Winter Storm Warning…

Winter Storm Warning

The NWS has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Pagosa Springs and Wolf Creek Pass.

1-31-22: 4:15pm update…

Pagosa Springs-Winter Storm Warning issued January 31 at 1:03PM MST until February 3 at 12:00AM MST by NWS Grand Junction CO * WHAT…Moderate to heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with locally higher amounts in the foothills. * WHERE…San Juan River Basin. * WHEN…From 5 PM Tuesday to midnight MST Wednesday night. * IMPACTS…Travel could be very difficult. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

Wolf Creek Pass-Winter Storm Warning issued January 31 at 2:20PM MST until February 3 at 12:00AM MST by NWS Pueblo CO * WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 6 to 20 inches. * WHERE…Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Wet Mountains, San Juan Mountains, and La Garita Mountains. * WHEN…From 2 PM Tuesday to midnight MST Wednesday night. * IMPACTS…Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute. The cold wind chills as low as 30 below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

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Current Winter Storm Warnings for our area. Pagosa Springs is the red dot on the graphic.

The low this morning at Stevens Field was 7 degrees and the high so far today has been 40 degrees. Some of us surprisingly saw below zero temps thanks to an inversion that set up overnight. Shawn and Arleen reported in at -9 degrees and my place about a mile north of Hatcher Lake hit -5. Wolf Creek pass only dropped to 16 degrees. There was no precipitation recorded in our area.

This will be our last day of sunshine for the next two days and the last day of highs in the 40’s for the rest of this week.

A deep trough is forming to our west which will usher in some impressive PWAT (measure of the depth of liquid water at the surface that would result after precipitating all of the water vapor in a vertical column over a given location) as our mid-level winds switch into the SW. This trough will be a slow mover, giving us a chance for snow from Tuesday afternoon through mid-day on Thursday. There will also be some very cold air with this system as a strong cold front moves through behind the trough on Wednesday afternoon. We may stay below freezing from Wednesday-Sunday with some lows below zero on Friday and Saturday mornings.

Because the trough will introduce some very cold air aloft, our snow totals may be higher than forecast due to a drier and more powdery snow (skiers love it!). When we look at models, we usually go with a 10-1 liquid equivalent ratio for our forecasts, but we sometimes get ratios of 15-1 and even 20-1. This storm has the potential to be in those higher ratios so the totals could be 25-50% higher than what is currently forecast due to “drier snow”. The good news is that powder is not only more fun to ski on but it is much easier to snow blow off our driveways and snowplow off our roads.

While most of the snow will fall from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon, we will see some “wrap-around” moisture after the trough passes, through midday on Thursday. Thursday will be our coldest day this week with highs struggling to get out of the teens and lows dipping to below zero for Friday morning.

Screenshot 2022 01 31 151806
A deep trough is forming to our west and will be switching our mid-level winds into the SW and bringing in copious amounts of moisture into our area.
Screenshot 2022 01 31 151606
A surface map for Wednesday shows where the trough and cold front will converge, giving us a very good chance for snow during the day.
StormTotalSnowWeb1 CO 1
The current Boulder NWS snow forecast through 5am on Thursday morning.
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The latest NWS forecast for snow totals through Thursday. Circled are Pagosa Springs, Wolf Creek and Chama, NM.
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The latest NBM model is forecasting over 11 inches for our area from Tuesday-Thursday at noon. Chama may see over 16 inches!
Matt Martin’s video of the “behind the scenes” view of Pagosa Weather and what we do. Thanks Matt for the wonderfully produced video!

My forecast…

For those of you who like to “hear” our forecast, we are currently experimenting with a “dial up and text” forecast. Call 877-841-0247 and give it a try! Let us know what you think…

The rest of today: Mostly sunny skies with a high around 40. Winds will be out of the South 5-10mph.

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy with lows in the single digits and low teens and highs only in the 30’s. Snow showers will start falling around 2pm and become heavier in the late afternoon and evening.

Wednesday: Cloudy with snow showers most of the day. Snow could be heavy at times. Colder air moves in behind a cold front and trough during the afternoon, keeping our highs in the upper 20’s-low 30’s. Lows on Wednesday will be in the teens.

Thursday: A few snow showers during the first half of the day with highs only in the 20’s and lows in the single digits.

Friday: Mostly sunny with highs in the mid to upper 20’s and lows -5 to -10.

Saturday and Sunday: Sunny with highs in the upper 20’s to low 30’s and lows -5 to single digits

Snowfall totals from Tuesday-Thursday:

6-12 inches for the valley (could be higher if snow ratios go to 15-1 or 20-1)

15-25 inches for the mountains

-Mark Langford

Check out my Pagosa Peak Cam (myearthcam.com) for watching hikers, bikers and of course, the weather.

Pagosa Springs historical data for January 31st.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4058/ 19863-33/ 1917

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