Chance for snow Wednesday night & Thursday…

It’s great to see snow up at Wolf Creek – Wolf Creek summit web cam 10/24/2022

It’s great to see snow up at Wolf Creek – Wolf Creek summit web cam 10/24/2022

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Monday – 24 Oct 2022 – 10:30am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 43 and the low last night was 27. Winds at the airfield hit 41mph yesterday.

The snow forecast was a dud. What happened?

First the storm energy split with some going to our north and some going to our south.  Our section of the cold front was drying as the front moved through.  While we cooled behind the front, there wasn’t as much moisture as we expected.

Precip summary… Most of the precip was done by noon yesterday but we did pretty good. The rain lottery winner was Kathy near the golf course.  The SNOW lottery winner was Mike in Trujillo. Mike is the first person to report measurable snow this season!

Wolf Creek reported 6” of wet snow yesterday afternoon.  Based on satellite and the Wolf Creek/Lobo Overlook sensor, they might have added another inch overnight.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour rainfall totals range from 0.13” to 0.62”
CoCoRaHS 24-hour rainfall totals range from 0.13” to 0.62”
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snowfall totals range from a trace to 0.5”
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snowfall totals range from a trace to 0.5”

Forecast discussion…

Today a few spotty snowshowers are lingering over the mountains, but otherwise, clouds and showers will clear with high temps 15 degrees below average.

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

The next system will move through Wednesday night and Thursday. It won’t be as strong as yesterday’s system, but because cooler air will already be in place, snow is more likely to stick in the valley. See the charts below for a more thorough explanation.

My snow forecast:

Below 7,500ft: up to 0.5”

Above 7,500ft: 0.5” to 2”

Mountains above 9,000ft: 3-6”

** The best chance for snow is after midnight Wednesday to early Thursday afternoon. **

Water vapor satellite loop this morning: A secondary low is moving east through northern NM. Clouds are wrapping around the low over our area and kicking up weak spotty snowshowers over the mountains.  As the low moves east, we’ll clear out.
Water vapor satellite loop this morning: A secondary low is moving east through northern NM. Clouds are wrapping around the low over our area and kicking up weak spotty snowshowers over the mountains.  As the low moves east, we’ll clear out.
Radar this morning: There isn’t much in our area.  Look closely at Ouray County to see the weak scattered showers that are moving towards the south.
Radar this morning: There isn’t much in our area.  Look closely at Ouray County to see the weak scattered showers that are moving towards the south.

My forecast…

See above for snow forecast amounts. * The forecast periods are from 8am to 8am. *
See the forecast discussion above for snow forecast amounts.
* The forecast periods are from 8am to 8am. *
The NBM forecast precip through Thursday evening expects 0.10” for Pagosa and up to 0.25” in our mountains.
The NBM forecast precip through Thursday evening expects 0.10” for Pagosa and up to 0.25” in our mountains.
The NBM forecast snowfall through Thursday evening expects 1.3” for Pagosa and 3-5” in the mountains.
The NBM forecast snowfall through Thursday evening expects 1.3” for Pagosa and 3-5” in the mountains.
500mb vorticity valid Thursday at noon – 500mb is roughly 18,000ft and a good level to track the overall pattern.  Vorticity is the spinning of air.  Blue, yellow, and red indicate upward vertical motion which often leads to clouds and precipitation. The red arrows indicate the forecasted track of the low.  It’s an interesting track for us. We usually just get scraps from storms moving into our area from the northwest.  In this case, the close proximity to Pagosa Springs will make things more interesting. Of course, a track just a hundred miles in any other direction will result in very different outcomes.
500mb vorticity valid Thursday at noon – 500mb is roughly 18,000ft and a good level to track the overall pattern.  Vorticity is the spinning of air.  Blue, yellow, and red indicate upward vertical motion which often leads to clouds and precipitation. The red arrows indicate the forecasted track of the low. 

It’s an interesting track for us. We usually just get scraps from storms moving into our area from the northwest.  In this case, the close proximity to Pagosa Springs will make things more interesting. Of course, a track just a hundred miles in any other direction will result in very different outcomes.
The University of Utah GFS and Canadian model ensemble snowfall for Wolf Creek – For the Wednesday night/Thursday system the GFS average is 3” while the Canadian average is 6”. The variance for all model runs is zero to 11”. The tighter the band of variance, the greater our forecast confidence. Confidence is still shaky at this point.
The University of Utah GFS and Canadian model ensemble snowfall for Wolf Creek – For the Wednesday night/Thursday system the GFS average is 3” while the Canadian average is 6”. The variance for all model runs is zero to 11”. The tighter the band of variance, the greater our forecast confidence. Confidence is still shaky at this point.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
6076 / 1988226 / 1955

I’ll check everything thoroughly tomorrow morning, and if there aren’t any meaningful changes to my forecast, my next update will be Wednesday 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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