Valley rain and mountain snow through Friday evening…

The Wolf Creek web cam at the base shows big ole snowflakes at 4:31pm. With temps at and slightly above freezing along with a warm ground, the snow is having trouble sticking.  That will change when the sun goes down!   Web cam capture on 9/30/2021

The Wolf Creek web cam at the base shows big ole snowflakes at 4:31pm. With temps at and slightly above freezing along with a warm ground, the snow is having trouble sticking.  That will change when the sun goes down!   Web cam capture on 9/30/2021

Thursday – 30 Sep 2021 – 5:00pm

Overall situation…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 58 and the low this morning was 38. The temp at 3pm is 47 – 23 degrees below the average high!  The peak wind at the airfield was 21mph. 

As of 3pm on Thursday, the snow level has dropped to Wolf Creek’s base, around 10,500ft.  That means it’s snowing on Wolf Creek Pass, but based on web cams, the snow is not sticking yet.

CoCoRaHS 24 hour precip reports vary from 0.02” to 0.19” across Archuleta County.
CoCoRaHS 24 hour precip reports vary from 0.02” to 0.19” across Archuleta County.
NWS mesonet 24 hour precip in Archuleta County varied from 0.02” to 0.08”.
NWS mesonet 24 hour precip in Archuleta County varied from 0.02” to 0.08”.

A closed low has developed over UT and will move over the Trinidad area by tomorrow afternoon. Lots of moisture is being drawn up from the south, lifted over our mountains, and falling as precip.  Precip will end tomorrow by midnight as the low moves into western KS.

Slightly cooler air than expected has already moved into the area so I adjusted my snow forecast below.

This weekend weak ridging will build over the area, but residual moisture and instability will kick up isolated afternoon showers and thunderstorms.

Water vapor satellite this afternoon: A closed low is spinning over west central UT and is expected to track along the black arrows.  There is a bunch of moisture streaming in from the south.
Water vapor satellite this afternoon: A closed low is spinning over west central UT and is expected to track along the black arrows.  There is a bunch of moisture streaming in from the south.
Radar this afternoon: Radar is not picking up all the precip falling in our area.  The large area of showers across northern NM will move through our area tonight.
Radar this afternoon: Radar is not picking up all the precip falling in our area.  The large area of showers across northern NM will move through our area tonight.

My forecast…

The rest of today and tomorrow… We’ll see lots clouds with showers and a spotty thunderstorm or two.  Precip will be pretty steady much of tonight. It will become more showery tomorrow morning and then ramp again tomorrow afternoon.  Precip will end by tomorrow at midnight. Patchy morning fog is likely. 

The snow level is currently around 10,500ft and will drop to 10,000ft Friday night.   

Snow totals by Friday at midnight:

10,000ft to 11,000ft: 2-4”

Above 11,000ft: 6-10”

** Wolf Creek Pass could be slick tonight, tomorrow night, and Saturday morning. **

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

Highs will be 50 to 60 and lows will be in the low 30s to low 40s.

NWS 66hr precip shows 0.80” in town and up to 1.50” in the mountains.
NWS 66hr precip shows 0.80” in town and up to 1.50” in the mountains.
NWS 66hr snow shows up to 10” above timberline.
NWS 66hr snow shows up to 10” above timberline.
Euro snow through Friday at midnight also shows up to 10” above timberline. Note the difference in the area of snowfall: bigger area on the Euro compared to the NWS.  This is because the Euro expects slightly colder air resulting in snow falling down to slightly lower elevations.  We’re already seeing that so I adjusted my snowfall forecast accordingly.
Euro snow through Friday at midnight also shows up to 10” above timberline. Note the difference in the area of snowfall: bigger area on the Euro compared to the NWS.  This is because the Euro expects slightly colder air resulting in snow falling down to slightly lower elevations.  We’re already seeing that so I adjusted my snowfall forecast accordingly.

Saturday through Monday… There will be spotty afternoon showers, mostly over the mountains, but we’ll see lots of sun and pleasant fall temps. There will be patchy thick fog Saturday morning. Highs will be in the lower to upper 60s and lows will be in the upper 20s to upper 30s.

Get out early Saturday to see fall colors back-dropped by snow-covered peaks!

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
7085 / 19573221 / 1985

My next post will be tomorrow, and I also plan to do a September summary post.  On Saturday’s post I’ll include precip totals for the week. Arleen plans to declare a winner for the monsoon season precip contest, and she hopes to announce the next contest. On Tuesday we’ll be discussing weather with Pagosa’s smart high school science students – we’re excited about that! Plus Arleen will be doing a winter outlook in the next week or two.  Busy busy busy here at Pagosa Weather!

– 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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One Response

  1. Good Morning Shawn:

    From yesterday through 7:25 am this morning the rain gauge shows 0.55 in. at our home in Twin Creek Village.

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