Pagosa Weather March & Winter precip & temp summary / Drought update & River Flow / April outlook…

27 Mar 2021 vs 31 Mar 2020

Get ready for a bunch of informative graphics!

Snowpack, drought, and river flow…

As of 31 March, snowpack across Colorado is at 93%. In our nearby basins, it’s 86%.
As of 31 March, snowpack across Colorado is at 93%. In our nearby basins, it’s 86%.
As of 31 March, the snotel data for our specific area is a bit more encouraging. The Upper San Juan is at 94% and the Wolf Creek Summit is at 101% for this date. If no more snow fell, Wolf Creek Summit would finish with 90% of their seasonal snow and the Upper San Juan would finish with 91%. That’s pretty good for a LaNina winter, but it doesn’t make much difference in our drought.

 

As of 31 March, the snotel data for our specific area is a bit more encouraging.  The Upper San Juan is at 94% and the Wolf Creek Summit is at 101% for this date.  If no more snow fell, Wolf Creek Summit would finish with 90% of their seasonal snow and the Upper San Juan would finish with 91%.  That’s pretty good for a LaNina winter, but it doesn’t make much difference in our drought.

This week’s drought map indicates that Archuleta County ranges from “severe drought” along the eastern half of the county to “exceptional drought” towards Arboles. We must get above average precip to see an improvement.
This week’s drought map indicates that Archuleta County ranges from “severe drought” along the eastern half of the county to “exceptional drought” towards Arboles. We must get above average precip to see an improvement.
The San Juan River flow is showing the beginning signs of spring run-off. It’s sneaking up on its median of 203cfs and looked a bit off color today.
The Piedra River flow also indicates a slight upward trend over the last few days. It has a lot further to go to its median of 463cfs.

The San Juan and Piedra Rivers have risen a bit in the last few days – a sign that spring run-off is starting.  The San Juan in town also  looked a bit off color today.

With warm temps expected through Monday, streams will be on the rise.

MARCH 2021 precip and temperature summary…

Percent of average temperature for March – Much of Archuleta County was within 1 degree of average while the northern part was 1-2 degrees above average.
Percent of average temperature for March – Much of Archuleta County was within 1 degree of average while the northern part was 1-2 degrees above average.
Percent of average precip for March – Much of Archuleta County was in the 75-100% range though the southwest part of the county didn’t fare as well with 50-75% of average.
Percent of average precip for March – the south central part of the county did the best with 90-100%
Our CoCoRaHS observers ranged from 1.03” near Echo Canyon Reservoir to 2.16” near Turkey Springs and Aspen Springs 2. The average March precip is 1.6”.
Our CoCoRaHS precip ranged from 1.03” near Echo Canyon Reservoir to 2.16” near Turkey Springs and Aspen Springs 2. The average March precip is 1.6”.
CoCoRaHS observed snowfall for February ranged from to 9.3” in Loma Linda to 24.3” in Lost Valley. The average snowfall for March is 15.1”.
CoCoRaHS observed snowfall for March ranged from to 9.3” in Loma Linda to 24.3” in Lost Valley. The average snowfall for March is 15.1”.

Wolf Creek started the month with 285″ YTD and reported 362″ YTD today to total 77″. That’s right on their March average of 77.8″.

WINTER 2020/2021 precip and temperature summary…

Though Wolf Creek’s season has a few days to go, it looks like they will finish their regular season with 362” – That’s 84% of their average of 430”.

The % of average of temps for the season show that the northeast part of Archuleta County was 2-3 degrees above average while the rest of the county was within a degree or two of average.
The % of average of temps for the season show that the northeast part of Archuleta County was 2-3 degrees above average while the rest of the county was within a degree or two of average.
The % of average of precip for the season shows that the western ¼ of Archuleta County struggled with 50-70% of their normal precip while the eastern ¼ of the county did decent with 90-100%.
The % of average of precip for the season shows that the western ¼ of Archuleta County struggled with 50-70% of their normal precip while the eastern ¼ of the county did decent with 90-100%.

Name and location

Type

Total precip

Missing days

Total snowfall

Missing days

PAGOSA SPRINGS 0.5 SSE

CoCoRaHS

7.62

13

0.0 (?)

47

PAGOSA SPRINGS 4.9 W

CoCoRaHS

7.97

9

4.8 (?)

38

PAGOSA SPRINGS 9.5 SSE

CoCoRaHS

6.27

5

57.2

8

PAGOSA SPRINGS 5.8 SSE

CoCoRaHS

7.06

15

59.0

23

PAGOSA SPRINGS 1.6 SSW

CoCoRaHS

8.13

9

67.0

21

PAGOSA SPRINGS 4.7 E

CoCoRaHS

7.81

3

76.7

5

PAGOSA SPRINGS 5.2 NNW

CoCoRaHS

8.08

45

83.9

61

PAGOSA SPRINGS 7.2 NW

CoCoRaHS

9.14

8

97.6

12

PAGOSA SPRINGS 8.5 WNW

CoCoRaHS

10.05

3

107.9

3

 

 

Historic Average

10.45

 

Historic Average

94.8

 

CoCoRaHS data for 1 Oct 2020 to 27 Mar 2021.  This data is from “trained” National Weather Service observers in Archuleta County.  Observers aren’t always able to take precip measurements and some only report when precip occurs (instead of reporting a bunch of zeros when there is no new precip).  That’s why I included the “missing days” columns.  The historic snow ratio is 9:1 which is a good place to start for the missing or questionable snow totals.  Examples: the first row has 7.62 total precip which would equal roughly 69” of snowfall.  7.97 in the second row would equal roughly 72” of snowfall. As the elevation rises towards 8,000ft, like the bottom three locations, the snow ratio is closer to 10:1.

APRIL Outlook…

The official April temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a chance for above average temps.
The official April temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a chance for above average temps.
The official April precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a chance for above average precip.
The official April precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a chance for below average precip.
The Euro 45 day ensemble precip for Pagosa Springs shows around an inch of precip for April, which is short of the April average of 1.36”.
The Euro 45 day ensemble precip for Pagosa Springs shows around an inch of precip for April, which is short of the April average of 1.36”.

My next forecast post will be sometime tomorrow.  Enjoy the nice spring weather!

 

– Shawn

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Shawn Pro

I’ve been a “weather geek” since I was young child. I joined the military out of high school and was lucky to get my dream job in weather. I have 20 years of military weather experience which includes forecasting the weather all over the world. Highlights were six years in Alaska and making life and death weather decisions during deployments. I love mountains, I love snow, and I love summertime thunderstorms. I spend a bunch of time playing outdoors and found my paradise in Pagosa Springs. I do Pagosa Weather as a community service. Hopefully you find us helpful!
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2 Responses

    1. Thanks Todd, but you’re on your own! These summaries take me hours and I’d rather be outside enjoying this great weather!

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