Pagosa Weather JULY SUMMARY and August Outlook

The current drought map shows a slight improvement over Archuleta County

The current drought map shows a slight improvement over Archuleta County

Monday – 1 Aug 2022 – 6:45pm

July 2022 Summary…

The average low for July is 44 and the average high is 83. The record high of 99 occurred on 7 July 1989. The record low of 24 occurred on 5 July 1912. Precip averages 2.01″ in July. Wolf Creek Pass averages 3.61″ of rain and 0″ of snow.

This is what Arleen said about July a month ago:

“The wonderful monsoon pattern will continue! Most days we’ll see afternoon showers and thunderstorms, but there will be dry periods from time to time. The second week will be the quietest as the subtropical ridge slips a little to our west which will temporarily cut off the moisture feed. Then things ramp right back up the third week in July with a better chance for showers each afternoon and into some some evenings. July will be similar to June with more than average precipitation.”

And how did things turn out? Check out these charts…

Temps in July were 1-2 degrees above average for most of the county
Temps in July were 1-2 degrees above average for most of the county
Precip in July was above average for the whole county.  Based on the next two charts, we did better than this.
Precip in July was above average for the whole county. Based on the next two charts, we did better than this.
This is Quantitative Precipitation Estimates. This product estimates precip amounts using multiple sources. It’s not perfect but is useful in data sparse regions like ours. Estimated precip in July was 150-300% of normal across the county.
This is Quantitative Precipitation Estimates – an estimate of precip amounts using multiple sources. It’s not perfect but is useful in data sparse regions like ours.
Estimated precip in July was 150-300% of normal across the county.
CoCoRaHS rainfall totals in July range from 3.54" to 5.18", well above the July average of 2.01"!
CoCoRaHS rainfall totals in July range from 3.54″ to 5.18″, well above the July average of 2.01″!

FOUR new volunteers have joined the CoCoRaHS team: Lorren, Lisa, Amanda, and Mike! Their “official” precip reports will fill data gaps in Archuleta County. Udgar on Catchpole is also considering joining the team.

Archuleta County is well represented but we still have big data gaps. Look at the map above. We really need volunteers in TOWN, Arboles, west highway 160, Pagosa Junction, and the upper Blanco.

To learn more about the CoCoRaHS program, please send an email to PagosaWeather@gmail.com or send us a message on Facebook.

By the way, Arleen nailed her outlook for July!

Drought and River Flow…

The most current drought map is on the left and the one from a month ago is on the right. The southwest third of the county remains under "severe drought" while the rest of the county has improved to "moderate drought".  *Reminder that winter snow has far more impact on drought conditions than summer rain.*
The most current drought map is on the left and the one from a month ago is on the right. The southwest third of the county remains under “severe drought” while the rest of the county has improved to “moderate drought”.
*Reminder that winter snow has far more impact on drought conditions than summer rain.*
San Juan River flow in July was mostly below the mean but there was a significant jump the last few days of the month due to soaking rains.
San Juan River flow in July was mostly below the mean but there was a significant jump the last few days of the month due to soaking rains.
These are lake levels for the primary reservoirs tracked in the Upper Colorado River shed. On the left is the most current one and the one on the right is from a month ago. I highlighted the San Juan River drainage lakes at the bottom of the table. In spite of above average precip for the last two months, the three reservoirs tracked in the San Juan drainage have all dropped.  This is another reminder that winter snow is far more beneficial than summer rain.
These are lake levels for the primary reservoirs tracked in the Upper Colorado River shed. On the left is the most current one and the one on the right is from a month ago. I highlighted the San Juan River drainage lakes at the bottom of the table.
In spite of above average precip for the last two months, the three reservoirs tracked in the San Juan drainage have all dropped. This is another reminder that winter snow is far more beneficial than summer rain.

August 2022 Outlook…

The average low for August is 45 and the average high is 80. The record high of 97 occurred on 5 August 1940. The record low of 28 occurred on 30 August 1978. Precip averages 2.69″ in August – our wettest month. Wolf Creek Pass averages 4.32″ of rain and 0″ of snow.

The Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for August is leaning towards below average temps for us while most of the rest of the country is expected to see above average temps.
The Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for August is leaning towards below average temps for us while most of the rest of the country is expected to see above average temps.
The Climate Prediction Center precipitation outlook for August leans toward above average precip for us.
The Climate Prediction Center precipitation outlook for August leans toward above average precip for us.
30-day precip forecast for the Euro ensemble on the left and the GFS ensemble on the right – The Euro expects 6.70″ and the GFS expects 6.72″. Both are well above the average of 2.69″.
30-day precip forecast for the Euro ensemble on the left and the GFS ensemble on the right – The Euro expects 6.70″ and the GFS expects 6.72″. Both are well above the average of 2.69″.

And what do we expect?

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

August is looking good for continued strong monsoonal activity. A warm bubble of high temperatures will stay in place over the southern plains. As a result, a strong ridge stays in our area. It will wobble to our west from time to time giving us an occasional dry day or two. But for the most part we will continue to see afternoon rainshowers and thunderstorms throughout the month resulting in the 3rd month in a row of above average precipitation.

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

Another HUGE thanks to our donors and sponsors! You help cover the cost of this web page and our weather subscriptions, necessary to provide you accurate weather reports!

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!

  • 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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2 Responses

  1. “The current drought map shows a slight improvement over Archuleta County”

    LOL…, We are so wet I cannot get may tractor through the pasture without bogging down. We are way ahead in rain in June and July as to be ridiculous and by my #s ahead YTD on total average precipitation. From prior conversations with the NOAH people their drought maps lag behind reality by 3-4 months.

    1. Frank – thanks for your comment and observations!

      Drought is a slow process. A couple of months of above average precip are helpful but don’t end it. Yes, your backyard may not be currently experiencing drought conditions but the region as a whole is.

      Paul Miller, a hydrologist at the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City says “Depending on the source that you look at, 95 to 98 percent of our water supply comes from the snowpack in the Colorado mountains.”

      “From a water supply standpoint, the monsoon rain is great for maybe reducing the number of days you have to water your lawn this week or something along those lines. But as far as refilling Lake Mead or Lake Powell, which are the two major reservoirs which drive water supply conditions in the Colorado River Basin, it really is a drop in the bucket.”

      The problem is a dry season means much of the snow gets absorbed by mountain soil. There’s less runoff.

      Check out the two lake level maps above. Nearly every lake is down in spite of above average precip. So again, drought is a slow process and is considered across regions – big scale, not small.

      Shawn

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