Nasty Weather late tonight and tomorrow morning…

Snow is falling in town and from roughly Durango to Wolf Creek Pass!... Web cam courtesy of Jim Smith Realty, a Pagosa Weather sponsor on 12/14/2021 at 9am

Snow is falling in town and from roughly Durango to Wolf Creek Pass!… Web cam courtesy of Jim Smith Realty, a Pagosa Weather sponsor on 12/14/2021 at 9am

Tuesday – 14 Dec 2021 – 9:40am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 45 and the low this morning was 18. Peak winds yesterday afternoon at the airfield were 6mph.

Precip in the last 24 hours… It’s snowing now but the amounts will be included in tomorrow’s post.

Wolf Creek Pass cam at 9am this morning. Roads may be slick from Durango to Wolf Creek Pass this morning.
Wolf Creek Pass cam at 9am this morning. Roads may be slick from Durango to Wolf Creek Pass this morning.

Forecast discussion…

A pre-frontal trough is bringing us snow this morning that will last off and on into the afternoon.

Late tonight into tomorrow morning a strong cold front will move through. All the ingredients are in place for some nasty weather!

Thursday through Sunday… This period will be pretty quiet.

Christmas week is looking pretty active!

Water vapor satellite this morning: A pre-frontal trough will move through this afternoon giving us a round of snow. Precip will become more showery as the dry slot moves through later this afternoon.  The main event is the system moving into California.
Water vapor satellite this morning: A pre-frontal trough will move through this afternoon giving us a round of snow. Precip will become more showery as the dry slot moves through later this afternoon.  The main event is the system moving into California.
Radar this morning: Radar shows showers to our south moving northeast. Radar usually does not pick up on snow near the Four Corners area.  The main part of the system moving into California now.
Radar this morning: Radar shows showers to our south moving northeast. Radar usually does not pick up on snow near the Four Corners area.  The main part of the system is moving into California now.

My forecast…

Today through Wednesday afternoon…

Things I’m sure of: The cold front will move through between 5am and 7am and bring strong winds, a period of very heavy snow, and near whiteout conditions.

Things I’m not sure of: The amount of warm air and timing.  We’ll get 0.75” to 1.0” of liquid equivalent precip.  The challenging part is how much will be snow and how wet the snow will be. 

Timing…

This morning to this evening: Bands of showers will move through. Snow will fall until noon and then start mixing with rain through the afternoon. Precip will be steady this morning and then more showery in the afternoon. I expect 1-3” of snow in the valley and 3-6” in the mountains.

This evening to around 3am: Precip will fluctuate between rain, rain/snow, and snow in the valley and all snow above 8,500ft. Snow will have trouble sticking because temps will be at and slightly above freezing. 1-2” of heavy wet snow is possible above 8,000ft in the valley and 6”-12” is possible in the mountains. Winds will start increasing around midnight.

*** 3am to 10am: The front will move through between 5am and 7am.  Expect periods of heavy snow, blowing snow, near whiteout conditions, a thunderstorm or two, and potentially damaging winds. Winds will peak in the 50-60mph range in the valley and 70-80mph range in the mountains. Temps will rapidly drop 10-15 degrees behind the front. Much of the county will get a quick 2” of snow with the mountains getting another 4-8”. ***

10am to noon: Precip will taper off to scattered showers. Winds in the valley will gust to 35-45mph and in the mountains 45-55mph.

After noon: Scattered showers will linger over the mountains. Initially winds in the valley will gust to 25-35mph and in the mountains 30-40mph and then decrease through the afternoon.

Highs today will be in the mid to upper 30s and the highs tomorrow will occur shortly after midnight in the lower to upper-30s.  The lows Wednesday night will be -5 to 10.

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the southwest San Juan Mountains above 8,500ft valid 5pm Tuesday to 5pm Wednesday for 8-16” of snow with locally higher amounts and winds over 70mph along ridge lines. *** I’m glad to see that an elevation was added to this.  The area that is included in this warning is much more clear.

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for the San Juan River Basin, which includes Pagosa Springs, valid 11pm this evening to 11am Wednesday morning for winds gusting to 55mph and 1-3” of snow with higher amounts in the foothills. ***

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an AVALANCHE WATCH for our mountains tomorrow. ***

My forecast total snow amounts…

Valley below 8,000ft: 2-4”

Valley above 8,000ft: 4-8”

Mountains above 9,000ft: 14-20”

14 Dec 2021 am NWS snowfall for Colorado
NWS snowfall for Colorado shows 2-3” in Pagosa and up to 24” in our mountains.
NWS 72hr snowfall focused on the San Juans shows 3” in Pagosa and 17” up at Wolf Creek.
NWS 72hr snowfall focused on the San Juans shows 3” in Pagosa and 17” up at Wolf Creek.

Thursday through Sunday… Expect partly cloudy skies. Highs will be in the mid-30s to low 40s and lows will be -5 to 15.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
3958 / 19294-20 / 1949

Call 877-841-0247 for our “dial up and text” forecast.

I might do a quick update later today, otherwise my next update will be tomorrow morning. I look forward to your reports and pictures.  Be careful out there!

– 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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