Wet avalanche issues will finally come to a halt today as colder air pours into the state. With the surface snow re-freezing, prior to new snow falling, our snowpack has "locked up" and for today we will shift back to dry avalanche issues.
Snow amounts of 2 to 4 inches, mainly in the Flat Tops, will not cause any avalanche concerns in sheltered areas. On southerly slopes in the Flat Tops, the wind may drift the new snow into slabs 8 to 10 inches thick. With slick and icy surfaces underneath, these slabs will not bond well to the older snow and will likely be sensitive to the weight of a rider. Any avalanche triggered in wind-drifted snow will be small, but these avalanches could be harmful if you are traveling in more extreme terrain. Very little snow has fallen from Steamboat north to the Wyoming border leaving us with no avalanche concerns in that part of the zone.
Looking at current satellite imagery, we will see some clearing this afternoon as the low-pressure system moves east into Kansas. Anytime we have a combination of new snow and the the strong March sun we could see some small Loose Wet avalanches. Colder air today may counteract the sun, but it is something to keep in mind while traveling in the backcountry today.
Additional small storms will roll through the state this week with minimal impacts to avalanche conditions in the Steamboat and Flat Tops zone. The pattern of a few inches of snow contributing to small Wind Slab avalanches and then a day of settled weather with warming and the possibility of small Loose Wet avalanches will continue for the next week or so. The best chance of any significant snowfall looks to be on next Tuesday morning.