Snow is on the way! Plus some weather geek discussion…

Morning view towards the southwest. Mid cloud 5, altocumulus clouds progressively invading the sky – a sign that a system is moving this way. Pic taken 11/23/2021

Morning view towards the southwest. Mid cloud 5, altocumulus clouds progressively invading the sky – a sign that a system is moving this way. Pic taken 11/23/2021

Tuesday – 23 Nov 2021 – 9:05am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 57 and the low this morning was 20. The cold spots dipped into the lower to mid-teens. The peak wind at the airfield in the last 24 hours was 8mph.

There was no precip in the last 24 hours.

Forecast discussion…

A system will move through tonight and tomorrow giving us more clouds and some precip. The system isn’t well organized so precip will be on the lower end.

Thanksgiving through Sunday ridging and drier northwest flow will give us pleasant weather.

Water vapor satellite this morning: Moisture and clouds are increasing from the southwest.  The system to the northwest will stay to our north while the one to the southwest will move just far enough north to give us some precip.
Water vapor satellite this morning: Moisture and clouds are increasing from the southwest.  The system to the northwest will stay to our north while the one to the southwest will move just far enough north to give us some precip.
Radar this morning: Precip is falling over parts of AZ and moving this way.  At 8am Flagstaff was at 40 degrees and raining – a good sign for us!
Radar this morning: Precip is falling over parts of AZ and moving this way.  At 8am Flagstaff was at 40 degrees and raining – a good sign for us!

My forecast…

Today to tomorrow night… Clouds will increase through the day.  The first spotty showers will develop over the mountains this afternoon and over the valley after sunset. Initially the snow level will be around 8,000ft and then gradually drop to 6,500ft overnight.  The bulk of the snow will fall between late this evening and sunrise tomorrow. Spotty showers will linger into tomorrow afternoon in the valley and into the evening over the mountains.

The high temps today will be 50-55 and tonight lows will be in the 20s.  It will be cooler tomorrow with highs in the lower to mid-40s and lows Thanksgiving morning will be mostly in the 5 to 15 degree range… brrrr!

Snow amounts:

– Valley: 0.5” to 1.5”

– Mountains: 3-6”

NWS snowfall to Thursday at 5pm shows 0.4” for Pagosa and up to 6” in our mountains.
NWS snowfall to Thursday at 5pm shows 0.4” for Pagosa and up to 6” in our mountains.
Euro 500mb vorticity on the left and moisture on the right at 11pm tonight: These are two of our most valuable forecasting tools.  I look at them twice a day.

500mb flow and moisture, on the right, indicates moist southwest flow into our area - just what we want. Unfortunately the best moisture band is only over us from roughly 11pm to 6am.

500mb is roughly 18,000ft.  Vorticity, on the left, indicates spinning in the atmosphere.  Positive vorticity, the yellows, oranges, and reds, indicates upwards vertical motion and storm energy. In this case there is a trough to the northwest and another to the southwest. Neither are well organized – positive vorticity advection (storm energy) is weak in our area.
Euro 500mb vorticity on the left and moisture on the right at 11pm tonight: These are two of our most valuable forecasting tools.  I look at them twice a day. 500mb is roughly 18,000ft. 

Vorticity, on the left, indicates spinning in the atmosphere.  Positive vorticity, the yellows, oranges, and reds, indicates upwards vertical motion and storm energy. In this case there is a trough to the northwest and another to the southwest. Neither are well organized – positive vorticity advection (storm energy) is weak in our area.

500mb flow and moisture, on the right, indicates moist southwest flow into our area – just what we want. Unfortunately the best moisture band is only over us from roughly 11pm to 6am.
NAM forecast radar from 1pm today to 6am Thanksgiving morning: A solid band of precip moves through our area tonight and then by sunrise tomorrow hit and miss showers persist through the day.
NAM forecast radar from 1pm today to 6am Thanksgiving morning: A solid band of precip moves through our area tonight and then by sunrise tomorrow hit and miss showers persist through the day.

** Wolf Creek Pass will be slick tonight and tomorrow.  Also keep an eye on I25 from roughly Las Vegas NM to Colorado Springs tomorrow.  Raton Pass and Le Veta Pass could both have periods with poor driving conditions. **

Thanksgiving through Sunday… We’ll see quite a bit of sun with occasional periods of mid and high clouds.  I don’t expect any precip.

On Thanksgiving highs will be in the lower to upper 40s and lows will be in the upper single digits to the upper teens.  Friday through Sunday highs will be in the lower to mid-50s and lows will be the lower teens to lower 20s.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4566 / 194312-2 / 1972

For those of you who like to “hear” our forecast, we are experimenting with a “dial up and text” forecast. Call 877-841-0247 and give it a try!

I’ll do posts daily through Thanksgiving.

– 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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