected.

Meanwhile, as the second storm develops along the California Coast, more unsettled weather along with warmer temperatures are advertised for Sunday, with only light accumulations expected.

As the storm initially is well south of northern Colorado on Monday, not much weather is expected, but by Tuesday, another incoming Pacific storm forces the storm to our south to move to the northeast, and there may be the opportunity for better precipitation as the storm grazes our area. At this point, there is a fair bit of uncertainty with respect to the proximity of the storm and the location of precipitation, but weather forecast models agree the relatively warm temperatures from Sunday will stick around for Monday and Tuesday as well.

By Wednesday, cooler weather returns as the last storm moves into the Great Basin and brings more unsettled weather that will last for the rest of the work week and possibly into next weekend. Weather forecast models try to bring a ridge of high pressure that forms over the Gulf of Alaska inland, though they they disagree on exactly how that will happen. At some point around next weekend or the following work week, we may finally see the appearance of some spring-like days.

Start your ski day with toasty warm and dry boots! I use a boot dryer/warmer after every ski day, and the Happy Feet Dry-n-Warm boot dryer would be my choice if I ever had to replace my 30 year old and no-longer-manufactured look-alike. Just insert into your ski boots at the end of the day and leave them plugged in overnight. They become only slightly warmer than your body temperature so are safe to be plugged in for all footwear for days on end, though only overnight is needed for even the soggiest of liners. The ski boots are then thoroughly dry and toasty warm to start your next ski day!

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