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Forecast snow amounts increase for Christmas

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A quick note to update my forecast from last Sunday for more snow. Shorter-range models have indicated the possibility of banded snowfall on Christmas Day over Steamboat Springs, which could create snowfall rates as high as 1” per hour at times tomorrow. The banding can occur when the usually broad and diffuse lift associated with an unstable atmosphere within a storm is concentrated along relatively narrow and roughly parallel bands, and can result in localized moderate to heavy precipitation at times.

I still expect the storm to get going this evening, with 1-4” expected by the Christmas Day ski report. But after a break early in the morning after the initial wave of the storm passes through, we should see sometimes moderate to even heavy snowfall at times from mid-morning through the afternoon leaving another 2-5” of snowfall at mid-mountain by the time the lifts stop turning.

While the heaviest snowfall will be over by around midnight on Wednesday, with another 1-4” overnight yielding 3-9” for the Thursday morning report, much lighter snows will continue through the day Thursday with only minor additional accumulations expected.

Drier air briefly works into northern Colorado on Friday before a quick moving Pacific wave mixes with some very cold air from Alaska and western Canada and brings sharply colder temperatures for the weekend. Currently, light snow showers are advertised for at least Saturday and possibly Sunday as well, but I’ll have more details on the weekend’s weather on my regular Thursday afternoon weather narrative.

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