Pagosa Weather MAY SUMMARY and June Outlook

Drought conditions are getting worse across southwest Colorado

Drought conditions are getting worse across southwest Colorado

Wednesday – 1 June – 8:45am

May 2022 Summary…

The average low for May is 30 and the average high is 68. The record high of 89 occurred on 30 May 1910. The record low of 8 occurred on 1 May 1967. May precip averages 1.26″ with 1.1″ of snow. Wolf Creek Pass averages 2.05″ of liquid equivalent, 12.09″ of snow in May and 437.4″ for the season.

How did we do? Check out these charts…

May temps were 2-3 degrees above average across Archuleta County
Temps in May were 2-3 degrees above average across Archuleta County
Precip in May was less than 5% of average for most of the county.  The northwest part of the county was in the 5-25% range. It was likely barely over 5%.
Precip in May was less than 5% of average for most of the county. The northwest part of the county was in the 5-25% range. It was likely barely over 5%.
Precip for April and May has been less than 25% of average for Archuleta County.
Precip for April and May has been less than 25% of average for Archuleta County.
CoCoRaHS precip reports for May range from a trace to 0.09" - well below the average of 1.26"
CoCoRaHS precip reports for May range from a trace to 0.09″ – well below the average of 1.26″

Drought and River Flow…

The most recent drought map on 24 May 2022 is on the left.  The one on the right is from a month ago, 26 Apr 2022. Most of Archuleta County has gone from "moderate drought" to "extreme drought".
The most recent drought map on 24 May 2022 is on the left. The one on the right is from a month ago, 26 Apr 2022. Most of Archuleta County has gone from “moderate drought” to “extreme drought”.
San Juan River flow for the last 30 days: The yellow line is for this year. The purple line is for last year.  And the dotted line is the historical median. Based on the median, river flow peaked 3 weeks early this year.
San Juan River flow for the last 30 days: The yellow line is for this year. The purple line is for last year. And the dotted line is the historical median. Based on the median, river flow peaked 3 weeks early this year.
These are lake levels for the primary reservoirs tracked in the Upper Colorado River shed. I highlighted the San Juan River drainage lakes at the bottom of the table. I did some digging to determine that Navajo Lake bottomed out at 49.85% of full pool on 16 Mar. It has gained just over 6%. As of yesterday, 30 May, inflows were 1,046cfs and outflows were 293cfs. Inflows peaked on 9 May at 2,951cfs.
These are lake levels for the primary reservoirs tracked in the Upper Colorado River shed. I highlighted the San Juan River drainage lakes at the bottom of the table. I did some digging to determine that Navajo Lake bottomed out at 49.85% of full pool on 16 Mar. It has gained just over 6%. As of yesterday, 30 May, inflows were 1,046cfs and outflows were 293cfs. Inflows peaked on 9 May at 2,951cfs.

June 2022 Outlook…

The average low for June is 36 and the average high is 78. The record high of 101 occurred on 30 June 1934. The record low of 20 occurred on 2 June 1908. Historically June is our driest month with 0.93″ precip and 0″ of snow. Wolf Creek Pass averages 1.74″ of liquid equivalent and 1.2″ of snow.

The Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for June expects us to be warmer than average.
The Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for June expects us to be warmer than average.
The Climate Prediction Center precipitation outlook for June indicates a 33-40% chance for below average precip. I think it's more like a 75% chance.
The Climate Prediction Center precipitation outlook for June indicates a 33-40% chance for below average precip.
These are the long range ensemble precipitation anomalies for June. The Euro is top center, GFS is bottom left, and Canadian is bottom right. These products are not reliable and are often inconsistent. The Euro expects Pagosa Springs to get 0.23" less than normal.  The GFS is the most optimistic with 0.77" above normal.  The Canadian is in the middle with 0.20" above normal.
These are the long range ensemble precipitation anomalies for June. The Euro is top center, GFS is bottom left, and Canadian is bottom right – in order of my preference. These products are not reliable and are often inconsistent. The Euro expects Pagosa Springs to get 0.23″ less than normal. The GFS is the most optimistic with 0.77″ above normal. The Canadian is in the middle with 0.20″ above normal.

And what do we expect?

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

The focus of the June Outlook is whether the monsoon will set up or not. The MJO is active and in a favorable zone but the storm track is too far north for us. Temperatures in northern Mexico, southern Arizona, and southern New Mexico are heating up and will be in the 100 degree range this week. In response the 500MB ridge (around 18,000ft high) will start to build over the next few weeks. Southern Arizona will see the first sputters of the monsoon the third week in June. We’ll be dry the next three weeks with only the possibility for a few isolated thunderstorms a few times. Finally, the last week in June we should see an impact from the monsoon and some widespread showers and thunderstorms that will bring welcome relief.

*** Fire danger will increase. We’re dry and will get more dry over the next 3 weeks. Spotty thunderstorms could spark new fires. If you see lightning or hear thunder, keep an eye out for smoke, not just the day it happens, but also the next few days afterwards too. Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you spot smoke. ***

We’ll try to stay optimistic! Keep in mind that most precip through the summer is convective which is highly variable. One slow moving thunderstorm can drop a month’s worth of rain over a few lucky spots. Let’s hope for a few of those slow movers!

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

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And if you’re curious about us, check out this excellent video by Matt Martin. We are humbled and honored that he used his talent and time to spotlight Pagosa Weather!

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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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