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Another wall of water restarts snows on Friday

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Temperatures are in the mid-teens with cloudy skies in the town of Steamboat Springs this Thursday morning while they are in the mid-single digits with light snow falling near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort. The upper elevation snow showers should reluctantly taper off this afternoon and overnight before snows restart at all elevations by Friday afternoon as the next wall of water washes through the Yampa Valley and brings heavy snowfall rates and dense snow through New Years Eve.

Snowfall totals at the Steamboat Ski Resort were impressive as the remnants of an atmospheric river moved over our area starting Tuesday night. Two day totals are up to 18” at mid-mountain after 7” was reported this morning and 23” up top after 10” was reported this morning, and light snow is still falling on the hill.

We should see a break in the snowfall tonight before snows restart on Friday as another atmospheric river, currently approaching the West Coast, moves overhead later Friday. Snows should increase in intensity by Friday afternoon and reach rates exceeding an inch per hour at times from Friday night into New Years Eve, making travel difficult at best over Rabbit Ears Pass.

We could see 6-12” of snow by the Saturday morning ski report at mid-mountain and that again by Sunday morning with most of the snow on the Sunday report falling during the last day of 2022. Unfortunately, temperatures will also rise as the warmer air associated with the tropically-sourced atmospheric river moves overhead, with temperatures up top starting under 10 F on Friday morning and rising to around 20 F on Saturday morning and 25 F by the afternoon. This may hamper late night New Years Eve plans for some as I expect a lot of tired people in town after the round of relatively dense snowfall during the day!

Earlier iterations of the weather forecast models had snow continuing on Sunday ahead of another significant storm for Monday that will also be driven by the remnants of another atmospheric river. This storm, however, is forecast to mix with some cold air from a massive low pressure area spanning the northern Pacific ocean and intensify as it crosses the West Coast on New Years Eve and enters the Great Basin later on New Years Day. There is disagreement on the eventual strength and track of the storm, and we may see a break in the snowfall later on New Years Day, or not.

But the weather forecast models agree that another significant storm is likely on Monday, with snowfall amounts dependent upon the eventual strength and track of the storm. Have a safe and happy New Years weekend, and I’ll be back Sunday afternoon with more details on the Monday storm in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative.

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4 February 2024

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