Red Flag Warning tomorrow and likely again Friday…

Smoky sunrise this morning… Pic taken 5/18/2022 at 6:05am

Smoky sunrise this morning… Pic taken 5/18/2022 at 6:05am

Wednesday – 18 May 2022 – 7:50am

17 May, 9pm Plumtaw Fire update…

As of 9pm last night, Tuesday, 17 May 2022, the Plumtaw Fire had burned 600 acres.  It’s located 7 miles north of Pagosa Springs, 2 miles west of the intersections of Plumtaw and Fourmile Roads.

*** The two air sensors near town indicate “Unhealthy” and the sensor on Dutton Drive indicates “Unhealthy for sensitive groups”.  *** Smoke will improve in town as winds pick up later this morning.

Multiple agencies are involved and aggressively fighting the fire.  For updates follow “USDA Forest Service – San Juan National Forest” and “Archuleta County, CO Sheriff’s Office” on Facebook.

A HUGE thanks to the San Juan National Forest crew and everybody else that is aggressively tackling the fire!

The Plumtaw Fire map as of 17 May 2022 at 9pm
The Plumtaw Fire map as of 17 May 2022 at 9pm
Plumtaw Fire - Pics taken 5/17/2022 around 5pm
Plumtaw Fire – Pics taken 5/17/2022 around 5pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday afternoon was 79 and the low this morning was 39. Humidity yesterday afternoon bottomed out at 9%. Winds yesterday afternoon peaked at 28mph at 5:55pm.

Precip summary… None in the last 24 hours.

Forecast discussion…

*** The Grand Junction National Weather Service has issued a RED FLAG WARNING valid 11am to 10pm Thursday. Conditions will be favorable for easy ignition and rapid spread of fires. ***

*** The San Juan National Forest will enter Stage 1 Fire Restrictions on 25 May. ***

Today a weak trough will move through and could kick up an isolated shower or two over the mountains. As always with convective activity, winds will be erratic near showers and thunderstorms.

Thursday and Friday the next system will stay to our north but bump our winds to around 40mph. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for tomorrow and I expect another one issued for Friday. Friday afternoon will be marginally unstable so we could see a spotty afternoon shower or thunderstorm, mostly over the mountains.

Saturday will still be unstable with another slight chance for spotty afternoon showers and thunderstorms as the trough lingers over northern Colorado.

The NBM model continues to show our area dry for the next 10 days while the Euro and GFS models expect us to get a little more active. Unfortunately I don’t see a good soaker anytime soon.

Satellite this morning: Smoke is visible on this zoomed in satellite image of Archuleta County.
Satellite this morning: Smoke is visible on this zoomed in satellite image of Archuleta County.
Fire and smoke map this morning: The map isn’t picking up on our smoke plume, but the air sensors are.  The two air sensors near town indicate “Unhealthy” and the sensor the air sensor on Dutton Drive indicates “Unhealthy for sensitive groups”.  Most of the recent fires are “under investigation”, but… *** Not having a campfire or not taking care of your burn pile is an inconvenience.  Burning down a neighborhood or a good chunk of forest would impact a lot of people.  It’s not worth it! ***
Fire and smoke map this morning – the inset is Archuleta County: The map isn’t picking up on our smoke plume, but the air sensors are.  The two air sensors near town indicate “Unhealthy” and the sensor on Dutton Drive indicates “Unhealthy for sensitive groups”.  Most of the recent fires are “under investigation”, but…

*** Not having a campfire or not taking care of your burn pile is an inconvenience.  Burning down a neighborhood or a good chunk of forest would impact a lot of people.  It’s not worth it! ***

My forecast…

* The forecast periods are from 8am to 8am. *
* The forecast periods are from 8am to 8am. *
NBM forecast precip through 29 May at midnight -  This blend of various models still expects us to be dry for the next 10 days. The Euro and GFS models continue to expect us to get a little more active. Unfortunately I don’t see a good soaker anytime soon.
NBM forecast precip through 29 May at midnight –  This blend of various models still expects us to be dry for the next 10 days. The Euro and GFS models continue to expect us to get a little more active. Unfortunately I don’t see a good soaker anytime soon.
Euro ensemble wind gusts to 1 June at 6pm – The top shows wind gusts for 50 different runs of the Euro model.  I focus on the bottom which shows the mean of those runs.  The chart is read left to right with the most current time on the left.  Times are in Zulu.  I added the max wind speeds every day at 00Z/6PM for clarity.  Our peak winds usually occur between 18Z and 00Z. Thursday and Friday winds will peak around 40mph and then they’ll taper off. The Euro expects winds in the 25-30mph range all the way through the end of the month.
Euro ensemble wind gusts to 1 June at 6pm – The top shows wind gusts for 50 different runs of the Euro model.  I focus on the bottom which shows the mean of those runs.  The chart is read left to right with the most current time on the left.  Times are in Zulu.  I added the max wind speeds every day at 00Z/6PM for clarity.  Our peak winds usually occur between 18Z and 00Z.

Thursday and Friday winds will peak around 40mph and then they’ll taper off. The Euro expects winds in the 25-30mph range all the way through the end of the month.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
6984 / 19563018 / 1931

Mark your calendars…

Pagosa Weather is doing a presentation at the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library on Thursday, 26 May at 6pm.  We’d love to meet you and answer questions!

Pagosa Weather is also setting up a “meet and greet” booth at the Ski & Bow Rack on Friday, 27 May from noon to 4pm.  Come say hi!

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

I might do a quick update later today, otherwise I’ll get another post out 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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