More snow on the way!…

Measuring snow – Just the top 8” of the blue yard stick is poking above the snow... Pic taken 12/31/2021

Measuring snow – Just the top 8” of the blue yard stick is poking above the snow… Pic taken 12/31/2021

Friday – 31 Dec 2021 – 10:30am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp in the last 24 hours was 29 and the low was 25. The peak wind at the airfield was 20mph.  We were gusting around 20mph most of the night in O’Neal Park.

Precip in the last 24 hours… 1” to 3” of snow fell in valley – I expected double that.  The explanation is below.

Wolf Creek reported 13” of new snow in the last 24 hours.  They now have 106” of snow since it started falling on the 23rd!

Tomorrow or Sunday, 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.

CoCoRaHS 24hr snowfall totals vary from 1.0” to 3.2” in Archuleta County.
CoCoRaHS 24hr snowfall totals vary from 1.0” to 3.2” in Archuleta County.

Wolf Creek Pass has been closed a few times this week due to poor visibility, strong winds, and avalanche mitigation.  More closures are possible through tomorrow morning.  Keep an eye on COtrip for the latest travel conditions: COtrip web page

It’s snowing heavily up at Wolf Creek this morning.  Expect poor driving conditions on the pass.
It’s snowing heavily up at Wolf Creek this morning.  Expect poor driving conditions on the pass.

Forecast discussion…

So far this system has been disappointing. It’s moving slower than expected and we’re between the trough to the northwest and the low to the southwest. That will change later today as the two join forces to give us good snow. It will snow off and on through the day and a good chunk of the night and then taper off tomorrow morning as the system moves to our east.

Starting Sunday, ridging will build in and give us quiet weather for 5-7 days.  Upper level flow will turn more northwesterly and dry out for us – a more typical La Nina pattern.

Water vapor satellite this morning: The trough to the northwest and the low to the southwest are moving slower than expected and we’re between the two.
Water vapor satellite this morning: The trough to the northwest and the low to the southwest are moving slower than expected and we’re between the two.
Radar this morning: Precip in southern NM and AZ is moving northeast and precip in UT is moving southeast.
Radar this morning: Precip in southern NM and AZ is moving northeast and precip in UT is moving southeast.

My forecast…

Today through Tomorrow afternoon… Intermittent mostly light snow will fall into the afternoon in the valley and then ramp up around sunset.   Moderate to heavy snow will fall in the mountains all day and most of the night. Then snowshowers will become more scattered tomorrow morning and linger until around noon in the valley and into the afternoon in the mountains.

The windy spots in the valley will peak around 25mph into the evening and around 50mph in the mountains.

High temps will be in the upper 20s to mid-30s. Lows tonight will be tonight 5 to 15.

Snowfall during this period…

– Valley: 6-12”

– Mountains: 20-30”

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the San Juan Basin, which includes Pagosa Springs, valid to 5am tomorrow morning. It’s for 6-12” of snow and winds to 30mph. ***

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the southwest San Juan Mountains valid to 11am Saturday. It’s for 12-24” of snow with localized amounts up to 3ft and winds to 50mph. *** Wolf Creek will total around 3ft!

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an AVALANCHE WARNING valid until Sunday morning at 8am. *** Avalanche conditions will remain very dangerous for the next few days.

NWS snowfall for Colorado between 6am this morning and 6pm tomorrow shows 8-12” for Pagosa Springs and around 24” for Wolf Creek.
NWS snowfall for Colorado between 6am this morning and 6pm tomorrow shows 8-12” for Pagosa Springs and around 24” for Wolf Creek. It’s good to see snow falling over the whole state, especially in the Boulder area where fire devastated a few communities yesterday.
NWS snowfall for northern NM for those of you traveling
NWS snowfall for northern NM for those of you traveling
NWS 72hr snowfall focused on the San Juans shows 10” in town and 25” at Wolf Creek.  Circled in red in the upper right is the max of 32.5”.  The other red circle is around that max near Summit and Montezuma Peaks.
NWS 72hr snowfall focused on the San Juans shows 10” in town and 25” at Wolf Creek.  Circled in red in the upper right is the max of 32.5”.  The other red circle is around that max near Summit and Montezuma Peaks.
The NWS snowfall loop from 11am today to 5pm on Saturday: Each map is for a 6-hour period.  Snow falls steadily until tomorrow morning to total 9.8” for Pagosa.
The NWS snowfall loop from 11am today to 5pm on Saturday: Each map is for a 6-hour period.  Snow falls steadily until tomorrow morning to total 9.8” for Pagosa.

Late tomorrow afternoon through Thursday…  Clouds will gradually clear tomorrow afternoon leading to our first glimpse of the mountains. Have your camera ready for sunset tomorrow and sunrise on Sunday! We’ll see a lot of sun the rest of the period. 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 upper teens to mid-20s, on Sunday in the upper 20s to lower 30s, and in the 30s the rest of the period.  Lows Saturday night will be -15 to 0, Sunday and Monday nights -10 to 10, and then -5 to 15 the rest of the period.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
3556 / 19801-26 / 1911

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

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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One Response

  1. Hey Shawn,

    I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your daily forecasts. I grew up a “weather geek” also, but not on your level. Still, at Christmas time I often received books relating to weather. Anyway, I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you throwing in comments about potential good times for a beautiful sunrise or sunset as I am a photographer.

    Keep up the good work and thanks.

    Ben

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