First snow arrives in Northwest Colorado |

First snow arrives in Northwest Colorado


A colorful tree basks in a quick burst of sunlight Monday as the first snow is revealed on Storm Peak. Send your photos of Steamboat's first snowfall to
Scott Franz

— As the dark gray clouds over Steamboat began to break up by 10:30 a.m. Monday, accumulated snow was visible just below the Four Point summit at 9,700 feet at Steamboat Ski Area. A glimpse of Sand Mountain about 25 miles north of the city also revealed fresh snow accumulation.

Submit your photos of Steamboat’s first taste of snow for the season to

The National Weather Service is expecting skies to brighten significantly Monday and Tuesday with temperatures reaching the low 70s by Tuesday before a rainy pattern returns to the Yampa Valley Wednesday.

Casey Bork at the Clark Store described the snow on Sand Mountain as a “dusting” and added that there is definitely fresh snow in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area.

Local weather observer Art Judson reported .56 inches of rain from the overnight storm as of 7 a.m. Monday, bringing his unofficial month-to-date total to 4.11 inches. Average September precipitation here is 2.19 inches.

Now that the first snow has arrived in Northwest Colorado, it’s tempting to wonder how much snow this month’s precipitation would have yielded if this were, say, December instead of September.

It’s not possible to know with precision because, as everyone who appreciates champagne powder knows, there is dry snow, and there is wet snow. However, Judson was willing to take a stab at it.

Based on thousands of readings recorded at his weather station between downtown and the mountain, and at Dry Lake at the foot of Buffalo Pass, he landed on an average snow density of .08. Dividing 4.11 by .08 and rounding off the result yields 51.4 inches of presumptive snow.

Monday’s rainfall in Steamboat was lower than in some other locations in Routt County. An automated weather station at Dry Lake recorded .72 inches of rain, and there was .77 inches recorded in The Sanctuary subdivision. The automated Porcupine site 19 miles south of Rabbit Ears Pass recorded .85 inches of rain.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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