“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” -Winston Churchill

Gray satellite image showing white cloud for Saturday morning

Saturday – 10 Apr 2021 – 10:45am

Reminder… 14 hours left to get your contest guess in for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate at 4 Corners Organics. These local gardening experts will set you up for success! Please make your entry on post from Monday evening, 5 April.

Overall situation…

It’s a beautiful clear, still Saturday morning.  There is no clue of the change to come later this afternoon and even bigger change to come in 60 hours.   

Yesterday’s high at the airport was 60 – a few degrees above average.  Lows were in the low 20s.  The diurnal temperature swing averaged nearly 40 degrees.  There were consistent gusts to 25-30mph throughout the area and winds were gusty from noon to 6pm yesterday. 

Avalanche Conditions for today are low.  The Red Flag Warning is not out today but it will out again tomorrow.

My forecast…

Today, 10 April…  High pressure is the dominate feature across the west this morning.  A finger of the subtropical jet is moving in from the west that will help the winds mix down to the surface this afternoon.  A weak upper level trough is moving in from the northwest.  This will help sustain our winds into the evening and keep our evening temperatures up.  Higher elevation areas might experience some gusty winds around midnight as that trough moves through.  

Skies will be partly cloudy with an array of cumulus, mid and high clouds as the trough moves towards us.  Temps will be warmer today with high temps in the low to mid 60s and lows in the mid 20s.  Winds today will be gusting up to 25mph.

Sunday through Monday…  The longwave ridge will weaken over the next two days.  We’ll still see lots of sun on Sunday but winds will gust up to 30mph.  On Sunday, look for cotton-ball cumulus clouds to develop and some upper level clouds to transition through.  On Monday, there will be a noticeable increase in clouds as the ridge weakens and moves west.   Temperatures will continue to be a little warmer than normal with low to mid 60s for highs.  Lows overnight will be in the low to mid 20s.

Monday night and Tuesday… The longwave trough will become the dominant feature and our upper level winds will be out of the southwest – a beautiful thing!  By Monday night the clouds will be firmly packed in here with a chance for showers.  The valley could see “rainflakes” during the coldest part of the night, otherwise it will be rain.  Our mountains above 9,000ft will get 2-4” of SNOW.  Highs will be mid to upper 50s and lows will be mid-20s to mid-30s.  Winds will peak the 20-25mph range.

The rest of the week we’ll see mostly cloudy skies and temperatures 5 to 10 degrees below normal.  There is a chance for showers again from Thursday to Saturday. 

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
5774 / 19072311 / 1991
850 MB 10 Apr 1200L
Forecasted Relative Humidity and winds for today
850 MB 13 Apr 1200L
Forecasted Relative Humidity and winds for Tuesday showing the higher moisture and southwest winds

Climate Prediction Center Update

“La Niña is still present at this time.  Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are below average from the west-central to eastern Pacific Ocean. The tropical atmospheric circulation is consistent with La Niña.”

However, “since early March 2021, negative anomalies weakened across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. There is a ~60% chance of a transition from La Niña to ENSO-Neutral during the Northern Hemisphere spring 2021 (April-June).”

La Niña sets up drier conditions for Pagosa.  We have been under this pattern since the fall.  Neutral conditions allow for the long wave pattern to transition.  Under neutral conditions, we should have over an inch of precip for the month of April and for the month of May. 

The timing could not be better.  We have already had a number of Red Flag warning days in the first few days of April.

April CPC Update
Graph showing the decrease in probability of La Nina and increase of Neutral ENSO in April/May/June

Shawn takes over tomorrow and he’ll have an update out tomorrow evening with more details.

– Arleen

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I grew up in Montana where my love of the mountains is rooted. I was in the Air Force, forecasting aviation weather, for 24 years. I had eight assignments and my favorites were Colorado, Alaska, Korea, and Germany. I deployed a number of times including to Iraq and Afghanistan. After RV traveling for nine years, we found paradise in Pagosa. Here we enjoy playing outside in the spectacular San Juan mountains!
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