Spring snowstorm ahead of nice weekend
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Temperatures are in the mid-forties in the town of Steamboat Springs and upper twenties near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort under partly sunny skies on this windy Thursday at noon. After a beautiful spring day yesterday, winter returns this afternoon with significant snows continuing into Friday night as a cold spring snowstorm moves overhead. The weekend should be beautiful with a cool Saturday followed by warming temperatures for Sunday.
Before discussing the upcoming spring snowstorm, I’d like to note we did end up tying the all-time coldest high temperature last Monday on 27 March 2023, originally set in 1931.
Currently, another cold storm with Siberian origins is crossing the Great Basin, with strong and gusty winds from the southwest and south ahead of the storm now overhead. A strong cold front is forecast to move though the area this mid-afternoon with a burst of snow and rapidly falling temperatures. Snow will fall in the valley, with difficult driving conditions over Rabbit Ears Pass lasting through Friday thanks to snowfall rates as high as an inch per hour at times and blowing snow.
Winds should switch to be from the southwest and south ahead of the storm to the west as the storm moves overhead tonight and then our favorable northwest direction by tomorrow. I would expect 5-10” of snow on the Friday morning mid-mountain report, with another 5-10” falling during the day as orographic, or terrain-driven, snowfall continues as the winds lift the air mass up and over the Park Range. While the bulk of the snowfall should fall tonight and during the day tomorrow, snow showers should continue in the favorable cold, moist and unstable northwest flow through midnight on Friday with another 1-4” possible.
Temperatures should fall to near ten degrees up top by Friday morning and only warm into the teens, with high temperatures in town in the low thirties, about fifteen degrees below our average of 47 F.
Mostly sunny skies should return on Saturday as a transient ridge of high pressure moves across the West, lifting temperatures to the upper twenties on the hill and low forties in town. Temperatures will warm further toward fifty degrees on Sunday in town and thirties near the top of the hill with some passing clouds for a nice weekend.
Another storm quite similar to the Friday storm, but likely colder, is forecast to start later Monday and last through midweek, so winter is certainly not done with us yet. Enjoy the powder on Friday and what should be a beautiful weekend, and I’ll be back Sunday afternoon with more details about our next spring snowstorm.