Adjusted snow totals upwards!…

I love seeing this on the Wolf Creek cam when I do a quick check in the middle of the night! Web cam capture on 12/7/2021 at 2:34am

I love seeing this on the Wolf Creek cam when I do a quick check in the middle of the night! Web cam capture on 12/7/2021 at 2:34am

Tuesday – 7 Dec 2021 – 10:30am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 47 and the low this morning was 32. The peak wind at the airfield in the last 24 hours was 9mph.

A little precip fell overnight. Parts of the valley got a dusting of snow.  I estimate that Wolf Creek got 2-3” based on snotel data and web cams.

Forecast discussion…

The system is slowly sinking south and winding down. It panned out as expected.  Spotty showers will persist this morning over the mountains, but otherwise this system is about done.

Things look more interesting tomorrow afternoon and through tomorrow night.  A little shot of upper level energy is expected to move through ahead of the main system – a little bonus snow!

The ingredients are lining up for good snow Thursday night into Friday: Strong jet stream overhead out of the southwest; tons of moisture; a strong cold front with the associated cold air advection; and strong storm energy.  And more good news… the latest models are trending upwards!

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

Water vapor satellite this morning:  Moisture and clouds are moving into the area from the southwest but the whole band of clouds is sinking south as the low moves south.
Water vapor satellite this morning:  Moisture and clouds are moving into the area from the southwest but the whole band of clouds is sinking south as the low moves south.

My forecast…

The rest of today through tomorrow morning… Skies will be mostly cloudy.  Spotty snowshowers over the mountains will end by noon. A few lucky spots in the high country could get an additional half inch of snow. Patchy fog is possible tomorrow morning in the low lying areas. Highs today will be in the upper 30s to mid-40s and lows tomorrow morning will be in the mid-teens to mid-20s.

Tomorrow afternoon through Thursday morning… Expect more clouds and scattered snowshowers. The snow level during day will pop up to 7,500ft and then drop after sunset. High temps Wednesday afternoon will be in the upper 30s to mid-40s and lows will be in the 20s.

Snow amounts…

Valley: 1-3”

Mountains: 3-6”

Thursday afternoon through Friday evening… Do those snow dances! The heaviest snow is likely Thursday evening through Friday morning with scattered showers on either side of this time period. Snow levels Thursday afternoon will start around 7,500ft and will then drop after sunset.

Highs on Friday will be in the mid-30s to lower 40s. Low temps Friday night will be -5 to 10. Winds will peak in the 20-25mph range Thursday afternoon and then 25-30mph Thursday night and Friday.  Winds in the high country will peak in the 50-60mph Thursday night and Friday.

Snow amounts…

Valley: 8-12”

Mountains: 18-30”

I’ll continue to 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 – blizzard conditions. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wolf Creek Pass gets closed sometime Thursday night or Friday morning. Saturday will be chilly but otherwise, pretty sweet.

The NWS 72-hour snowfall to Friday morning around 6am shows 10” in Pagosa and 22” up at Wolf Creek.  It also shows up to 15” in the higher parts of the valley and up to 30” in the mountains. Note that this time period does not include snow that falls after 6am on Friday.  This evening's version of this product will capture most of the event.
The NWS 72-hour snowfall to Friday morning around 6am shows 10” in Pagosa and 22” up at Wolf Creek.  It also shows up to 15” in the higher parts of the valley and up to 30” in the mountains. Note that this time period does not include snow that falls after 6am on Friday. This evening’s version of this product will capture most of the event.
The NBM snowfall through Friday at 11pm shows 8-15” in the valley and up to 30” in the mountains. The last couple of model runs are trending upwards – a good sign!
The NBM snowfall through Friday at 11pm shows 8-15” in the valley and up to 30” in the mountains. The last couple of model runs are trending upwards – a good sign!
The University of Utah GFS and Canadian model ensemble snowfall for Wolf Creek: This is one of my favorite products. The GFS average has increased from 26” yesterday to 33” today. I eliminate the 3 or 4 most overzealous models and that decreases the average into the upper 20” range.  The Canadian model average has also increased a couple of inches to 21”. The range for all models is narrowing which boosts forecast confidence.
The University of Utah GFS and Canadian model ensemble snowfall for Wolf Creek: This is one of my favorite products. The GFS average has increased from 26” yesterday to 33” today. I eliminate the 3 or 4 most overzealous models and that decreases the average into the upper 20” range.  The Canadian model average has also increased a couple of inches to 21”. The range for all models is narrowing which boosts forecast confidence. 

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
4269 / 19068-19 / 1953

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 continue to do posts every day through Saturday morning. My next one will be tomorrow morning.

– 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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