Winter is coming…at least for a few days!

Winter is coming

Friday – 21 Oct 2022 – 2pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 67 and the low this morning was 29 degrees. Humidity yesterday afternoon bottomed out at 16%. Winds at the airfield hit 16mph yesterday.

Precipitation summary… Once again, there was no precipitation to summarize from yesterday!

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Forecast discussion…

Enjoy the sunshine and relatively warm temperatures today and tomorrow as we see low to mid 60’s for highs. Our temps will drop back down to the upper 20’s and low 30’s tonight and winds will continue to increase out of the SW ahead of the big trough digging into the Pacific NW.

By Saturday, the trough digs into the Great Basin, increasing our surface winds to 15-25mph with gusts to 30mph by the afternoon. We will remain mostly sunny tomorrow but cloud up quickly after sunset as our SW flow starts bringing in moisture to the surface as well as the upper and mid-levels of the atmosphere. Rain and some thunderstorms will begin in the valley and snow and some thundersnow will start in the mountains after sunset on Saturday, ramping up on Sunday morning as the front and trough close in. While there could be some snow showers in the morning in the valley, the best odds for snow will be after noon on Sunday as the colder air arrives and snow levels drop to around 7000 feet. Highs will struggle to get out of the 30’s and with winds gusting to over 40mph there will indeed be a wind chill factor! Snow in the mountains will be blowing around with gusts approaching 50mph, so travel will be very challenging. I expect watches and or warnings to be issued for elevations above 9000 feet on Saturday for Saturday night through Monday morning.

My snow forecast totals have dropped slightly with new model data and a later arrival of the cold air on Sunday. The good news is that we should all see some decent liquid totals from this storm, with most of us getting around an inch.

I am forecasting 12-17 inches of snow for Wolf Creek ski area from Saturday night through Monday morning with the heaviest snow during the day on Sunday.

1-3 inches for elevations of 7500-8000 feet from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning, with some snow showers during the day on Monday.

1/2-2 inches for elevations of 7000-7500 feet from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning, with some snow showers during the day on Monday

If you can plan “not” to travel over Wolf Creek pass on Saturday evening through Monday morning, I would certainly do so. There will be periods of white out with winds gusting to 40mph on Saturday night and 50mph on Sunday.

Screenshot 2022 10 21 125916
Our current mid-level atmosphere is dry under a zonal flow, but that will be changing to a SW flow starting on Saturday as a huge trough moves our way from the Pacific NW.
Front
While it will be cold enough for snow to start falling in the mountains as early as Saturday night, we will need to wait for the cold front to arrive around midday on Sunday to lower our snow levels. If the front arrives earlier, then look for our snow to arrive earlier as well.
Screenshot 2022 10 21 124130
The latest NWS 3-day precipitation total through noon on Sunday is predicting 0.90 inches of liquid for Pagosa, 1.2 inches for the mountains and 0.80 inches for Chama.
Screenshot 2022 10 21 124230
The latest NWS 3-day snowfall total through noon on Monday is only predicting around a 1/2 inch of snow for Pagosa Springs, 1 inch for Chama and 8 inches for Wolf Creek.
NBM 5
The latest NBM model is forecasting 1.08 inches of precipitation from this weekend through Monday of next week.
NBM Snow 3
The latest NBM model is forecasting only 0.4 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and around 16 inches of snow for Wolf Creek from this weekend through Monday of next week.
EURO 4
The latest Euro model run is forecasting 0.75 inches of precipitation from this weekend through Monday of next week.
EURO Snow 3
The latest Euro model run is forecasting 2.1 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and around 16 inches of snow for Wolf Creek from this weekend through Monday of next week.
GFS 5
The latest GFS model is forecasting 0.62 inches of precipitation from this weekend through Monday of next week
GFS Snow 3
The latest GFS model is forecasting 3.1 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 12 inches for Wolf Creek through Monday of next week

My forecast…

Pagosa 5 day forecast 10 21 22
* The forecast periods are from 8am to 8am.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
6077 / 194024-5 / 1910

Check out my Pagosa Peak Cam (myearthcam.com) for watching hikers, bikers and of course, the weather.

-Mark Langford

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