Pagosa Weather JANUARY SUMMARY and February outlook

In spite of a dry January, snowpack is still decent

In spite of a dry January, snowpack is still decent

Monday – 31 Jan 2022 – 6:30pm

January 2022 Summary…

The average low for January is 2 and the average high is 37. The record high of 59 occurred on 1 Jan 1981. The record low of -42 occurred on 13 Jan 1963. January precip averages 2.08″ with 30.4″ of snow. Wolf Creek averages 76.1″ of snow in January and 236″ to this point in the season.

How did we do? Check out these charts…

January temperature departure from average varied from near average in the southeast part of the county to 4-6 degrees above normal in the northwest part of the county.
January temperature departure from average varied from near average in the southeast part of the county to 4-6 degrees above normal in the northwest part of the county.
January precipitation departure from average was 5-25% in the western part of the county and 25-50% in the eastern part.
January precipitation departure from average was 5-25% in the western part of the county and 25-50% in the eastern part.
This is Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPE) which uses multiple sources to estimate precip. It's not perfect but it's helpful in data sparse areas like ours. Precip was way below average for the whole county.
This is Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPE) which uses multiple sources to estimate precip. It’s not perfect but it’s helpful in data sparse areas like ours. Precip was way below average for the whole county.
CoCoRaHS January liquid equivalent (LE) totals range from 0.34" to 0.69" - well below the average of 2.08"
CoCoRaHS January liquid equivalent (LE) totals range from 0.34″ to 0.69″ – well below the average of 2.08″. A CoCoRaHS observer in town would be very helpful to us, the National Weather Service, and many other agencies!
CoCoRaHS January snowfall totals range from 5.4" to 12.3" - well below the average of 30.4"
CoCoRaHS January snowfall totals range from 5.4″ to 12.3″ – well below the average of 30.4″. A CoCoRaHS observer in town would be very helpful to us, the National Weather Service, and many other agencies!

Note… CoCoRaHS observations are used by numerous agencies. Data is hit and miss or nonexistent in town, Arboles, Chama, and Dulce. To learn more about this important program, please go to this link: CoCoRaHS

Snowpack update…

Wolf Creek got just 18" of snow in January, well below the average of 76.1"  So far this season they got 224", just 12" below the average of 236".  The incredible 10-day storm cycle at the end of December is carrying the season.
Wolf Creek got just 18″ of snow in January, well below the average of 76.1″ So far this season they got 224″, just 12″ below the average of 236″. The incredible 10-day storm cycle at the end of December is carrying the season.
In spite of a below average January for much of the western US, snowpack is still decent. And in Colorado, our nearby basins are at 103% and the Upper Rio Grande is at 84%.
In spite of below average snow in January for much of the western US, snowpack is still decent. And in Colorado, our nearby basins are at 103% and the Upper Rio Grande is at 84%.
1 Feb 2022 am snowpack table
Detailed snowpack data for our nearby basins on 31 Jan 2022 – The Upper San Juan snotel is at 103% and the Wolf Creek Summit snotel is at 123%.

Drought update…

Colorado drought map on 25 Jan 2022 - There has been no change this month for Archuleta County.  Drought conditions usually change slowly.
Colorado drought map on 25 Jan 2022 – There has been no change this month for Archuleta County. Drought conditions usually change slowly.

February outlook…

The average low for February is 9 and the average high is 42. The record high of 60 occurred on 27 Feb 1988. The record low of -39 occurred on 1 Feb 1916. February precip averages 2.02″ with 23.1″ of snow. Wolf Creek averages 68.7″ of snow in February and 304.7″ to this point in the season.

And here’s the outlook…

The Climate Prediction Center leans towards above average temps for February
The Climate Prediction Center leans towards above average temps for February
The Climate Prediction Center leans towards below average precip for February
The Climate Prediction Center leans towards below average precip for February
This is the Euro 500mb height anomaly  from 31 Jan to 1 Mar - Each chart is 1 day. 500mb is roughly 18,000ft and is a good level to track the overall pattern. Warm colors, yellow and orange, generally indicate ridging and inactive weather. Cool colors, blue and purple, indicate a more active pattern.
This is the Euro 500mb height anomaly from 31 Jan to 1 MarEach chart is 1 day. 500mb is roughly 18,000ft and is a good level to track the overall pattern. Warm colors, yellow and orange, generally indicate ridging and inactive weather. Cool colors, blue and purple, indicate a more active pattern.

The system on the 1st and 2nd will take direct aim at Colorado and then it’s quiet until the middle of the month. During the second half of the month we’re in between so it could go either way. I’d much rather see an in-between pattern than an inactive one!

And what do we expect?

Well Arleen is the expert and this is what she says…

“Except for the 1st and 2nd, the first half of February will be quiet due to the influence of La Nina. The equatorial waters are warming due to a few different reasons but it points to the weakening of the La Nina – good news for us. Expect a more active second half of February as we begin to move into a neutral ENSO state. At the same time the MJO, which is currently weak, will begin to strengthen and will move back into stage 7 by the last week of February – more good news for us. And we’re still looking for an arctic outbreak that could really help out in storm formations. With a good start the first few days of February and a few good storms towards the end of February, I expect average precipitation.

A HUGE thanks for your precip reports and pictures! Reports help verify our forecasts and make us better forecasters.

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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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