Smoke and rain…


I shot this sunset with some cool virga yesterday evening at Vallecito Lake while conducting a photo workshop in Durango.

8-11-21: 3pm update…

While not as bad as a few days ago, our smoke is unfortunately back again. The Dixie fire in northern CA is still responsible for most of the smoke, but it’s probably being enhance by the 900 acre Amargo fire to our south (west of Dulce, NM) that started over the weekend due to lightning.

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Here is the latest graphic from “Air Now”. While the worst of the smoke is to our north, we are still getting plenty. Some of our smoke may also be coming from the Amargo fire to our south near Dulce.
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The latest HRRR model shows more smoke will be around on Thursday as well.
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While we are seeing some pop-up storms this afternoon, most of the activity is staying in Arizona and New Mexico. An upper level low in Arizona has been almost stationary over the past couple of days.
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2:45pm radar shows some pretty strong pop-up storms forming this afternoon to the NE and SE of town and one to the west of Durango.

Based on the latest model runs and reading weather summaries from NWS forecasters in Grand Junction and Albuquerque, it appears that our atmosphere will slowly transform into the monsoonal flow that has had a hard time initiating this year. While we had a great July rainfall wise, it was not our typical monsoon pattern. This will be a slow conversion, but it does look like a monsoon setup will be in place by this weekend.

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The 3 day NWS rainfall forecast continues to look positive for our area. We should see these totals start ramping up by this weekend.
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The latest 10 day EURO model run does a good job illustrating that our monsoon season will return starting this weekend.

My forecast…

The rest of today…A slight chance for afternoon thunderstorms (good luck seeing them) with highs in the low 80’s under partly cloudy skies. Storms will move very little so if one does form over you, you could see a quick quarter of an inch of rain or more. Winds will be from the SSW from 10-15 mph with some gusts over 20mph in the afternoon. Any storms that do develop will have the potential to produce wind gusts over 30mph and lightning. Rain totals will range from 0-0.20.

Thursday-Saturday: Continued scattered storms each afternoon with continued smoke. Look for lows in the 40’s and highs in the low to mid 80’s. Rain odds will increase as we move closer to the weekend. Winds will be 10-15 mph with some gusts over 20mph in the afternoons. Any storms that do develop will have the potential to produce wind gusts over 30mph and lightning. Rain totals will range from 0-0.30 through the period. As usual, there will be rain lottery winners and losers!

-Mark Langford

Check out my Pagosa Peak Cam ( for watching hikers, bikers and of course, the weather.

Pagosa Springs historical data for August 11th.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
8294 / 19404632 / 1974

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