Pagosa Weather MARCH SUMMARY and April outlook

Snowpack is decent for most of the state

Snowpack is decent across most of Colorado

Saturday – 2 April – 9:30am

March 2022 Summary…

The average low for March is 15 and the average high is 49. The record high of 73 occurred on 19 Mar 1907. The record low of -25 occurred on 1 Mar 1913. March precip averages 1.77″ with 19.5″ of snow. Wolf Creek averages 75.8″ of snow in March and 380.5″ for the season to 31 March.

How did we do? Check out these charts…

March temperature departure from average was slightly below average for most of the county. Most of the state was below average.
March temperature departure from average was slightly below average for most of the county. Most of the state was below average.
March precip departure from average was 70-90% of average across most of the county. Precip across the state varied considerably.
March precip departure from average was 70-90% of average across most of the county. Precip across the state varied considerably.
CoCoRaHS March liquid equivalent (LE) totals range from 0.73″ to 1.32″ – below the average of 1.77″. A CoCoRaHS observer in town would be very helpful to us, the National Weather Service, and many other agencies!
CoCoRaHS March liquid equivalent (LE) totals range from 0.73″ to 1.32″ – below the average of 1.77″.
A CoCoRaHS observer in town would be very helpful to us, the National Weather Service, and many other agencies!
CoCoRaHS March snowfall totals range from 10.4″ to 14.4″ – below the average of 19.5″. 
A CoCoRaHS observer in town would be very helpful to us, the National Weather Service, and many other agencies!
CoCoRaHS March snowfall totals range from 10.4″ to 14.4″ – below the average of 19.5″.
A CoCoRaHS observer in town would be very helpful to us, the National Weather Service, and many other agencies!

Snowpack update…

Wolf Creek got 64″ in March – below their average of 75.8″. So far this season, they got 372″, just 8″ below the average to this point.
Wolf Creek got 64″ in March – below their average of 75.8″. So far this season, they got 372″, just 8″ below the average to this point.
Snowpack across much of the western US is below average. Colorado is ok.
Snowpack across much of the western US is below average. Colorado is doing ok.
Detailed snowpack data for our nearby basins on 1 Apr 2022 – The Upper San Juan snotel is at 102% for this date and 93% of its seasonal average. The Wolf Creek Summit snotel is at 120% and 96% of its seasonal average. Something else to note is that snowpack for the Upper San Juan site peaks around 9 April and for the Wolf Creek Summit it peaks around 29 April.
Detailed snowpack data for our nearby basins on 1 Apr 2022 –

The Upper San Juan snotel is at 102% for this date and 93% of its seasonal average. The Wolf Creek Summit snotel is at 120% and 96% of its seasonal average.

Something else to note is that snowpack for the Upper San Juan site peaks around 9 April and for the Wolf Creek Summit site it peaks around 29 April.

Drought and River flow update…

As of 29 Mar drought over most of Archuleta County is rated “moderate” but the southwest corner is rated “severe”. There has been no change in that last month.
As of 29 Mar drought over most of Archuleta County is rated “moderate” but the southwest corner is rated “severe”. There has been no change in our area in that last month.
San Juan River flow fluctuated considerably in March from a low of 55cfs on 12 Mar to high of 692cfs on 28 Mar.  That's typical this time of year as "freeze/thaw" cycles get more prevalent. I expect run-off to peak a few weeks early this year
San Juan River flow fluctuated considerably in March from a low of 55cfs on 12 Mar to high of 692cfs on 28 Mar. That’s typical this time of year as “freeze/thaw” cycles get more prevalent. I expect run-off to peak a few weeks early this year

April 2022 Outlook…

The average low for April is 24 and the average high is 59. The record high of 81 occurred on 30 April 1981. The record low of -4 occurred on 1 April 1980. April precip averages 1.38″ with 6.3″ of snow. Wolf Creek averages 44.8″ of snow in April and 425.3″ for the season to 30 April.

The CPC temperature outlook for April expects a good chance for above average temps.
The CPC temperature outlook for April expects a good chance for above average temps.
The CPC precipitation outlook for April shows a good chance for below average precip.
The CPC precipitation outlook for April shows a good chance for below average precip.
This is the Euro 500mb height anomaly from 1 Apr to 1 May – Each chart is for that 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 first week there are a couple of transient systems that don't favor us. Then the pattern is quiet for 4 or 5 days and then gets active again few a days beginning around the 10th. Ridging builds over the region the last week of the month resulting in dry and warm weather.
This is the Euro 500mb height anomaly from 1 Apr to 1 May – Each chart is for that 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 first week there are a couple of transient systems that don’t favor us. Then the pattern is quiet for 4 or 5 days and then gets active again few a days beginning around the 10th. Ridging will then build over the region the last week of the month resulting in dry and warm weather.

And what do we expect?

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

“The Arctic Oscillation is no longer a player in the global weather pattern as the sun angle changes and temperatures modify. The Madden Julian is weak at this time. There is a chance that it may reemerge in the western Pacific in early April. We’ll closely monitor that. The La’Nina is still in control in the tropical areas. A few areas have started to warm but in all areas the temperatures are colder then average.”

“The first half of the month looks good with a system coming through around the 5th and 6th and another around the 11th-13th. If the MJO will strengthen, the mid month system could have significant moisture with it. However, the final half of the month is looking to be firmly in the control of the LaNina which means the polar front jet and system energy will stay to our north.”

“I expect April to have below average precipitation and warmer than average temps.”

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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