The final round will be a good one!…

We love it when we need snowshoes to measure snow!... Pic taken 12/28/2021

We love it when we need snowshoes to measure snow!… Pic taken 12/28/2021

Wednesday – 29 Dec 2021 – 9:20am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp in the last 24 hours was 28 and the low was 24. The peak wind at the airfield was 17mph and we hit 25mph in O’Neal Park.

Wolf Creek Pass was closed this morning for avalanche mitigation but has opened again.  More closures are possible through New Year’s morning.  Keep an eye on COtrip for the latest travel conditions: COtrip web page

Wolf Creek Pass cam shows poor visibility and snowpacked roads again this morning
Wolf Creek Pass cam shows poor visibility and snowpacked roads again this morning

Precip in the last 24 hours… Wolf Creek reported 22” of new snow in the last 24 hours and 40” in the last 48 hours.  They now have 82” of snow in the last week!  They will end this storm cycle with over 100”!

CoCoRaHS 24hr snowfall totals vary from 2.3” to 4” in the Pagosa area and the winner was 6.8” down towards Chromo.
CoCoRaHS 24hr snowfall totals vary from 2.3” to 4” in the Pagosa area and the winner was 6.8” down towards Chromo.

Forecast discussion…

We’ll get a brief break today with intermittent light snow between systems and then the final system with a round of decent snow will push through by New Year’s morning.  Then I expect at least a 3 or 4 day break and maybe longer.

Water vapor satellite this morning: Low and mid-level moisture continues to be pushed into our mountains. Cold air advection, orographics, and cyclonic flow is wringing the moisture out in the form of snow – Mother Nature’s snow machine is switched on. The low is expected to follow the CA coast and then swing northeast into NM. It’s going to be reinforced by the trough and colder air currently over WA state.
Water vapor satellite this morning: Low and mid-level moisture continues to be pushed into our mountains. Cold air advection, orographics, and cyclonic flow is wringing the moisture out in the form of snow – Mother Nature’s snow machine is switched on. The low is expected to follow the CA coast and then swing northeast into NM. It’s going to be reinforced by the trough and colder air currently over WA state.
Radar this morning: You have to look hard to see the snow over the south San Juans.  Most of the light snow in our area is not showing up on radar. Central CA and the Sierras are getting another round of precip associated with the low.
Radar this morning: You have to look hard to see the snow over the south San Juans.  Most of the light snow in our area is not showing up on radar. Central CA and the Sierras are getting another round of precip associated with the low.

My forecast…

Through this evening… We’ll get a little break with scattered snowshowers and intermittent light snow. Highs will be in the mid-20s to lower 30s and lows will be 10 to 20. Winds will peak less than 20mph.

Snowfall during this period…

– Valley: up to 1” and it will be spotty

– Mountains: 2-4”

*** There is still a WINTER STORM WARNING for the eastern San Juan Mountains above 10,000ft valid until 11am. ***

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an AVALANCHE WATCH valid until tomorrow morning at 8am. *** Avalanche conditions will remain very dangerous through New Year’s.

Wednesday night through New Year’s morning… Intermittent light snow will fall Wednesday night and during the day Thursday in the valley and fall more steadily in the mountains. The heaviest snow will fall Thursday night and Friday. Then snowshowers will gradually taper off Friday night.  Snowshowers will end in the valley by sunrise on New Year’s and linger until noon in the mountains.

Winds will peak around 30mph Thursday night and into Friday afternoon in the valley and around 50mph in the mountains.

High temps will be in the upper 20s to lower 30s. Lows Thursday night will be in the upper teens to mid-20s and then Friday night 0 to 15.

Snowfall during this period…

– Valley: 10-18”

– Mountains: 20-30”

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WATCH for the southwest San Juan Mountains valid Wednesday evening through late Friday night. It’s for 12-24” of snow with localized amounts up to 3ft and winds to 40mph. *** I think winds to 50mph are more likely. This will be upgraded to a warning at some point.

*** As of 9am Wednesday morning, there are no watches, warnings, or advisories for the San Juan Basin and Pagosa Springs.  I expect the NWS to issue an advisory or warning at some point. ***

NWS snowfall for Colorado between 6am this morning and 6am Saturday shows 12-18” for Pagosa Springs and around 3FT for Wolf Creek.
NWS snowfall for Colorado between 6am this morning and 6am Saturday shows 12-18” for Pagosa Springs and around 3FT for Wolf Creek.
NWS 72hr snowfall focused on the San Juans shows 13” in town and 34” at Wolf Creek.  Circled in red in the upper right is the max of 48.2”.  The other red circle is around that max near Summit and Montezuma Peaks.
NWS 72hr snowfall focused on the San Juans shows 13” in town and 34” at Wolf Creek.  Circled in red in the upper right is the max of 48.2”.  The other red circle is around that max near Summit and Montezuma Peaks.
The NWS snowfall loop from 11am today to 5am on Saturday: Each map is for a 6-hour period.  Snow falls lightly and accumulates slowly through tomorrow afternoon – just 3.7”.  Then snow ramps up tomorrow night and falls pretty good into Friday evening to total 12.9” in town.
The NWS snowfall loop from 11am today to 5am on Saturday: Each map is for a 6-hour period.  Snow falls lightly and accumulates slowly through tomorrow afternoon – just 3.7”.  Then snow ramps up tomorrow night and falls pretty good into Friday evening to total 12.9” in town.

New Year’s afternoon through Monday…  We’ll see mostly sunny skies. Patchy morning fog is possible in the low lying areas. 

Temps will start well below average on Saturday and then warm to average by Monday. Highs on Saturday will be in the 20s, on Sunday in the upper 20s to lower 30s, and on Monday in the 30s.  Lows Saturday night will be -10 to 5, Sunday night -5 to 10, and Monday night 0 to 15.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
3655 / 19561-26 / 1966

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

On the 1st, I‘ll include a storm cycle summary in my daily post.  I’ll also do a separate post to summarize December and provide a January outlook.

My next post 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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