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Unsettled weather ahead of strong Wednesday storm

Sunday, March 10, 2019

After another three inches of snow fell overnight at the Steamboat Ski Area and brought the season-accumulated snowfall at mid-mountain to 303” so far, snow showers will redevelop this Sunday afternoon, as well as Monday, before Tuesday looks precipitation free. A strong and cold storm from the Pacific Northwest will bring significant snows to the Steamboat Springs area on Wednesday that will extend into Thursday before warming and drying is advertised to start on Friday and extend into next weekend.

The light snow currently falling in the Steamboat Springs area is the result of our area being between a large developing storm off the coast of southern California and a quick-moving storm over the Great Lakes. Snow showers will continue this Sunday afternoon before leaving another inch or two and ending soon after sunset as the California storm begins its eastward trek across the Desert Southwest, thanks to a strong and cold storm moving southeastward across the Gulf of Alaska.

As the Desert Southwest storm moves south of our area, another round of minimally accumulating snow showers will be possible Monday afternoon as some energy ejects out of the storm and moves over our area, with likely heavy snows starting in southern Colorado and New Mexico.

Tuesday is now looking precipitation-free as northern Colorado will be between the Desert Southwest storm and the rapidly approaching Pacific Northwest storm, with some dry air near our area allowing for some sunshine.

By Wednesday morning, we should see the return of snow showers behind the Desert Southwest storm and ahead of the Pacific Northwest storm, with showers becoming moderate to heavy by later in the day as a strong cold front barrels across the region.

Snows should continue overnight and into Thursday as the two storm mix just east of the Continental Divide and form a single strong storm that is forecast to move across the Midwest, bringing winter weather to that region and eventually a line of severe storms across the rest of the country.

Though the rapidly developing storm may throw some forecast curveballs, much colder weather with continued snow showers are expected for Thursday in the moist and unstable northwest flow behind the cold front. Snows are forecast to eventually end around Thursday night behind a trailing wave that brings even colder air to our region.

At this point, I would guess 5-10” of snow at mid-mountain for the Thursday morning report, with some Steamboat Magic likely on Thursday extending past noon and leaving another 2-5” that would be reported on the Friday morning report.

A ridge of high pressure builds inland near the end of the work week, and after a chilly Friday morning with lows likely well below our average of 15 F, the sun is forecast to return with temperatures quickly moderating under the increasingly strong March sun.

There are some weak and relatively dry waves of energy that move through the ridge of high pressure early and late in the weekend, but only some clouds are expected to periodically interrupt what is forecast to be our first spring-feeling weekend of this long winter season.

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21 June 2019

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