First snow of the season for Yampa Valley in the forecast this week | CraigDailyPress.com

First snow of the season for Yampa Valley in the forecast this week

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck/Steamboat Pilot & Today

You’ve got just a few days to dig out your parkas.

The first snow to reach the Yampa Valley floor is expected to fall Thursday.

First, we’ll see a couple more fall days. Monday and Tuesday are forecast to be sunny skies with highs in the mid- to upper-60s for both Routt and Moffat counties.

Wednesday will start out similar, with highs in the 60s and low 70s degrees and mostly sunny skies, but by the afternoon, there will be a 10 to 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service. That chance of rain turns into a chance of snow after midnight, with widespread frost overnight.

“We’ve had a taste of winter, but this is going to be very noticeable. Everybody is going to feel like Thursday’s going to be a wintry day,” said Mike Weissbluth, a Steamboat Springs meteorologist who runs snowalarm.com

While Weissbluth said snow on the valley floor was “likely,” just how much snow that will be is less certain. Right now, he predicts three to six inches of snow at lower elevations and six to 13 inches atop Mount Werner. Highs on Thursday are forecast to reach the upper 30s or low 40s. Temperatures will run 20 or more degrees below average Thursday and Friday.

The storm is currently brewing in the Gulf of Alaska, and it’s expected to mix with more cold, polar air before moving south to the Pacific Northwest Monday.

“We may have localized storm cells that could produce brief periods of moderate to heavy precipitation,” he said.

That might make for poor driving conditions over mountain passes and at lower elevations, Weissbluth said. Cold temperatures and snow are forecast for much of Northern Colorado and Denver, meaning travel could be difficult across the state.

The cold weather will also put an end to the growing season in any areas that haven’t already seen crops killed by frost.

The overnight low on Thursday is expected to be in the single digits. Friday morning, the snow will stop falling, but cold temperatures are expected to stick around. Weissbluth said temperatures on Friday morning could reach the single digits before warming up in the afternoon.

If you’re not ready for winter, you can breathe a sigh of relief after this storm. Once the front blows through, warmer temperatures are expected to return.

“I think this is a quick hitter,” Weissbluth said. “The air mass is going to be quite cold, so it’ll probably take some time to recover, but we should have sunshine on Friday, then warmer temperatures Friday afternoon and into the weekend and the following workweek.”