8-16 inches of snow forecast for Summit, but other areas of the state could get much more
The Denver Post
More snow is coming to Colorado’s northern and eastern mountains thanks to a three-day storm cycle streaming Pacific moisture into the state, according to the OpenSnow snow forecasting and tracking service.
Steamboat Springs could receive 45 inches, and Bluebird Backcountry can expect 30 inches over a three-day period, OpenSnow founding meteorologist Joel Gratz forecast Tuesday morning.
“One of the reasons why three-day snow totals could be significant is that a lot of moisture from the Pacific Ocean will be flowing directly into Colorado,” Gratz wrote. “The most snow on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday should fall on mountains farther east and north. This includes Steamboat, Cameron Pass, Bluebird Backcountry, Rocky Mountain National Park, Eldora, Granby Ranch, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Jones Pass, Loveland, A-Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge and maybe Copper.”
Loveland, Winter Park, Granby Ranch and the Devil’s Thumb cross-country area are expecting 20 inches or more. Areas likely to receive a foot or more include Vail and the Snow Mountain Ranch cross-country area (19), Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Beaver Creek (18), and Eldora (14).
Popular backcountry terrain also will get slammed. Buffalo Pass near Steamboat could receive 53 inches, Gratz predicted, and Rabbit Ears Pass on the other side of Steamboat could receive 38 inches. Cameron Pass west of Fort Collins also should get more than 3 feet. Rocky Mountain National Park, Berthoud Pass and Loveland Pass are predicted to receive 20-22 inches.
High winds could cause low visibility and temporary lift closures, Gratz said. He predicted light to moderate snow Tuesday and Tuesday night, with the most intense snow coming Wednesday midday and Wednesday night.
“I think the majority of the best powder will be on Thursday morning,” Gratz wrote in his daily Colorado mountain summary, “since some or a lot of snow will fall after lifts close on Wednesday afternoon.”
In Summit County, the storm totals are more modest, with 8-16 inches expected for most ski areas along the Interstate 70 mountain corridor, according to OpenSnow meteorologist Sam Collentine.
Collentine added that “a few lucky areas that get caught under an intense snow band for an extended time on Wednesday night” could get upwards of 20 inches out of the multiday storm.
The extra snow and wind is expected to increase avalanche danger in the Vail and Summit zones, where the danger was rated as considerable (3 out of 5) Tuesday and forecast as the same Wednesday.
Summit County Search and Rescue Group spokesperson Charles Pitman cautioned not to discount considerable danger.
“You can find safer conditions by traveling on slopes less than about 30 degrees that are not connected to any steep slopes above,” the Colorado Avalanche Information Center report stated Tuesday.
The Summit Daily News contributed to this report.
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