Happy New Years! Curious about snowfall totals?…

Before and after pictures from Lorren Dawes

Before and after pictures from Lorren Dawes

Saturday – 1 Jan 2022 – 11:00am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp in the last 24 hours was 32 and the low this morning is 27. The peak wind at the airfield was 17mph.

Precip in the last 24 hours… Just like yesterday, 1” to 3” of snow fell in valley – I expected double that.  I expected 12-18” total from this storm so it was disappointing in the valley.

It was fantastic for the mountains! Wolf Creek reported 14” of new snow in the last 24 hours. 

CoCoRaHS 24hr snowfall totals vary from 1.0” to 5.” in Archuleta County.  The winner down towards Chromo.
CoCoRaHS 24hr snowfall totals vary from 1.0” to 5.” in Archuleta County.  The winner was down towards Chromo.
Wolf Creek Pass is snow-packed and will continue to have periods of poor visibility today
Wolf Creek Pass is snow-packed and will continue to have periods of poor visibility today

Storm cycle summary…

Between 23 December and today, 1 January, multiple systems moved through and dropped lots of snow! Check out the graphics below.

CoCoRaHS snowfall totals between 23 Dec and 1 Jan in Archuleta County range from 14.5” to 38.4”. Differences in elevation account for the wide range.
CoCoRaHS snowfall totals between 23 Dec and 1 Jan in Archuleta County range from 14.5” to 38.4”. Differences in elevation account for the wide range.
CoCoRaHS liquid equivalent totals between 23 Dec and 1 Jan in Archuleta County range from 1.68” to 3.34”. A little perspective… The average precip for December is 1.89”. Most of us got a month’s worth of precip or more in 10 days!
CoCoRaHS liquid equivalent totals between 23 Dec and 1 Jan in Archuleta County range from 1.68” to 3.34”. A little perspective… The average precip for December is 1.89”. Most of us got a month’s worth of precip or more in 10 days!
CoCoRaHS snow depth on 1 Jan in Archuleta County range from 12” to 30”.
CoCoRaHS snow depth on 1 Jan in Archuleta County range from 12” to 30”.
Wolf Creek snow reports between 23 Dec and 1 Jan
Wolf Creek snow reports between 23 Dec and 1 Jan
Western US snowpack – 22 Dec on the left and 1 Jan on the right. We went from 72% to 144%! Much of the western US saw improvement.
Western US snowpack – 22 Dec on the left and 1 Jan on the right. We went from 72% to 144%! Much of the western US saw improvement.
Snowpack data for our nearby basins – 22 Dec on the left and 1 Jan on the right. he Upper San Juan snotel had 6.5” liquid equivalent (LE) and 62% of their average on 22 Dec and is at 17.5” LE and 148” of their average on 1 Jan. 

The Wolf Creek Summit snotel had 9.6” LE and 75% of their average on 22 Dec and is at 17.5” LE and 152” of their average on 1 Jan. Totals of 11” and 12.5” LE in a 10 day period are incredible! A little perspective… The average LE for Wolf Creek Pass for the month of December is 4.42”.
Snowpack data for our nearby basins – 22 Dec on the left and 1 Jan on the right.

The Upper San Juan snotel had 6.5” liquid equivalent (LE) and 62% of their average on 22 Dec and is at 17.5” LE and 148” of their average on 1 Jan.

The Wolf Creek Summit snotel had 9.6” LE and 75% of their average on 22 Dec and is at 17.5” LE and 152” of their average on 1 Jan. Totals of 11” and 12.5” LE in a 10 day period are incredible! A little perspective… The average LE for Wolf Creek Pass for the month of December is 4.42”.
Drought maps are posted every Thursday.  This one posted on 28 Dec shows some improvement across western Colorado and Archuleta County.  However the next one that will be posted on 6 Jan will likely show even more of an improvement.
Drought maps are posted every Thursday.  This one posted on 28 Dec shows some improvement across western Colorado and Archuleta County.  However the next one that will be posted on 6 Jan will likely show even more of an improvement.

Forecast discussion…

This last system was a dud. The first band of moisture missed us to the east and the next band had more of a westerly trajectory and was drier than expected.  Scattered snowshowers will linger until the afternoon when the upper level trough moves through.

Now 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.

1 Jan 2022 am water vapor
Water vapor satellite this morning: The upper level trough is still to our west so spotty snowshowers are possible until it moves through this afternoon.  Then the big blue ridge will give us dry northwest flow for the next 5-7 days.
1 Jan 2022 am radar
Radar this morning: Radar isn’t picking up on any precip in our area, but there are scattered showers.  It’s good to see the Front Range and the I-25 corridor through much of NM getting some precip.

My forecast…

Rest of today… Snowshowers will linger until the afternoon.  Clouds will start clearing around sunset and continue to clear overnight leading to a very cold morning. We should get glimpses of the mountains today – have your cameras ready!  Sunrise tomorrow morning on the snow-covered mountains will also be spectacular!

Winds could get into the 20-25mph range this afternoon as the colder air starts to move in. Wind chills could be below zero by sunset.

High temps will be in the mid to upper 20s and will occur before noon. Lows tonight will be -15 to 0.

Additional snowfall by sunset…

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

– Mountains: 3-6”

*** 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 72hr snowfall focused on the San Juans shows 2” in town and 3-8” in our mountains.
NWS 72hr snowfall focused on the San Juans shows 2” in town and 3-8” in our mountains.

Sunday through Friday…  We’ll see lots of sun.  Patchy morning fog is possible in the low lying areas, especially after a sunny day with temps above freezing the preceding afternoon.

Temps will start below average on Sunday and then warm to average by Monday. Highs tomorrow will be in the upper 20s to lower 30s, and in the 30s the rest of the period.  Lows Sunday and Monday nights will be -10 to 10, and then -5 to 15 the rest of the period.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
3459 / 19810-20 / 1991

The first week of January averages are our coldest of the year.

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

My next post will be tomorrow morning. I’ll also do a December summary and January outlook later today or tomorrow.

– 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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4 Responses

  1. Where can I find current daily snowfall depths for this storm from January 15th, 16th & 17th for the town of Pagosa Springs and Pagosa Lakes areas?

    1. Go to this link: https://www.cocorahs.org/Maps/

      Click on Interactive Maps.
      Zoom into the area you want to see…the default will be today’s precipitation reports. Go to “Map Options”, click on snowfall, and the map will change to snowfall. At the top you will see “Range” where you can put in the days you want to see totals for.

    2. Good Morning Karen! You want to go to the CoCoRaHS interactive map by selecting map in middle of initial page. Then select map options in upper menu. Change Precipitation to snowfall (notSWE). You can change daily to custom and select the dates you want. Good luck. I like playing in there. Shawn is doing a summary post on this storm later today.

      https://www.cocorahs.org/

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