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Periods of rain and snow through midweek

Sunday, April 28, 2019

After the previous week of warm and very pleasant weather in the Steamboat Springs area, change has arrived. Energy and moisture that ejected over our area ahead of a strong and cold Pacific Northwest storm brought soft hail of almost a half inch in diameter just before noon this Sunday morning, and showers are expected to continue through the day. Our area will continue to see precipitation through midweek, along with high temperatures ten to twenty degrees below our average high of 58 F, first as a warmer and wetter storm moves through from later Monday into Tuesday and then as the colder Pacific Northwest storm moves through from later Tuesday through Wednesday.

Showers will continue into this Sunday evening before ending for a time later overnight. The break will be short-lived, however, as a warm and wet storm that originally broke off from the active Pacific jet stream and moved south early last week finally crosses the West Coast early tomorrow. While temperatures will cool behind today’s passing disturbance, they will warm a bit as the southern storm approaches, but still remain unseasonably cool due to thick cloud cover. Showers should begin around mid-morning or so and continue through the afternoon before they become moderate to heavy by the evening and continue into early Tuesday. Though there likely won’t be snowfall accumulations in the Yampa Valley, there could be as much as 5-10” of wet and heavy, high density snow around 10,000′, with about half that much at around 9000′.

There may be a small break in the weather early Tuesday behind the departing southern storm and the advancing colder Pacific Northwest storm, or more likely just less productive showers, before they pick up again later in the day. A cold front is forecast to pass through north-central Colorado Tuesday night, and along with the cooler temperatures comes snowfall that will be a bit fluffier and lower density. Moderate to sometimes heavy snowfall is again expected overnight before it becomes more showery during the day Wednesday, with another 5-10” expected above 9000′. Notably, the Yampa Valley may also see some accumulating snowfall of several inches by Wednesday, May Day, morning.

Clearly, this is an impressive spring storm, and might yield around 2” of liquid or liquid equivalent through Wednesday afternoon, which water managers and emergency personnel will surely be watching closely. Furthermore, travel over the passes will likely be difficult at times through the storm, especially Monday and Tuesday nights when the heaviest precipitation is expected.

The active weather then becomes much quieter after Wednesday, with much warmer temperatures and a dry day forecast for Thursday. Weak cool fronts pass to our north around Friday and again mid-weekend, though at this point they are not expected to bring much more than a slight cool down and possibly some showers.

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