The worst is over – conditions will improve through the morning…

White-out conditions started around 5am as the moved through!... Web cam courtesy of Jim Smith Realty, a Pagosa Weather sponsor, on 12/15/2021 at 5:30am

White-out conditions started around 5am as the front moved through!… Web cam courtesy of Jim Smith Realty, a Pagosa Weather sponsor, on 12/15/2021 at 5:30am

Wednesday – 15 Dec 2021 – 8:15am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high in the last 24 hours was 42 at 2:15am and the low so far this morning is 23. The peak wind at the airfield was 64.4mph at 5:35am.

Precip in the last 24 hours… Snowfall will be difficult to measure due to strong winds.  I estimate that 2-4” has fallen in the valley.  Wolf Creek reported 7” of new snow in the last 24 hours.

LPEA has reported multiple powers outages across La Plata and Archuleta counties.

*** As of 7:30am Wolf Creek Pass and Wolf Creek Ski Area are closed until conditions improve. ***

Stevens Field weather observations from 2:15am to 6:55am: Times are in the left column with the most current time at the top.  In the black box between 4:55am and 5:35am the temp dropped from 40.5 to 27.1.  In the blue box at 5:15am and 5:35am are wind gusts of 63.3mph and 64.4mph. In the red box at 5:15am and 5:35am is thundersnow, heavy snow, and visibility at a quarter of a mile.
Stevens Field weather observations from 2:15am to 6:55am: Times are in the left column with the most current time at the top.  In the black box between 4:55am and 5:35am the temp dropped from 40.5 to 27.1.  In the blue box at 5:15am and 5:35am are wind gusts of 63.3mph and 64.4mph. In the red box at 5:15am and 5:35am is thundersnow, heavy snow, and visibility at a quarter of a mile.
As of 7:30am Wolf Creek Pass and the ski area are closed due to strong winds, horrible visibility, and avalanche control.
As of 7:30am Wolf Creek Pass and the ski area are closed due to strong winds, horrible visibility, and avalanche control.

Forecast discussion…

The front moved through Pagosa Springs right at 5am.

– Things that went right: Winds peaked around 65mph, temps dropped from around 40 to the mid-20s in less than 30 mins, visibility was near zero, and there were a few thunderbooms!

– Things that didn’t go right: The amount of precip is lower than I expected.  The dry slot stayed over us longer than I expected.

The worst of it is over.  Snowshowers and winds will taper off through the morning.

Tomorrow through Tuesday… This period will be pretty quiet.

Starting roughly late Wednesday, 22 Dec through Christmas week, the weather pattern looks pretty active!

Infrared satellite loop from 3:30am to 5:30am this morning: The fast-moving cold front moved through Pagosa Springs right at 5am.  A line of pre-frontal thunderstorms moved through first.
Infrared satellite loop from 3:30am to 5:30am this morning: The fast-moving cold front moved through Pagosa Springs right at 5am.  A line of pre-frontal thunderstorms moved through first.
Radar at 5am this morning: The line of thunderstorms just ahead of the front was moving through the Pagosa Springs area. As always, our radar donut hole kept us from seeing everything.
Radar at 5am this morning: The line of thunderstorms just ahead of the front was moving through the Pagosa Springs area. As always, our radar donut hole kept us from seeing everything.
Weather Bug lightning at 5am on the left and 5:10am on the right showed the southern part of the county the most active, especially around Chromo.
Weather Bug lightning at 5am on the left and 5:10am on the right showed the southern part of the county the most active, especially around Chromo.

My forecast…

The rest of today…

Now to noon: Precip will taper off to scattered showers. Initially winds in the valley will gust to 25-35mph and in the mountains 45-55mph and gradually weaken through this period.

After noon: Scattered showers will linger over the mountains. Initially winds in the valley will gust to 20-30mph and in the mountains 30-40mph and then decrease through the afternoon.

Temps today will peak in the lower to mid-20s.  Lows tonight will be -5 to 10.

*** There is a WINTER STORM WARNING for the southwest San Juan Mountains above 8,500ft valid until 5pm today for 8-16” of total snowfall with locally higher amounts and winds over 70mph along ridge lines. ***

*** The WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for the San Juan River Basin, which includes Pagosa Springs, will expire at 11am. ***

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an AVALANCE WATCH for our mountains today. *** This might get upgraded to a warning sometime today.

Additional snowfall today…

Valley: 1-2”

Mountains: 4-8”

NWS snowfall from 6am to this afternoon shows 1-2” in Pagosa and 6-8” in our mountains.
NWS snowfall from 6am to this afternoon shows 1-2” in Pagosa and 6-8” in our mountains.

Thursday through Tuesday… We’ll see lots of sun. Highs will be in the mid-30s to low 40s and lows will be -5 to 15.

Euro ensemble 15-day precip for Pagosa Springs shows a dry/boring pattern for the next 7 days and then a more active pattern starting late the 22nd.
Euro ensemble 15-day precip for Pagosa Springs shows a dry/boring pattern for the next 7 days and then a more active pattern starting late the 22nd.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
3957 / 19693-29 / 1945

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

My next post will be tomorrow afternoon.  I’ll dig more into Christmas week. 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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