More rain through Wednesday – not so sure after that…

‘Red sky in the morning’ and patchy fog – both good signs for wet weather!  Pic taken 9/27/2021

‘Red sky in the morning’ and patchy fog – both good signs for wet weather!  Pic taken 9/27/2021

Monday – 27 Sep 2021 – 9:45am

Overall situation…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 68 and the low this morning was 46. The peak wind at the airfield was 28mph.  I actually have precip to report!

CoCoRaHS 24 hour precip reports vary from 0.20” to 0.40”.
CoCoRaHS 24 hour precip reports vary from 0.20” to 0.40”.
27 Sep 2021 am NWS mesonet 24hr precip
NWS mesonet 24 hour precip in Archuleta County vary from 0.16” to 0.53”. 

The cut-off low is spinning over west central NM and moving slowly northeast.  It will move over the Trinidad area tomorrow morning.  There is plenty of moisture and instability for showers and thunderstorms today and tomorrow.  Wednesday moisture will be decreasing but instability will still be high as the upper level trough moves through, so we’ll see another round of afternoon showers and thunderstorms.  The best chance for snow on our mountain tops will be Wednesday as slightly cooler air moves in with the trough.

The models still disagree with the next low that could impact us Thursday through Saturday. The GFS shows split energy missing us to both the north and south which would give us just a few scraps while the usually more reliable Euro tracks the low across central NM and keeps us pretty wet (see the Wolf Creek meteograms below).  For now I’ll stay optimistic and go with the Euro.

Water vapor satellite this morning: The low is spinning over west central NM and moving slowly northeast.  It’s expected to move over the Trinidad area tomorrow morning.
Water vapor satellite this morning: The low is spinning over west central NM and moving slowly northeast.  It’s expected to move over the Trinidad area tomorrow morning.
Radar this morning: A few showers are moving along the southern boarder of Archuleta County this morning.  Otherwise, radar is fairly inactive.  That will change as the region warms up today. Showers and thunderstorms will move roughly east to west today.
Radar this morning: A few showers are moving along the southern boarder of Archuleta County this morning.  Otherwise, radar is fairly inactive.  That will change as the region warms up today. Showers and thunderstorms will move roughly east to west today.

My forecast…

Today through Wednesday… We’ll see lots of clouds with scattered showers and thunderstorms, especially in the afternoons and evenings.  I expect accumulating snow to stay above timberline.  By late Wednesday peaks over 12,000ft could have 3-6” of snow.

Winds will peak around 20mph, though convective gusts to 35mph near showers and thunderstorms are possible.

Highs will be in the lower to upper 60s and lows will be in the upper 30s to upper 40s.

NWS 72hr precip shows 0.60” in town and around 1.00” in the mountains.
NWS 72hr precip shows 0.60” in town and around 1.00” in the mountains.
Euro snow through Wednesday at midnight shows up to 3” in our mountains.  Other models expect temps to stay warmer resulting in no snow.  I expect a few inches to accumulate above 12,000ft by late Wednesday.
Euro snow through Wednesday at midnight shows up to 3” in our mountains.  Other models expect temps to stay warmer resulting in no snow.  I expect a few inches to accumulate above 12,000ft by late Wednesday.

Thursday through Saturday… Forecast confidence is still low for this period.  For now I expect the wet pattern to continue with scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms.  The snow level will drop slightly to 11,500ft with another few inches of snow possible.

High temps will be in the upper 50s to mid-60s and lows will be in the lower 30s to lower 40s.

Meteograms provide a lot information in one chart and are very easy to compare.  Below are the GFS and Euro meteograms for Wolf Creek.  I point out the differences in the notes.

First the GFS meteogram for Wolf Creek:  It has no precip after Wednesday (indicated with the ‘?’s). The 10-day precip total is 0.2” with zero snow (indicated by the red box in the lower the right corner).   High temps are mostly in the mid to upper 50s (indicated by the yellow box).
First the GFS meteogram for Wolf Creek: It has no precip after Wednesday (indicated with the ‘?’s). The 10-day precip total is 0.2” with zero snow (indicated by the red box in the lower the right corner). High temps are mostly in the mid to upper 50s (indicated by the yellow box).
Second is the Euro meteogram for Wolf Creek:  It has precip every day of the 10-day period. The 10-day precip total is 1.6” with 4” snow (indicated by the red box in the lower the right corner).   High temps are mostly in the mid-40s to lower 50s (indicated by the yellow box).
Second is the Euro meteogram for Wolf Creek:  It has precip every day of the 10-day period. The 10-day precip total is 1.6” with 4” snow (indicated by the red box in the lower the right corner).   High temps are mostly in the mid-40s to lower 50s (indicated by the yellow box).

This is a BIG difference that does not instill forecast confidence!  In this case, both scenarios are possible.  The Euro has a better track record so I will lean towards it for now.  Let’s all cheer for the Euro!

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
7082 / 19633213 / 1993

My next post will be tomorrow.

– 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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