Active weather today – next system Wednesday night & Thursday…

Driving conditions are sketchy on Wolf Creek Pass with poor visibility, periods of heavy snow, and gusty winds – CDOT web cam 10/23/2022 at 9:22am

Driving conditions are sketchy on Wolf Creek Pass with poor visibility, periods of heavy snow, and gusty winds – CDOT web cam 10/23/2022 at 9:22am

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Sunday – 23 Oct 2022 – 10:45am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 61 and the low this morning was 41. Winds at the airfield hit 44mph at 2:15am this morning. The Wolf Creek/Lobo Overlook sensor, elevation 11,759ft, had a peak gust of 90mph also at 2:15am.

Precip summary… Much of the county got a little bit of precip this morning. Mark was the rain lottery winner just north of Hatcher Lake.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour rainfall totals range from zero to 0.15”.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour rainfall totals range from zero to 0.15”.

Forecast discussion…

The cold front is moving west to east across Archuleta County as I type. At 10:30am, CDOT web cams show that it is snowing on Yellow Jacket. The models are struggling so I must rely on surface observations and satellite this morning.

Satellite tells me that widespread precip will fall this morning and then get more spotty after noon behind the cold front.  Later this evening we could have another burst of showers as the upper level trough moves through.

The higher parts of the county, above 7,500ft, will start seeing snowflakes anytime. Unfortunately, because the atmosphere will be drying as it also cools, I think we’ll get less snow in the valley. Surface temps upstream behind the front are all in the mid to upper 30s, even Telluride at 9,070ft is in the mid-30s with a rain/snow mix.  That doesn’t bode well for us.

My snow forecast:

Below 7,500ft: Up to a half inch on cold surfaces

Above 7,500ft: Up to an inch on cold surfaces

Mountains above 9,000ft: 10-15”

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER WEATHER WARNING for the mountains above 8,500ft valid until 6am Monday for 6-12” of snow and locally higher amounts. Winds over 60mph are also occurring. ***

*** The Grand Junction NWS has also issued a WIND ADVISORY for the San Juan River and Animas River Basins, which includes Pagosa Springs, for winds up to 50mph valid until noon today. ***

Thanks to the Springs Resort for sponsoring this storm!
Thanks to the Springs Resort for sponsoring this storm!

Monday a few spotty snowshowers might linger over the mountains, but otherwise, it will be partly cloudy with high temps 15 degrees below average.

Tuesday will be nice with lots of sun, but high temps will be 10-15 degrees below average.

The next system will move through Wednesday night and Thursday. It won’t be as strong as today’s system, but because cooler air will already be in place, snow is more likely to stick in the valley.

My initial snow forecast:

Below 7,500ft: up to 0.5”

Above 7,500ft: 0.5” to 2”

Mountains above 9,000ft: 3-6”

Water vapor satellite this morning: The cold front is moving west to east through Archuleta County as I type. There is a band of clouds and precip with the front, then a dry slot that will improve conditions this afternoon.  Then there’s another band of clouds and shower ahead of the upper level trough that will move through later this evening.
Water vapor satellite this morning: The cold front is moving west to east through Archuleta County as I type. There is a band of clouds and precip with the front, then a dry slot that will improve conditions this afternoon.  Then there’s another band of clouds and shower ahead of the upper level trough that will move through later this evening.
Radar this morning: Radar isn’t picking up on much of the precip in the Four Corners area.
Radar this morning: Radar isn’t picking up on much of the precip in the Four Corners area.

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.
See the forecast discussion above for snowfall amounts.

* 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 expects 0.30” for Pagosa and up to 1.25” in our mountains.
The NWS 72-hour forecast precip expects 0.30” for Pagosa and up to 1.25” in our mountains.
The NWS 72-hour forecast snowfall expects a dusting for most of the valley and 6-12” in the mountains.
The NWS 72-hour forecast snowfall expects a dusting for most of the valley and 6-12” in the mountains.
The WPC blend of models 24-hour precip valid from Wednesday at midnight to Thursday at midnight shows 0.20” for Pagosa and up to 0.50” in the mountains. At a 10:1 ratio snow, that would be 2” of snow for Pagosa but because temps will be near and slightly above freezing, the snow ratio will be more like 6:1 and snow will have trouble sticking. 10:1 ratio snow is likely in the mountains though.
The WPC blend of models 24-hour precip valid from Wednesday at midnight to Thursday at midnight shows 0.20” for Pagosa and up to 0.50” in the mountains. At a 10:1 ratio snow, that would be 2” of snow for Pagosa but because temps will be near and slightly above freezing, the snow ratio will be more like 6:1 and snow will have trouble sticking. 10:1 ratio snow is likely in the mountains though.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
6076 / 194623-2 / 1908

My next update will be tomorrow morning.

– 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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