Update: It’s getting active

It's snowing heavily on Wolf Creek Pass

Snow is falling heavily on Wolf Creek Pass – 4/17/2021 at 1:38pm

Saturday – 17 Apr 2021 – 2:10pm

In the last hour a thunderstorm has moved through Durango and another is just south of Bayfield. The next 2-3 hours could be active for Archuleta County. Temps range in the mid-30s to mid-40s in the Pagosa area. Showers will drop those temps at least 5 degrees. Expect quick bursts of intense snow, small hail, poor visibility, isolated lightning, and gusty winds. Bring on the thundersnow!

Infrared satellite at 1:40pm.  I circled the areas of shower activity.  These areas are moving west and northwest
Infrared satellite at 1:40pm. I circled the areas of shower activity. These areas are moving west and northwest.
Area radar is picking up some the shower activity.  Keep in mind it can only detect showers and thunderstorms that go above 25,000ft.
Area radar is picking up some of the shower activity. Keep in mind it can only detect showers and thunderstorms that go above 25,000ft.
That's quite a bit of lightning just southeast of Bayfield at 1:50pm
That’s quite a bit of lightning just southeast of Bayfield at 1:50pm

If you see lightning or hear thunder, please let us know in a comment here or on Facebook. Thundersnow gets us pretty excited!

I might do another quick update today. Otherwise, my next post will be tomorrow morning.

– Shawn


Saturday – 17 Apr 2021 – 8:10am

Overall situation…

The low this morning at the airfield was 30 and it occurred right after midnight.  It’s currently 31.  We measured 0.6” of snow at 7:30am just north of Turkey Springs.  Based on the Wolf Creek Pass web cam, they got 2-3” so far.

Downtown Pagosa this morning
Wolf Creek Pass cam this morning
Wolf Creek Pass this morning. A big thanks to our road crews!

The upper level low is spinning over south-central Utah and will continue to slowly move south through Sunday. It will bring the best moisture, upper level dynamics, and colder air over our area today.

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the southwest San Juan Mountains for 5-10” of snow valid until 6pm Sunday. ***

Most of next week we will be in an in-between pattern.  I don’t see any big or well-organized weather systems, but isolated afternoon showers and a gradual warming trend look likely.

Water vapor shows an upper level low spinning over south-central Utah.  There is a nice band of clouds and snowshowers over our area.  The low will slowly move south over the next few days.
Water vapor shows an upper level low spinning over south-central Utah.  There is a nice band of clouds and snowshowers over our area.  The low will slowly move south over the next few days.

My forecast…

Today through Sunday evening… There will be more clouds and a decent chance for precip with the best chance for precip in the valley through this evening.  Thunderstorms are possible this afternoon and to a lesser extent during Sunday afternoon.

Precip this morning will be wet snow until around noon, and then switch to mixed below 7,500ft until around sunset, and then will change back to wet snow the rest of tonight. Sunday will see the same precip trend, but it will be more spotty.

High temps will be upper 30s to mid-40s and lows will be mid-20s to low 30s.  If clouds clear more than expected tonight, the cold spots will drop into the teens.  Winds should stay under 20mph, except isolated areas near strong showers or thunderstorms Saturday afternoon when 30mph is possible.

Forecast precip totals:

– Below 7,500ft: 1-2” of snow by noon today and then less than an inch tonight; 0.20” to 0.30” total liquid equivalent precip

– Above 7,500ft: 1-3” of snow by noon today and then less than an inch tonight; 0.25” to 0.35” total liquid equivalent precip

– In the mountains above 9,000ft: 6-10” of snow total with most of it falling today; 0.60” to 1.00” of total liquid equivalent precip

Sunday night will be chilly with lows flirting with a record.  Lows will be around 10 to the lower 20s.

The NWS 3-day precip shows 0.30” in town and 0.60” to 1.00” in our mountains.
The NWS 3-day precip shows 0.30” in town and 0.60” to 1.00 in our mountains.
The NWS 3-day snowfall shows 1-3” in the valley, and 6-12” in our mountains.
The NWS 3-day snowfall shows 1-3” in the valley, and 6-12” in our mountains.

Monday and beyond… Expect partly cloudy skies and isolated afternoon showers, mostly over the mountains.  We’ll see a gradual warming trend through the week, finally getting back to seasonal averages by Thursday.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
6175 / 19622510 / 1930

I’ll do a quick update later today. – 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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