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Stormy weather window opens today

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

We have light rain in the town of Steamboat Springs this Thursday afternoon and light snow at and above the 9000′ elevation of mid-mountain. Rain should turn to snow later today as some cool air filters in from the north, and intermittent periods of light to perhaps moderate snow will continue through the day Friday before temperatures warm and skies mostly clear for the weekend. But the winter weather returns on Monday and looks to persist through Thanksgiving week, with a short break currently advertised for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

The current precipitation is courtesy of an old storm from near Baja that was forced over Colorado by an upstream storm currently located in southern California. The California storm itself represents the southern part of a Pacific storm that split yesterday as it crossed the West Coast, and a cool front associated with the northern part of this split will drop snow levels to the mountain base by tonight even as snows briefly end. While we could see 2-5” of accumulation at the top of Mt. Werner by Thursday morning, totals will be closer to 1-4” at mid-mountain and likely less than an inch, if at all, in town.

While the first storm is forecast to be east of our area tonight, the California storm moves into the Great Basin on Thursday and elongates back westward as it moves eastward, creating unsettled conditions over our area that will last through Friday. Energy ejecting out of the Great Basin storm looks to bring a period of better snows at all elevations around Thursday morning, with snow showers ending for a brief time in the afternoon. But light and intermittent snow showers will begin again in the evening and last through Friday evening as the Great Basin storm moves over Colorado. I would expect an additional 1-4” to be reported on the Friday morning ski report.

Even though showers will continue during the day Friday, additional accumulations will be scant before dry air overruns our area for the weekend. There may be some clouds around on Saturday due to trapped low-level moisture, and on Sunday due to a grazing disturbance in northwest flow, but a pleasant weekend with some new snow will greet the commemoration of Steamboat’s new gondola.

Attention then turns to a stronger and colder storm that will affect our area starting later Monday and lasting through Tuesday, with significant accumulations likely. And while a break is currently advertised for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the stormy weather window stays open as another significant storm of some sort looks to bring an additional round of snow for Thanksgiving Day, with much colder temperatures and unsettled weather persisting through the following weekend. I should have a much better idea of how this all unfolds on my next twice-weekly weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

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