It’s going to be nasty…

“Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning”… Wolf Creek summit cam 2/21/2022

“Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning”… Wolf Creek summit cam 2/21/2022

Monday – 21 Feb 2022 – 1:20pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp yesterday afternoon was 48 and the low this morning was 23.  The peak wind at the airfield in the last 24 hours was 18mph.

Precip in the last 24 hours…  None

Forecast discussion…

This afternoon through Thursday afternoon a low pressure system is expected to slowly move through the Great Basin.  Cold air, southwest flow causing orographic lift over our mountains, moisture, and storm energy are lined up to bring us a good round of snow!

Thursday night through Saturday… Some models show a weak trough moving through Friday afternoon through Saturday and kicking up a few scattered snowshowers over the mountains, while other models show nothing.  At this point I think we’ll see a few spotty snowshowers but I don’t expect much accumulation.

Water vapor satellite this afternoon: The trough has moved into the Great Basin and is drawing moisture into the region from the southwest.  The colder air aloft over the Pacific NW will feed the trough.  It’s a slow mover and will funnel moisture and storm energy over us until it moves through Thursday around noon.
Water vapor satellite this afternoon: The trough has moved into the Great Basin and is drawing moisture into the region from the southwest.  The colder air aloft over the Pacific NW will feed the trough.  It’s a slow mover and will funnel moisture and storm energy over us until it moves through Thursday around noon.
Radar this afternoon: Scattered showers are slowly increasing over the region.  Much of this is either very light precip or it’s not making to the ground.
Radar this afternoon: Scattered showers are slowly increasing over the region.  Much of this is either very light precip or it’s not making to the ground. 

My forecast…

This afternoon through Thursday afternoon… Initially snowshowers will be hit and miss and then ramp up this evening. Expect periods of heavy snow, blowing snow, poor visibility, and bad driving conditions tonight through Wednesday night. The bulk of the snow will be done by early Thursday morning, though scattered showers will persist through the day, especially over the mountains.

Winds… At times winds will gust 25-35mph causing significant drifting snow, especially tonight and Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Winds up at Wolf Creek will peak around 50mph this afternoon and then in the 45-55mph range tonight to Wednesday evening.

Drifting snow… In wind prone areas, I expect 3-5 foot high drifts, and roads will fill shortly after the plow goes through.

Temps… Today highs will be in the upper 30s to low 40s and lows will be in the low to mid-20s. Highs the rest of this period will be in the upper 20s to mid-30s and lows will be in the mid-teens to mid-20s.

My snowfall forecast…

Valley below 7,600ft: 12-18”

Valley above 7,600ft: 16-22”

Mountains: 45-60”

*** The Pueblo NWS has issued a Winter Weather Warning for the Eastern San Juan Mountains above 10,000ft valid from 5pm Monday afternoon to 11am Thursday.  It’s for 3 or more feet of snow and winds up to 60mph. ***

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Southwest San Juan Mountains valid from 2pm Monday to 11am Thursday for 3-4 feet of snow over favored terrain, and winds to 45mph. ***

 *** The Grand Junction NWS has issued both a Winter Weather Advisory and a Winter Storm Watch for the Upper San Juan Basin which includes Pagosa Springs.

The Winter Weather Advisory is valid 5pm today to 5pm tomorrow for 3 to 6 inches of snow and winds gusting as high as 50 mph.

The Winter Storm Watch is valid Tuesday evening to late Wednesday night for an additional 6 to 12 inches and winds gusting as high as 35 mph. ***

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is concerned that we will see our most significant avalanche cycle this season.  Make sure to check their web page or app for the latest conditions. ***

*** Expect temporary closures on Wolf Creek Pass. Follow COtrip for the latest travel conditions. ***

NWS snowfall for the state to Thursday at 5am shows 12-18” for Pagosa and 48-60” in our mountains.
NWS snowfall for the state to Thursday at 5am shows 12-18” for Pagosa and 48-60” in our mountains.
The NWS forecast snowfall model through Thursday morning focused on our area shows 18" in town and 51" up at Wolf Creek.  This lines up well with my expectations.
The NWS forecast snowfall model through Thursday morning focused on our area shows 18″ in town and 51″ up at Wolf Creek. This lines up well with my expectations.
The NWS forecast liquid equivalent model through Thursday morning focused on our area shows 1.4” in town and 3.6” up at Wolf Creek.  This also lines up well with my expectations
The NWS forecast liquid equivalent model through Thursday morning focused on our area shows 1.4” in town and 3.6” up at Wolf Creek.  This also lines up well with my expectations
The NWS snowfall probability table shows 15-24” for Pagosa Springs.  The probability for >=18” is 62% - that’s pretty impressive!
The NWS snowfall probability table shows 15-24” for Pagosa Springs.  The probability for >=18” is 62% – that’s pretty impressive!

Thursday night through Saturday… Clouds will gradually clear Thursday night leading to a cold Friday morning.  For the rest of this period skies will be partly cloudy with a few spotty snowshowers, mostly over the mountains.

Temps… Lows Thursday night will be -10 to 10.  Highs will be 30 to 40 and lows will be 0 to 15.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4361 / 19959-20 / 1955
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Shawn Pro

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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