Wintry storm set to pummel Steamboat
Monday, April 11, 2022
Current temperatures are in the upper forties in the town of Steamboat Springs and around thirty degrees at the top of the now-closed Steamboat Ski Resort under cloudy skies this Monday mid-afternoon. After a Closing Day powder day yesterday, more wintry weather is on our doorstep, with heavy snowfall rates, blowing snow and plummeting temperatures starting tonight. The most inclement weather is expected tonight and tomorrow morning, though cold and snowy weather will persist into Thursday. We may then see a break in the precipitation before additional energy and moisture bring the possibility of unsettled weather back for the end of the work week.
A potent wintry storm is currently hammering the Pacific Northwest and is forecast to quickly move through the Intermountain West today before bringing a strong cold front through our area after midnight, with windy conditions preceding the storm. We may see light showers ahead of the cold front, with precipitation being liquid at the lower elevations, but the wintry weather should arrive in an impressive manner midway between midnight tonight and sunrise Tuesday.
Winds first from the south and then the southwest will be increasing ahead of the cold front, with gusts above 60 mph possible by midnight. Luckily the winds should die down a bit as the snow picks up, with rates as high as 2 inches per hour at times leading to difficult or even impossible travel over Rabbit Ears Pass tonight. Snowfall rates might decrease, but may still be heavy at almost an inch per hour through noon before snowfall markedly diminishes in the afternoon as the winds return, with gusts as high as 50 mph possible Tuesday afternoon.
Snowfall at mid-mountain might be in the 4-8” range by what would have been the 5 am Tuesday morning report, with another 4-8” during the day and several more inches overnight, for a 10-20” ongoing storm total by Wednesday morning.
Temperatures are going to be frigid, with high temperatures in town likely mired in the twenties on both Tuesday and Wednesday, which is over twenty degrees below our average of 51 F! And temperatures at the summit of the Steamboat Ski Resort look to similarly reflect a mid-winter day and top out in the low teens.
Snow showers will persist on Wednesday, though at more modest rates than experienced the day before. And there is a trailing bit of energy that is forecast to pass over later Wednesday, so we could see another 2-5” by Thursday morning at mid-mountain. The town of Steamboat Springs will not escape the snowfall after the cold front, with storm total accumulations between Monday night and Thursday morning in 5-10” range.
The weather should quiet down on Thursday, with weather forecast models disagreeing on the possibility of unsettled weather to close out the work week. So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll recap the storm totals and discuss the weather for the upcoming weekend.