Scattered PM showers & thunderstorms will continue…

Even Pagosa Weather pup Tommy admires the fall colors! – pic taken 10/5/2022

Even Pagosa Weather pup Tommy admires the fall colors! – pic taken 10/5/2022

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Friday – 7 Oct 2022 – 2:00pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 63 and the low this morning was 37. The upper Piedra had a low of 29 and Mark had a low of 31 just north of Hatcher Lake. The average low right now is 29 so most of us have been seeing morning lows about 10 degrees warmer than average. Humidity yesterday afternoon bottomed out at 35%. Winds at the airfield hit 7mph yesterday.

Precip summary… A few raindrops fell in a few parts of the county. The CoCoRaHS 24-hour rain lottery winner was Lisa in the San Juan River Village.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour precip reports range from zero to 0.02”
CoCoRaHS 24-hour precip reports range from zero to 0.02”

Forecast discussion…

We’re still in the battleground between a ridge to the northwest and a cutoff low to the southwest. The upper level low will wobble around the southern NM, southern AZ, and northern Mexico region through the week. This puts us in the “col” between the ridge and the low.

Warning… science geek stuff to follow…

Euro 500mb winds and heights at 6pm today – This is an excellent example of a col. Upper level flow is diffluent in our area between the ridge to the northwest and the low to the southwest. Diffluence aloft can lead to upward vertical motion and instability.  However, as is often the case in meteorology, another force tries to even things out: speed convergence.  In this case 15kt winds are slowing to 5kts over us. Convergence often leads to downward vertical motion and more stable conditions. My challenge is to determine which is stronger, the directional diffluence or the speed convergence? In this case, I think instability fueled by the diffluence will win and we’ll see scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms.
Euro 500mb winds and heights at 6pm today – This is an excellent example of a col.

Upper level flow is diffluent in our area between the ridge to the northwest and the low to the southwest. Diffluence aloft can lead to upward vertical motion and instability. 

However, as is often the case in meteorology, another force tries to even things out: speed convergence.  In this case 15kt winds are slowing to 5kts over us. Convergence often leads to downward vertical motion and more stable conditions.

My challenge is to determine which is stronger, the directional diffluence or the speed convergence? In this case, I think instability fueled by the diffluence will win and we’ll see scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms.

It’s a stagnant weather pattern that will result in just enough moisture and instability to kick up spotty afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Storms today and tomorrow will be slow movers and will be capable of dropping heavy rain over small areas. The snow level will average 11,000ft to 12,000ft but could briefly drop to 10,500ft with stronger showers.

I was hoping to discuss a cooler storm and possible snow next week.  In typical transition season fashion, the models are all over the place with the low pressure system. 

Today’s round of forecast models keeps the bulk of the colder air, moisture, and storm energy to our north.  My forecast confidence for this system has been weak and is getting weaker. Right now I’m not expecting much precip and the snow level should stay above 10,000ft.

GeoColor satellite this afternoon: Cumulus clouds have developed over the mountains.
GeoColor satellite this afternoon: Cumulus clouds have developed over the mountains.
Radar this afternoon: Showers are moving very slowly towards the south.  Because they are slow movers, they could drop a bunch of rain in short periods over small areas.
Radar this afternoon: Showers are moving very slowly towards the south.  Because they are slow movers, they could drop a bunch of rain in short periods over small areas.

My forecast…

* The forecast periods are from 8am to 8am. * With showers and thunderstorms expect brief periods of heavy rain, small hail, gusty winds, and lightning.
* The forecast periods are from 8am to 8am. * With showers and thunderstorms expect brief periods of heavy rain, small hail, gusty winds, and lightning.
The NWS 72-hour forecast precip indicates 0.22” in Pagosa Springs and up to 0.90” in our mountains.
The NWS 72-hour forecast precip indicates 0.22” in Pagosa Springs and up to 0.90” in our mountains.
The NWS 72-hour snowfall forecast indicates 2-5” above timberline in our mountains. The snow level will bounce around between 11,000ft and 12,000ft.
The NWS 72-hour snowfall forecast indicates 2-5” above timberline in our mountains. The snow level will bounce around between 11,000ft and 12,000ft.
Euro forecast model precip through next Friday at 6pm expects 0.39”. Note the soaking expected for much of NM and western TX. The NBM shows 0.23” and the GFS shows 0.54”.  The trend is for less precip next week, but the models are fluctuating considerably.
Euro forecast model precip through next Friday at 6pm expects 0.39”. Note the soaking expected for much of NM and western TX. The NBM shows 0.23” and the GFS shows 0.54”.  The trend is for less precip next week, but the models are fluctuating considerably.
500mb vorticity for the GFS on the left and Euro valid at 4am on Wednesday morning – 500mb is at roughly 18,000ft and is a good level to track the overall pattern. Vorticity is the spinning of air. I added the trough, red dashed lines, on both charts.  The GFS expects the trough to miss us to the north while the Euro expects us to catch the tail end of it.  Either way, we’d just get scraps, and the colder air would stay to our north and east.
500mb vorticity for the GFS on the left and Euro on the right valid at 4am on Wednesday morning – 500mb is at roughly 18,000ft and is a good level to track the overall pattern. Vorticity is the spinning of air. I added the trough, red dashed lines, on both charts. 

The GFS expects the trough to miss us to the north while the Euro expects us to catch the tail end of it.  Either way, we’d just get scraps, and the colder air would stay to our north and east.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
6880 / 19872912 / 1955

A BIG thanks to Craig and the crew of High Country Fishing Charters for sharing their passion of fly-fishing with a group of vets from Warriors Mountain River Adventures.
A BIG thanks to Craig and the crew of High Country Fishing Charters for sharing their passion of fly-fishing with a group of vets from Warriors Mountain River Adventures.

I look forward to meeting some of Archuleta County’s CoCoRaHS volunteers tomorrow!

My next update will be on Sunday.

– Shawn

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Shawn Pro

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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