From Steamboat Today (Scott Franz):
[Joe Ramey, a meteorologist and climate expert at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction] is predicting the return of a weak El Niño this year, a climate pattern that typically has major winter storms track south of Interstate 70 and favor the San Juan Mountains. “I would suggest (skiers) take full advantage of the powder days and not take them for granted this season,” Ramey said. “The tendency (during El Niño years) is for snowstorms to be few and far between in Steamboat. But there are lots of ways for my climate prediction to be wrong.”
He said El Niño could cede to neutral conditions as early as January, a weather pattern Ramey said is more unpredictable and could bring an abundance of snowfall to Northwest Colorado, or a lack of it. Ramey bases his annual winter forecasts on snowfall data going back to 1950 and following the state of El Niño…
Ramey said the study of El Niño and La Niña is the best way to try and develop an early winter forecast. “Dynamic climate models and statistical climate models still are not as effective as looking at the state of El Niño and following those patterns,” he said. While the rising Pacific Ocean temperatures currently spell bad news for Steamboat’s ski season, Ramey said time always can prove the predictions wrong and reverse Steamboat Ski Area’s fortunes.