Quiet weather until Wednesday – more snow for Christmas?…

I had a great day Wolf Creek!... Pic taken 12/16/2021 – photo credit to my ski partner, Todd

I had a great day Wolf Creek!… Pic taken 12/16/2021 – photo credit to my ski partner, Todd

Thursday – 16 Dec 2021 – 5:15pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp in the last 24 hours was 33. Temp data was missing most of the night and morning, but the cold spots were in the -5 to 0 range. The peak wind at the airfield in the last 24 hours was 9mph.

Storm summary… Snowfall was difficult to measure due to strong winds.  CoCoRaHS reports indicate that 3-5” fell in the valley.  Wolf Creek ended up with a storm total of 14”.

Drought and snowpack update…

Our snowpack has improved substantially!  Our nearby basins are at 87%.  Unfortunately the Rio Grande Basin isn’t keeping up with 60%. As of today, 16 Dec, the Wolf Creek Summit snotel is currently at 83% and the Upper San Juan snotel is at 85%. It’s still early enough in the season that a good storm cycle can make a considerable difference.
Our snowpack has improved substantially!  Our nearby basins are at 87%.  Unfortunately the Rio Grande Basin isn’t keeping up with 60%. As of today, 16 Dec, the Wolf Creek Summit snotel is currently at 83% and the Upper San Juan snotel is at 85%. It’s still early enough in the season that a good storm cycle can make a considerable difference.
Drought conditions over Archuleta County remain the same across the southwest part of the county but have worsened a notch in the northeast part.
Drought conditions over Archuleta County remain the same across the southwest part of the county but have worsened a notch in the northeast part.

Forecast discussion…

Through Tuesday… A trough will move through tonight and tomorrow morning. We’ll see a few more clouds and a few spotty snowshowers over the mountains.  Otherwise upper level ridging will keep us dry. This period will be pretty quiet.

Starting roughly late Wednesday, 22 Dec through the rest of Christmas week, the weather pattern will get more active.  The upper level ridge will flatten and sink south which will allow a more west to east progression of systems. Colorado won’t be in the bullseye, but we could see an extended period of unsettled weather.

Water vapor satellite this afternoon: A weak trough, lacking moisture, is moving through the Great Basin. Northwest Colorado will get some snow out of it, but we won’t.
Water vapor satellite this afternoon: A weak trough, lacking moisture, is moving through the Great Basin. Northwest Colorado will get some snow out of it, but we won’t.

My forecast…

The rest of today through Tuesday… Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy tonight and tomorrow morning with a few snowflakes possible in our mountains.  Otherwise we’ll see lots of sun and patches of occasional high clouds. Highs will be in the mid-30s to low 40s and lows will be -5 to 15.

NWS snowfall shows less than an inch of snow in our mountains. Northwest Colorado is favored with this system.
NWS snowfall shows less than an inch of snow in our mountains. Northwest Colorado is favored with this system.

Wednesday through Christmas?… We’ll see more clouds and a chance for snow.  That’s too far out to determine details like timing and snow amounts.

The GFS meteogram for Pagosa Springs: This is a good tool to track trends.  This model run shows 1” of snow on the 23rd and then 3” on the 25th and 26th.
The GFS meteogram for Pagosa Springs: This is a good tool to track trends.  This model run shows 1” of snow on the 23rd and then 3” on the 25th and 26th.
The Euro meteogram for Pagosa Springs shows 6” the night of the 23rd and 10” mostly on Christmas.
The Euro meteogram for Pagosa Springs shows 6” the night of the 23rd and 10” mostly on Christmas.
The NBM snowfall through the 26th at 5am shows 6-10” in the valley and 12-18” in our mountains.
The NBM snowfall through the 26th at 5am shows 6-10” in the valley and 12-18” in our mountains.

Forecasts beyond 6 or 7 days are not reliable.  These products will bounce all over the place between now and then and can’t be trusted.  Right now, all I can say is that the pattern will be more active with a chance for snow.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4060 / 19594-24 / 1940

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

I’m taking tomorrow off. My next post will be on Saturday.

– 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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