Wintry weather to return tonight and last through midweek

Sunday, May 5, 2024

A windy day with overcast skies and temperatures in the mid-sixties is over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday mid-afternoon. The winds are in advance of a strong cold front that will start snow at all elevations around midnight tonight and continue accumulating snowfall through Tuesday, even in town. While most of the precipitation will be over by later Tuesday, cool temperatures and showery weather will continue through the work week and into next weekend.

Today will be the warmest day of the week as winds from the south increase ahead of a powerful winterlike storm that brought 26” of snowfall to Palisades Tahoe as of the morning ski report. The center of the storm is currently entering northern Utah, and in advance of the storm we are seeing strong winds and warm temperatures in the mid-sixties, which is about five degrees above our average of 61 F.

Wintry weather returns with a vengeance around midnight tonight as the cold front associated with the storm sweeps through the area. Moderate to heavy snowfall with rates over an inch per hour at times should leave 3-6” at mid-mountain at the now-closed Steamboat Resort and an inch or two in town by early Monday morning.

Another 3-6” should fall on the hill during the day Monday, and with high temperatures in town twenty degrees below average and only around forty degrees, another inch or two could fall in town with continued very strong winds from the west. As cold as that is, it looks like the record of 37 F in 1978 for the coldest high temperature in town is safe, but not by a lot!

While we should see the snows subside or even end by Monday night, the weather will not improve on Tuesday as energy slingshot around a second very cold storm in the Gulf of Alaska brings another round of snowfall to our area. With temperatures in town still mired near forty degrees, another 3-6” should fall on the hill with another inch or two in town.

While the bulk of the precipitation should be over by Tuesday night, the cold will linger as the Monday storm is forced to rotate back to the west thanks to a stout ridge of high pressure extending from the Midwest back towards British Columbia. Waves of energy still rotating around the storm will keep those forty-degree high temperatures around on Wednesday with some occasional light showers.

Unusually, the weather forecast models have the initial storm continuing to move slowly westward before forecasting some of it to move southward back into the Great Basin on Wednesday. While the exact track of the storm will determine whether we see more precipitation, temperatures are forecast to slowly warm to around fifty degrees on Thursday and mid-fifties by Friday with generally unsettled weather lasting into the beginning of the weekend.

But I expect changes to that forecast during the week, so relish the upcoming May snowstorm and be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for details on what we may expect for Mother’s Day weekend.

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2 May 2019

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