Pagosa Weather NOVEMBER SUMMARY and December outlook

Snowpack for Colorado

Thursday – 1 Dec 2021 – 6:20pm

November 2021 summary…

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.

How did we do? Check out these charts…

Temps in October were up to 2-6 degrees above average
Temps in November were 2-6 degrees above average
Precip in November was more than 75% below average for most of Archuleta County
Precip in November was more than 75% below average for most of Archuleta County
November 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. Precip was below 0.50" for the entire county.
November 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. Precip was below 0.50″ for the entire county.
CoCoRaHS November precip reports vary from 0.18″ to 0.61″ – all were below the average of 1.62″
CoCoRaHS November precip reports vary from 0.18″ to 0.61″ – all were below the average of 1.62″
CoCoRaHS November snowfall reports vary from zero to 2.8″ – well below the average of 11.6″
CoCoRaHS November snowfall reports vary from zero to 2.8″ – well below the average of 11.6″
NWS mesonet November precip reports vary from 0.26″ to 0.50″ - well below the average of 1.62″
NWS mesonet November precip reports vary from 0.26″ to 0.50″ – well below the average of 1.62″

Snowpack update…

Wolf Creek Ski Area only received 8″ of snow in November to total 36" so far this season. That's well below the average of 54.5" for November and 81.2" to this point of the season.
Wolf Creek Ski Area only received 8″ of snow in November to total 36″ so far this season. That’s well below the average of 54.5″ for November and 81.2″ to this point of the season.
Snowpack is behind average across the state and way behind average in southwest Colorado.
Snowpack is behind average across the state and way behind average in southwest Colorado.
Most of the western US is well below average
Snowpack for most of the western US is well below average
The snotel table has more specific information. The Upper San Juan snotel has 1.3" liquid equivalent which is 25% of its 5.1″ average. . The Wolf Creek Summit snotel has 4.2″ liquid equivalent which is 53% of its 7.9″ average.
The snotel table has more specific information. The Upper San Juan snotel has 1.3″ liquid equivalent which is 25% of its 5.1″ average. . The Wolf Creek Summit snotel has 4.2″ liquid equivalent which is 53% of its 7.9″ average.

River Flow…

San Juan River flow varied from a low of 37cfs on 22 Nov to a high of 76cfs on 1 Nov. Flow was below the median all month (indicated by the dotted line).
San Juan River flow ranged from a low of 37cfs on 22 Nov to a high of 76cfs on 1 Nov. Flow was below the median all month (indicated by the dotted line).

Drought update…

Drought conditions across Archuleta County have remained 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 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.

December outlook…

The average low for December is 5 and the average high is 39. The record high of 70 occurred on 3 Dec 1906. The record low of -35 occurred on 19 Dec 1909. December precip averages 1.89″ with 22.6″ of snow. Wolf Creek averages 78.7″ of snow in December and 159.9″ to this point in the season.

And here’s the outlook…

The Climate Prediction Center December temperature outlook indicates that we have a 50-60% chance for above average temps.
The Climate Prediction Center December temperature outlook indicates that we have a 50-60% chance for above average temps.
The Climate Prediction Center December precipitation outlook indicates that we have “equal chances” for average precip.
The Climate Prediction Center December precipitation outlook indicates that we have “equal chances” for average precip.
The Euro model 50 member ensemble 45-day snowfall for Pagosa shows 18″ to 20″ by 30 December – slightly below the 22.6″ average.
The Euro model 50 member ensemble 45-day snowfall for Pagosa shows 18″ to 20″ by 30 December – slightly below the 22.6″ average.

And what do I expect? We’ll see above average temps and average precip.

A HUGE pat on the back to Arleen for nailing the winter outlook so far. She posted the following on 15 October:

“Pagosa Weather winter forecast for Pagosa and Wolf Creek is that we will have below average snow for the rest of October, November, and into December. In December, the MJO will counteract the affect of the La Nina. Wolf Creek will have good snowfall for the holidays.”

A HUGE thanks for your precip reports and pictures! Reports help verify our forecasts and make us better forecasters.

Another HUGE thanks to our donors and sponsors! You help cover the cost of this web page and our weather subscriptions, necessary to provide you accurate weather reports!

If your business is interested in sponsoring Pagosa Weather, please send us an email at pagosaweather@gmail.com.

Donors can go to this PayPal link: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/PagosaWeather

Thanks again!

