Enjoy the great weather! It will change Wednesday night…

Beautiful drive through the San Luis Valley yesterday – Pic taken 10/29/2022

Beautiful drive through the San Luis Valley yesterday – Pic taken 10/29/2022

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Sunday – 30 Oct 2022 – 11:00am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 54 and the low this morning was 25. Winds at the airfield hit 10mph yesterday.

Precip summary… There was no precip in the last 2 days.

Forecast discussion…

Today through Tuesday… A weak trough will skirt the area today so we’ll see a few more clouds, but will stay dry. Otherwise, ridging is in control and will give us lots of sun. Temps will be near average.

Wednesday night through Friday… The next system will slowly move through the region. The low is expected to move through central AZ Thursday afternoon through Friday morning and then through southern NM Friday and Saturday. For travelers, keep a close eye on travel conditions, including the higher sections along I-40 through AZ and NM. In those areas 40-60mph winds and brief periods of poor visibility could pose a problem.

Wednesday evening and overnight… The chance for precip will ramp up through the night. The snow level will bounce around between 8,000ft and 9,000ft.

Valley below 8,500ft… Mostly rain with a few occasional snowflakes – no snow accumulation

Mountains above 9,000ft… 4-6” of snow and winds to 50mph

Thursday morning to late afternoon… The snow level will bounce around between 8,000ft and 8,500ft and temps will be above freezing so snow will have trouble sticking in the valley.

Below 8,000ft: Mostly rain occasionally mixed with snow – no snow accumulation

Above 8,000ft in the valley: wet snow occasionally mixed with rain – up to an inch of slushy snow on cold surfaces

Above 9,000ft in the mountains: 6-10” and winds to 60mph

Thursday evening to Friday morning… The snow level will drop below 7,000ft and surface temps will cool resulting in snow for the valley. Typical of these systems, moisture will decrease as temps drop which makes the snow forecast tricky.

Below 8,000ft: 1-3”

Above 8,000ft in the valley: 2-4”

Above 9,000ft in the mountains: 3-6”

Friday… The bulk of the snow will be done by sunrise on Friday, and we’ll see gradual clearing with scattered snow showers through the day. Snow will be spotty with up to inch in the valley and 2-4” in the mountains.

Wild cards with this system…

– The amount of warm air. Less warm air than I expect will result in considerably more snow for the valley.  Slightly warmer air will result in less snow.

– The amount of moisture Thursday night as temps cool, and the snow level lowers. If moisture decreases quickly, we’ll get less snow.  If moisture sticks around, we’ll get a little more snow.

– A couple of forecast models expect another wave of storm energy on Friday but I think the bulk of the precip will be done by sunrise on Friday.

Total snowfall forecast…

Below 8,000ft: 1-3”

Above 8,000ft in the valley: 3-6”

Above 9,000ft in the mountains: 14-20”

** I’ll adjust timing and amounts as the data gets better. **

Water vapor satellite this morning: A weak trough will skirt to our south and bring us a few more mid and high level clouds today.  The ridge extending into central ID will give us lots of sun and dry weather through Tuesday.
Water vapor satellite this morning: A weak trough will skirt to our south and bring us a few more mid and high level clouds today.  The ridge extending into central ID will give us lots of sun and dry weather through Tuesday.

There is nothing on radar this morning.

My forecast…

See the forecast discussion above for more specific timing and snow amounts. * The forecast periods are from 8am to 8am. *
See the forecast discussion above for more specific timing and snow amounts.

* The forecast periods are from 8am to 8am. *
The NBM snowfall through Friday at 6pm expects 2.7” for Pagosa and 12-18” in our mountains.  Snow amounts continue to vary considerably between models, but the NBM looks the most reasonable to me.
The NBM snowfall through Friday at 6pm expects 2.7” for Pagosa and 12-18” in our mountains.  Snow amounts continue to vary considerably between models, but the NBM looks the most reasonable to me.
The NBM liquid equivalent through Friday at 6pm expects 1.42” for Pagosa and up to 2.4” in our mountains. IF this system was colder and we got 10:1 ratio snow, that would be 14” of snow for Pagosa and 24” in the mountains.
The NBM liquid equivalent through Friday at 6pm expects 1.42” for Pagosa and up to 2.4” in our mountains. IF this system was colder and we got 10:1 ratio snow, that would be 14” of snow for Pagosa and 24” in the mountains.
Euro 500mb vorticity Wednesday evening to Saturday morning – 500mb is roughly 18,000ft and is a good level to track the overall pattern.  Vorticity is the spinning of air and indicates the potential for upward vertical motion which causes clouds and precip. Strong southwest and then southerly winds will funnel moisture into our area ahead of the low.  Note the track of the low across AZ and then NM. For travelers, keep a close eye on travel conditions, including the higher sections along I-40 through AZ and NM. In those areas 40-60mph winds and brief periods of poor visibility could pose a problem.
Euro 500mb vorticity Wednesday evening to Saturday morning – 500mb is roughly 18,000ft and is a good level to track the overall pattern.  Vorticity is the spinning of air and indicates the potential for upward vertical motion which causes clouds and precip.

Strong southwest and then southerly winds will funnel moisture into our area ahead of the low.  Note the track of the low across AZ and then NM. For travelers, keep a close eye on travel conditions, including the higher sections along I-40 through AZ and NM. In those areas 40-60mph winds and brief periods of poor visibility could pose a problem.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
5569 / 1990226 / 1989

My next post will either be tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday afternoon.

– Shawn

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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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