Snow possible every day this work week

Sunday, March 3, 2024

The temperature is near freezing in the town of Steamboat Springs and thirteen degrees at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort as a snow shower passes through this Sunday mid-afternoon. Snow showers associated with this storm will continue through Monday night before they may or may not stop for a time early Tuesday as moisture lingers behind the departing storm. But the next storm starting later Wednesday keeps chances for snowfall going through Thursday and most of Friday.

A broad and deep area of low pressure currently sits over the West, and a leading wave of moisture and energy that moved overhead starting Saturday evening brought eight inches of snow at mid-mountain and nine inches up top for this Sunday morning ski report.

Unfortunately, strong winds associated with this powerful storm brought gusts as high as 75 mph at the Storm Peak Lab Saturday at 8.45 pm and 64 mph at 1:50 pm this afternoon. Even as the storm rotates to our northeast, additional waves of energy and moisture will continue moving through the storm through Monday afternoon. It looks like another windy afternoon on Monday, though less windy than the last two days, with sustained winds as high as 25 mph and gusts twice that around and after noon.

But the snow showers will continue this overnight, and including the three inches that has already fallen this afternoon in the hour between 4 pm and 5 pm (including two inches in twenty minutes for a six inch per hour snowfall rate!), I would expect 5-10” of snow to be reported on the Monday morning mid-mountain ski report. Showers should continue through the day with an additional 2-5” expected, which would be reported Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, a small storm in the form of an eddy currently located underneath a ridge of high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to move eastward and force most of the current storm to the east as well. Lingering moisture behind the departing storm will allow light snow showers to form in the afternoon and evening leaving 1-4” of snow that would be reported Wednesday morning.

The eddy is forecast to move eastward and mix with some cold air on the western side of the current storm starting Monday night and continuing through the work week. As this occurs, the eddy loses its identity and evolves into a trough of low pressure as it moves through southern California or northern Baja and eventually the Desert Southwest.

Additional cold air from the northwest is forecast to continue mixing with the former eddy, and this keeps a broad, cool and unstable air mass overhead from Wednesday through Friday. There is some weather forecast model disagreement on whether the snow showers stop for a time on Wednesday, though snow showers look likely from later Wednesday through Friday and perhaps into Saturday morning.

There is also disagreement on whether we see some accumulating snowfall from these showers, and when the best accumulations occur. Unless the weather forecast models converge on a significant snowfall event that would be reported Thursday morning and demand a Wednesday update, enjoy the lionlike start to March and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

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30 April 2022

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