Pagosa Weather OCTOBER SUMMARY and November outlook

Snowpack is off to a good start!

Monday – 1 Nov 2021 – 10:00am

October 2021 summary…

The average low for October is 26 and the average high is 63. The record high of 85 occurred on 14 Oct 1940. The record low of -5 occurred on 21 Oct 1910. October precip averages 2.27″ with 4″ of snow.

How did we do? Check out these charts…

Temps in October were up to 2 degrees below average
Temps in October were up to 2 degrees below average
Precip in October was up to 70% below average in the southern corners of Archuleta County and up to 150% above average in the northern part of the county.
Precip in October was up to 70% below average in the southern corners of Archuleta County and up to 150% above average in the northern part of the county.
October Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPE). This product estimates precip from various sources. It is not perfect, but it’s a decent source in data sparse areas like ours. This doesn't line up to well the product above.
October Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPE). This product estimates precip from various sources. It’s not perfect, but it’s a decent source in data sparse areas like ours. This doesn’t line up too well the product above.
CoCoRaHS October precip reports vary from 1.19″ to 1.81″ – all were below the average of 2.27″
CoCoRaHS October precip reports vary from 1.19″ to 1.81″ – all were below the average of 2.27″
 CoCoRaHS October snowfall reports vary from zero to 4.9″ – mostly below the average of 4″
CoCoRaHS October snowfall reports vary from zero to 4.9″ – mostly below the average of 4″
NWS mesonet October precip reports vary from 0.12" (doubtful data) to 1.91″ –  all were below the average of 2.27″
NWS mesonet October precip reports vary from 0.12″ (doubtful data) to 1.91″ all were below the average of 2.27″

Snowpack update…

Snowpack data this early in the season is easily skewed because averages are low. Zero precip or above average precip significantly impacts the overall numbers so take this data with a grain of salt.

Wolf Creek Ski Area has received 28" of snow so far this season.  The average for October is 26.7".
Wolf Creek Ski Area has received 28″ of snow so far this season. The average for October is 26.7″.
Snowpack looks good but keep in mind the data is easily skewed early in the season.
Snowpack looks good but keep in mind the data is easily skewed early in the season.
This is the more specific data for our nearby basins and is a good example of how the data can be skewed early in the season.  There are a bunch of zeroes and for the few places that have snow at the sensor, it doesn't take much to be above average.  

The Upper San Juan snotel has zero liquid equivalent so it's average is zero. The Wolf Creek Summit snotel has 3.1" liquid equivalent which is 155% of its 2.0" average.  Statistically there isn't enough data for these readings to mean much.
This is the more specific data for our nearby basins and is a good example of how the data can be skewed early in the season. There are a bunch of zeroes and for the few places that have snow at the sensor, it doesn’t take much to be above average.

The Upper San Juan snotel has zero liquid equivalent so it’s average is zero. The Wolf Creek Summit snotel has 3.1″ liquid equivalent which is 155% of its 2.0″ average. Statistically there isn’t enough data for these readings to mean much.

River flow…

San Juan River flow varied from a low of 40cfs on 5 Oct to a high of 105cfs on 9 Oct. Flow was mostly below the median all month (indicated by the dotted line).
San Juan River flow varied from a low of 40cfs on 5 Oct to a high of 105cfs on 9 Oct. Flow was mostly below the median all month (indicated by the dotted line).

Drought update…

Drought conditions across Archuleta County have remained nearly unchanged for the last month and range from “abnormally dry” in the northeast corner to “extreme” in the southwest corner. Reminder: Winter snow has far more impact on our drought conditions than summer rain.
Drought conditions across Archuleta County have remained nearly unchanged for the last month and range from “abnormally dry” in the northeast corner to “extreme” in the southwest corner. Reminder: Winter snow has far more impact on our drought conditions than summer rain.

November outlook…

The average low for November is 16 and the average high is 49. The record high of 75 occurred on 2 Nov 1945. The record low of -18 occurred on 17 Nov 1907. November precip averages 1.62″ with 11.6″ of snow. Wolf Creek averages 54.5″ of snow.

And here’s the outlook…

The Climate Prediction Center October temperature outlook indicates that we have a 50-60% chance for above average temps.
The Climate Prediction Center November temperature outlook indicates that we have a 50-60% chance for above average temps.
The Climate Prediction Center October precipitation outlook indicates that we are barely in the "equal chances" range  for average precip. We'll have to finish the month strong, because the first half of November looks pretty quiet.
The Climate Prediction Center November precipitation outlook indicates that we are barely in the “equal chances” range for average precip. We’ll have to finish the month strong, because the first half of November looks pretty quiet.
The Euro model 50 member ensemble 45-day precip for Pagosa shows 2.00″ to 2.50″ – above the 1.62″ average. Like I said above, the first half of November looks pretty quiet so we'll have to finish the month strong to get above average precip. Unfortunately I think we'll end up with below average precip in November.
The Euro model 50 member ensemble 45-day precip for Pagosa shows 2.00″ to 2.50″ – above the 1.62″ average. Like I said above, the first half of November looks pretty quiet so we’ll have to finish the month strong to get above average precip.

Unfortunately I think we’ll end up with below average precip in November.

Mark will do a forecast post later today. Thanks to all for your support and weather reports!

  • 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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