Our low is giving me a headache…

3-10-21: 3:30pm Update…

Pagosa Springs Climatology

The average high for this date is 49 and the record high of 69 occurred in 1989. The average low is 17 and the record is -2 which occurred in 1958.


Wolf Creek picked up 4 inches of snow last night and most of us in the valley either had under an inch of snow or rain showers.

Continued slightly below temperatures (teens for lows and highs in the upper 30’s) with a chance each day and evening for scattered snow showers as impulses from the low to our west trigger some convective activity. The mountains will see the greatest snow totals over the next couple of days thanks to upslope winds.

3 day snow 1
Forecast snow totals through Friday.

Our low has a mind of its own:

Low direction
Latest forecast track of our 500mb closed low.

Since my last post yesterday afternoon, the models are starting to get a better grip on what direction the 500mb closed low of the Pacific coast will be traveling over the next four days. Unfortunately, its looking like this low is wanting to take a more northerly course than earlier thought, lowering our potential snow totals to roughly half of what the models were predicting just 24 hours ago. On a positive note, the high snow totals for the front range have shifted north into Wyoming and Nebraska now (not that they are going to be happy) as indicated in the latest NWS Blend of models for that region. They will still likely see a major storm, but these snow totals are much more manageable.

Snow north
High snow totals have shifted to the north.

Based on the latest potential track of this storm, we will not be tapping into as much SW flow as originally thought nor for as long a period of time. As it looks now, our heavier snow window may only be from midnight on Friday through Saturday morning as the low quickly moves east of us, then slows a bit just to our east. This trajectory sends not only Pacific moisture into the front range, but even some Gulf moisture. We will see some wrap-around from Saturday afternoon through Sunday, but with those pesky mountains to our east, much of it will be blocked. The good news is that Wolf Creek should still do pretty well even with this new track.

Low Friday Night
Where our low will be hanging out on Friday night. This will be our best chance for tapping into Pacific moisture.

Below are some of the latest snow forecast model runs. As I mentioned yesterday, the red dot is approximately where Pagosa Springs is. I have circled the snow forecast range depending on where you live in the area.

Latest model run for CO from the NWS Blend of Models for snow totals.
Euro 1
Latest model run for CO from the Euro for snow totals.
Latest model run for CO from the GFS for snow totals.

As of today here is what I’m forecasting for our snow totals from Wednesday-Sunday:

The valley: 2-4 inches

Near the mountains: 3-6 inches

Our mountains: 10-15 inches

-Mark Langford

Pagosa Weather Blizzard Level Sponsor

Pagosa Weather Storm Sponsor

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