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Snows likely mid-weekend and again midweek

Thursday, April 4, 2019

After a quickly-moving storm cell dropped 1” at mid-mountain at the Steamboat Ski Area and close to 2” at the summit in about 40 minutes early yesterday evening, partly cloudy skies dominate the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday morning. There will be a good chance of snow around mid-weekend as a weak storm moves through, and a much better chance of significant snow around midweek as a strong winter-like storm moves through.

But first, the current partly cloudy skies may give way to an afternoon shower or two today as temperatures approach our average of 49 F. Friday will see more sun and a smaller chance of an afternoon shower, with temperatures rising above our average.

A weak and splitting storm crossing the Great Basin on Friday will move across our area on Saturday, with clouds first increasing and then showers beginning around mid-morning, though weather forecast models disagree on the timing.

Hard-to-predict storm cells are expected as a weak cool front sweeps across our area during the day, and as we saw last night, a quick inch or two from each storm cell can be expected if we are in their proximity. We could see 2-5” of accumulation at mid-mountain during the day and into the evening which would be reported Sunday morning.

A break in the active weather pattern observed in April so far is expected from Sunday through Tuesday before a very strong Pacific jet stream takes aim on the West Coast and brings a series of cold and wet storms into our area starting Wednesday.

This first storm looks to intensify as it crosses the Great Basin on Tuesday and mixes with some cold western Canadian air, bringing likely moderate to heavy snows to our area on Wednesday. This storm looks to be cold enough to drive snow levels down to the Yampa Valley floor, and favorable cold, moist and unstable northwest flow looks to keep accumulating snows going over Mt. Werner through Wednesday night and Thursday. Granted, the storm is a week away, but there is a good chance of another cold powder day in our future if current forecasts hold.

Another Pacific storm is forecast to travel across the Gulf of Alaska around midweek and again mix with some cold western Canadian air, which strengths the storm over the Pacific Northwest later in the work week. The storm is forecast to first drop south along the West Coast, and energy and moisture ejecting out of this storm will likely keep cool and unsettled weather around our area heading into the weekend. This is good news for water managers as the cool temperatures will promote a slowly melting lower and mid-elevation snowpack.

And for what it’s worth at ten days away, weather forecast models turn the West Coast storm inland early in the weekend and bring it across our area as a major winter-like storm for Closing Weekend. The very active weather looks to continue after we (unfortunately) close, with cool and unsettled weather continuing and more significant additions to the snowpack likely.

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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