Precipitation to restart tonight and continue through Easter weekend

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Temperatures are around forty degrees in Steamboat Springs and low twenties near the top of the Steamboat Resort under cloudy skies late this Thursday morning. A large and complex storm system will begin affecting our area tonight and bring periods of snow on the hill and snow turning to a rain-snow mix or even all rain in town through Easter weekend and into the following week.

A storm currently located over the Pacific Northwest has already brought as much as a foot of snow to some resorts along the West Coast. The storm is seasonably warm and is forecast to elongate along the coast through the weekend as additional energy and cool air drops into the backside of the storm.

Winds will shift to be from the southwest by this afternoon producing a nearly stationary warm front that is forecast to be over our area from tonight through Friday night. Energy and moisture ejecting out of the parent storm will travel along the front and be accompanied by snow showers starting tonight and continuing into Saturday morning.

Even though temperatures are warm and winds are from an unfavorable southwest direction, storm energy traveling over the stalled warm front should bring bands of moderate to even heavy snow showers which may be persistent. I would expect 2-5” of snow by the Friday morning ski report at mid-mountain and another 2-5” of increasingly dense snow during the day as temperatures reach the upper twenties on the hill and near forty degrees in town, which is around ten degrees below our in-town average high temperature of 49 F.

Weather forecast models agree that the warm front will lift to our north by Saturday, reducing or even eliminating showers during the day. There is some uncertainty around the precipitation Friday night though, with amounts in the 1-4” range currently possible on the hill and a rain-snow mix likely in town.

There is also a fair bit of uncertainty in the weather forecast for Saturday night as some cool air from the north skirts our area and may push the warm front back southward over our area. Right now, I would guess 2-5” of snow is possible for the Sunday morning mid-mountain ski report if that occurs.

There is a bit more certainty for Sunday, though, as the West Coast storm begins to move eastward and interacts with another push of cool air from the north during the day. The coolest air will likely not make it to our area until later Sunday, so I would expect 1-4” during the day on the hill and a rain-snow mix or even all rain in town for a soggy Easter Sunday, and possibly more substantial snow Sunday night.

Our forecast for Monday will depend upon the evolution of the storm and how much cool air from the north will be over our area, so I will defer snowfall guesses for Sunday night and Monday until my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon. Otherwise, there is weather forecast model agreement that the main part of the storm will clear our area by Tuesday, even as a piece of the storm is left behind over the Desert Southwest, bringing warming temperatures and mostly sunny skies that are currently forecast to last through the remainder of the work week.

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11 April 2018

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