  • Shawn

Pagosa Weather Blizzard Level Sponsor

Pagosa Weather Storm Sponsor

Shawn Pro

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!
Get Pagosa Weather Updates

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

3 Responses

  1. Shawn, I appreciate the monthly updates as much as any content on the site, so please don’t let this discourage you, but if I’m not understanding this wrong, there’s a mischaracterization of the data here.

    The caption for the precipitation graph: “Precip in November was less than 25% below average for most of Archuleta County”

    Less than 25% below average would be close to average. More than 75% below average is what the data appear to show. Or below the threshold of 25% average precipitation, which is likely what you meant.

    Unrelated, from memory, the drought categories seem to have slowly/slightly improved over the last year in Archuleta County, but we also had below average winter snow and monsoon rain this year. This leaves me wondering:
    Is average or below average precipitation enough to somewhat abate worse drought conditions?
    And above average precip would simply bring relief faster?
    How far below average did the precipitation have to be previously to cause the drought from whenever we were last in normal conditions?
    How much of the snowfall melts and is absorbed by the ground rather than evaporating in the sun?

    Maybe someone could do a post on some of these ideas at some point. Thanks for the blog!

    1. Bob, thanks so much for the feedback and wonderful questions!

      I agree that November precip was “more than 75% below average” – good catch. It’s been corrected on the web page.

      Drought conditions…

      I just compared current drought conditions to last year’s at this time. Your memory is accurate. Conditions are slightly better this year.

      To answer your questions: “Is average or below average precipitation enough to somewhat abate worse drought conditions?
      And above average precip would simply bring relief faster?” There are a whole bunch of variables and caveats, but generally below average precip worsens drought conditions, average precip maintains drought conditions, and above average precip improves drought conditions. The timing, length of time, and type of precip are three of the main variables. Examples: An above average monsoon does not have as much impact as above average snowpack. A cool moist spring that helps snowpack last well into June is very beneficial while a dry warm spring with most of the snowpack gone in May is detrimental. The length and severity of the drought also play a role. A long severe drought often requires a longer period of above average precip to improve.

      Always with weather, there are exceptions. Just a few winters ago, 2018-2019, much of the state got 150% or more of the average snowpack and snow continued to fall through May. I did a Facebook post on 23 May 2019. Snowpack for the state was 240%. Our nearby basins were at 323% and 374%. The Colorado drought map had nothing – the first time since those products began in 2000, according to the Colorado Climate Center.

      So one big winter can wipe out severe drought conditions but it’s rare. It usually takes a string of above average winters and at least an average monsoon or two.

      Another general rule of thumb regarding droughts… They are slow develop and slow to improve.

      Your next question: “How far below average did the precipitation have to be previously to cause the drought from whenever we were last in normal conditions?” Again there are lots of variables with duration (time period) and amount of precip being two of the biggest. There are certainly correlations: precip well below average will impact drought conditions quicker than precip slightly below average. My knowledge is basic so I can only speak in generalities.

      Your last question: “How much of the snowfall melts and is absorbed by the ground rather than evaporating in the sun?” I really like this question and would love to have a specific answer. I’ve seen a couple of recent studies that point towards an ever worsening loop related to climate change. Those studies indicate more snowpack is being absorbed, evaporated, or sublimated where it falls instead of flushing through the system via runoff. Then there is more bare ground for longer periods leading to a self-feeding negative loop.

      To fix our long term drought problems, we need multiple years of above average precip. I try to stay optimistic, but I think the bad years will continue to outnumber the good years leading to worsening conditions. Thankfully a winter like 2018-2019 can be much needed reset!

      Thanks again Bob for the feedback and questions! Feel free to email us related articles or studies: pagosaweather@gmail.com

      – Shawn

      1. All right! Thanks for that thorough reply. Yeah I hope the bad years don’t outnumber the good or turn Pagosa into a desert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pagosa Weather Disclaimer and Release of Liability

This website makes no guarantees about nor bears any responsibility or liability concerning the accuracy or timeliness of the weather information published on this website. All weather information published on this website is for educational and weather enthusiast purposes only. We do not issue Storm Watches, Warnings or Advisories as that ability falls with the National Weather Service, who is the only institution allowed to issue such warnings by law. We are not in any way linked nor affiliated with the National Weather Service, although we do share information and relay weather watches/ warnings, etc. Use of the information on page is at your own risk/discretion, and we are not responsible for any personal/property damages, injury or death associated with weather forecasts, reports or other information as well as communication exchanged in private messages and/or person.

Terms of Use                  Privacy Policy

 

© 2024 Pagosa Weathe

Website Design by : Brandon