One weak system followed by a decent one this week…

This scene will be very different by the end of the week! Pic taken 12/5/2021

This scene will be very different by the end of the week! Pic taken 12/5/2021

Sunday – 5 Dec 2021 – 10:45am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 55 and the low this morning was 21. The peak wind at the airfield in the last 24 hours was 8mph.

There was no precip in the last 24 hours.

Forecast discussion…

The pesky ridge is holding strong just off the West Coast. The system moving over the top of the ridge will help flatten the ridge out. This will allow a system to move through Colorado Monday night/Tuesday.  Unfortunately there are 3 things working against us: 1. It’s a weak system and will continue to weaken as it moves through. 2. There isn’t much moisture.  3. The northwest trajectory is not our friend. Most of the moisture and precip will stay on the other side of our beautiful San Juan Mountains.

Wednesday transient ridging will keep us dry.

All eyes are on the second half of Thursday through Friday night.  The ingredients are lining up for a decent snowstorm!

This weekend looks clear and cold as ridging builds back into the region.

Water vapor satellite this morning: A strong high and ridge are off the West Coast.  There are high cirrus clouds spilling over the ridge into our area. The Monday night/Tuesday low pressure system has a lot of ground to cover before it gets here and then there won’t be much left of it.
Water vapor satellite this morning: A strong high and ridge are off the West Coast.  There are high cirrus clouds spilling over the ridge into our area. The Monday night/Tuesday low pressure system has a lot of ground to cover before it gets here and then there won’t be much left of it.

My forecast…

Today through Monday afternoon… We’ll see quite a bit of sun with occasional periods of mid and high clouds. Highs will range from the mid-40s to mid-50s and lows will be in the upper teens to upper 20s. Winds will stay under 20mph.

Monday evening through Tuesday afternoon… There will be more clouds and spotty snowshowers. The best chance for snow is roughly 10pm Monday evening to 10am Tuesday morning. Lows Monday night will be in the 20s and highs Tuesday afternoon will be in the upper 30s to mid-40s.

Snow amounts…

– Valley: a dusting to 1.5”

– Mountains: 2-4”

The NWS snowfall forecast through Tuesday at 11am shows less than 1” for Pagosa and 1-2” in the mountains.  Some of the other models are showing 2-3” in the mountains.
The NWS snowfall forecast through Tuesday at 11am shows less than 1” for Pagosa and 1-2” in the mountains.  Some of the other models are showing 2-3” in the mountains.

Tuesday night through Thursday morning… Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy.  A few spotty snowshowers are possible in the mountains but I don’t expect any accumulation. High temps Wednesday afternoon will be in the lower to upper 40s and lows will be in the low-teens to low-20s.

Thursday afternoon through Friday night… Do those snow dances! The heaviest snow is possible Thursday evening through Friday morning with scattered showers on either side of this time period. Highs on Friday will be in the mid-30s to lower 40s. Winds will peak around 20mph Thursday afternoon and then around 25mph Friday.  Winds in the high country will peak around 50mph Friday.

Snow amounts…

Valley: 5-10”

Mountains: 10-20”

I’ll tweak the details as the data gets better.

For folks thinking about Wolf Creek… Friday will be a “storm day”, especially the first half of the day.  Expect poor visibility, heavy snow, and strong winds. Saturday will be chilly but otherwise, pretty sweet.

The NBM snowfall through Saturday at 5am shows up to 10” in the valley and up to 18” in the mountains. As of now this represents a good average of the various forecast models and looks like a good call.
The NBM snowfall through Saturday at 5am shows up to 10” in the valley and up to 18” in the mountains. As of now this represents a good average of the various forecast models and looks like a good call.
The University of Utah GFS and Canadian model ensemble snowfall for Wolf Creek: This is one of my favorite products. The GFS average is around 35” but I eliminate the three most overzealous ones and decrease the average to 30” which I think is still too high.  The Canadian model average is around 20” which is more inline with the other models and closer to what I expect at this point.
The University of Utah GFS and Canadian model ensemble snowfall for Wolf Creek: This is one of my favorite products. The GFS average is around 35” but I eliminate the three most overzealous ones and decrease the average to 30” which I think is still too high.  The Canadian model average is around 20” which is more inline with the other models and closer to what I expect at this point.

We’re still about 6 days out from this system so the details will change as the data gets better.

Saturday and Sunday… We’ll see lots of sun and below average temps.  Highs Saturday will be in the 30s and lows that night will be -10 to 5. Highs Sunday will be a little warmer in the upper 30s to mid-40s and lows will be -5 to 10.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4367 / 19068-26 / 1955

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 may not be able to get the recording out until later today.

With two systems moving through this week, I plan to do posts every day. My next one will be tomorrow morning.

– 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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