Spotty afternoon showers tomorrow – Snow on Saturday!

It's been windy today!

It’s definitely been windy today!

Thursday – 15 Apr 2021 – 4:00pm

Overall situation…

The low this morning at the airfield was 36 and the high this afternoon was 56.  Peak winds so far today have been 66mph at the Wolf Creek summit, 40mph at the airfield, and we hit 38mph just north of Turkey Springs. I’ve seen reports in the low 40mph range. 

*** There is still a Red Flag Warning out until 8pm this evening. ***

The upper level low is now over western Wyoming with a weaker secondary low spinning over eastern Utah.  The little low over Utah is kicking up spotty showers in the Four Corners area this afternoon.  The main low will continue to move east, but the secondary low will wobble over the Four Corners region until Sunday afternoon.  That will bring the best moisture, upper level dynamics, and colder air over our area Saturday morning to Sunday morning. Most of the models show a little more precip with each data run.  I’m going to lean on the National Blend of Models – NBM – for precip amounts because it averages many of the models and looks reasonable at this point.

Water vapor shows the low over western Wyoming.  The satellite loop shows a small secondary circulation over eastern Utah and it’s kicking up showers in the Four Corners area.  We could see an isolated shower this afternoon/evening, especially over the mountains.  The little low is expected to slowly move south over the next few days.
Water vapor shows the main low over western Wyoming.  The satellite loop shows a small secondary circulation over eastern Utah and it’s kicking up showers in the Four Corners area.  We could see an isolated shower this afternoon/evening, especially over the mountains.  The little low is expected to slowly move south over the next few days.
Regional radar shows quite a bit of shower to our north.
Regional radar shows quite a bit of shower activity to our north.

My forecast…

Tonight through tomorrow… Winds will slowly subside this evening. We’ll see variable clouds and a chance for afternoon showers and an isolated thunderstorm or two. Rain, wet snow, graupel, small hail, gusty winds, and lightning are all possible with the stronger showers and thunderstorms, but it will be spotty. High temps will be upper 40s to low 50s and lows will be mid-20s to mid-30s. Peak winds will be 15-25mph near showers.

Early Saturday morning to Sunday evening… There will be more clouds and a decent chance for precip with the best chance for precip in the valley being Saturday morning to Sunday morning.  Thunderstorms are also possible Saturday afternoon. 

Precip Saturday morning will be wet snow with a dusting possible on cold surfaces.  From late Saturday morning to around sunset, precip will be mixed, and then will switch back to wet snow the rest of Saturday night. Sunday will see the same precip trend, but it will be more spotty.

Locations above 7,500ft could see 1-2” of snow by Sunday morning.  (Some models show 5-6” of snow in the higher parts of the valley, but I think temps near freezing and a warm ground will limit accumulations.) Our mountains above 9,000ft will get 8-12” total by Sunday evening with most of it falling Saturday morning to Sunday morning. High temps will be in the lower to upper 40s and lows will be mid-20s to low 30s.  Winds should stay under 20mph, except isolated areas near strong showers or thunderstorms Saturday afternoon when 30mph is possible.

The NBM precip through Sunday at midnight shows 0.25 to 0.50” over the valley and up to 1.00” in our mountains.  Most of the precip in our area will fall on Saturday and Saturday night. Most of the forecast models have gradually increasing precip amounts.
The NBM precip through Sunday at midnight shows 0.25 to 0.50” over the valley and up to 1.00” in our mountains.  Most of the precip in our area will fall on Saturday and Saturday night. Most of the forecast models have gradually increased precip amounts.
The NBM snowfall through Sunday at midnight shows 1-2” across the valley and 8-13” in our mountains.  Most of the snow will fall on Saturday morning to Sunday morning for the mountains and Saturday night in the valley.
The NBM snowfall through Sunday at midnight shows 1-2” across the valley and 8-13” in our mountains.  Most of the snow will fall Saturday morning to Sunday morning for the mountains and Saturday night in the valley.
The 4km resolution WRF snowfall through Sunday at 6pm shows 1-2” across the valley and mostly 10-15” in our mountains with a couple of bullseyes that are higher.  This model tends to over-forecast precip amounts, but occasionally nails it.  For now I will go with the NBM, but keep a close eye on this.
The 4km resolution WRF snowfall through Sunday at 6pm shows 1-3” across the valley and mostly 10-15” in our mountains with a couple of bullseyes that are higher.  This model tends to over-forecast precip amounts, but occasionally nails it.  For now I will go with the NBM, but keep a close eye on this.

Monday and beyond… The forecast models have been inconsistent about the pattern remaining active.  I don’t see any big or well-organized weather systems, but isolated afternoon showers and a gradual warming trend are possible.  My forecast confidence for next week is low.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
5975 / 19402410 / 1951

My next forecast post will be tomorrow afternoon.

– Shawn

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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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