Sunday/Monday system thumbs down – Monday night through Wednesday evening thumbs up! …

Tommy always “helps” us shovel snow! – Pic taken 12/2/2022

Tommy always “helps” us shovel snow! – Pic taken 12/2/2022

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Friday – 2 Dec 2022 – 2:00pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday afternoon was 48. The low this morning was 32. Winds peaked this morning at the airfield at 32mph. Winds on the Wolf Creek summit/Lobo Overlook sensor peaked this morning at 77mph.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4465 / 190610-12 / 1975

Precip summary… It started snowing between 6 and 7am this morning and came down pretty good for 1-2 hours.  Most reports are in the 1-2” range. Wolf Creek reported a trace of snow at 6am this morning. It snowed heavily up there for a few hours and is still snowing lightly as I type at 1pm. Better precip totals for this storm will be in tomorrow’s post.

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – The trough has moved through our area.  That second trough will only impact northern Colorado.  The wildcard for us is that band of subtropical moisture getting pushed into our area from the southwest. That will keep us cloudy and we’ll see occasional light snow.  The deepest moisture from that band will move through tomorrow morning and kick up a few more snowshowers.
Water vapor satellite this morning – The trough has moved through our area.  That second trough will only impact northern Colorado.  The wildcard for us is that band of subtropical moisture getting pushed into our area from the southwest. That will keep us mostly cloudy and we’ll see occasional light snow.  The deepest moisture from that subtropical band will move through tomorrow morning and kick up a few more snowshowers.
Radar this morning – Snow is becoming more scattered in our area but falling pretty good along I-70 and the northern Colorado mountains. Otherwise, there isn’t much going on over most of the western US this morning.
Radar this morning – Snow is becoming more scattered in our area but was falling pretty good along I-70 and the northern Colorado mountains. Otherwise, there isn’t much going on over most of the western US this morning.

Through this afternoon… We’ll be mostly cloudy with some patches of blue sky.  Occasional short-lived light snow will fall in parts of the valley. The mountains will continue to see occasional bursts of heavier snow through the day.

Additional snow…

Valley: a dusting

Mountains: 1-3”

*** The Winter Weather Advisories for the mountains expire at 5pm. The heaviest snow is over. ***

Saturday… A band of subtropical moisture will move through and kick up a round of snowshowers.  The best chance for showers is 7am to noon.

Snow amounts:

Valley: Up to a half inch in a few lucky spots

Mountains: 1-2” but it will be spotty

Sunday through Monday afternoon… My confidence is waning with this system. The trend is for a weaker system and with less moisture. It’s still going to be warm resulting in a mostly rain event for the valley.

Snow levels will pop above 8,500ft Sunday afternoon through Sunday evening resulting in rain for all of us. As snow levels lower below 8,000ft after midnight, moisture will be decreasing.

The best chance for precip is Sunday evening through Monday morning with scattered showers a few hours on either side, especially over the mountains.

Snow amounts:

Valley below 8,500ft: 0-1”

Mountains above 9,000ft: 2-4”

WPC 24-hour precip valid Sunday evening to Monday evening – It expects 0.06” of mostly rain for the valley and up to 0.30” in our mountains. Each model run has less precip for this period.
WPC 24-hour precip valid Sunday evening to Monday evening – It expects 0.06” of mostly rain for the valley and up to 0.30” in our mountains. Each model run has less precip for this period.

Monday night through Wednesday evening… Dare I get my hopes up – this looks like the main event! The primary low will sink slowly south along the CA coast and then track across northern AZ/southern UT – a favorable route for us.

We’ll have a prolonged period of upper level southwest flow and waves of moisture.  The best storm energy and moisture will be late Tuesday through Wednesday.

I’ll tackle snow amounts for this period in tomorrow’s post.

The WPC 48-hour precip valid Monday evening to Wednesday evening shows 0.48” for Pagosa and up to 1.25” in our mountains. This would equate to around 5” of snow in town and 15-20” in the mountains. This model is on the low end for today’s round of forecast models. Here are snow totals for Pagosa Springs for three of the primary models: Euro 11.3”, GFS 16.3”, Canadian 18.2”. On Monday everyone needs to do your snow dances and wash your cars!
The WPC 48-hour precip valid Monday evening to Wednesday evening shows 0.48” for Pagosa and up to 1.25” in our mountains. This would equate to around 5” of snow in town and 15-20” in the mountains. This model is on the low end for today’s batch of forecast models.

Here are snow totals for Pagosa Springs from three of the primary models: Euro 11.3”, GFS 16.3”, Canadian 18.2”.

On Monday everyone needs to do your snow dances and wash your cars!
Euro 500mb vorticity Sunday at 11pm to Thursday at 5am – 500mb is roughly 18,000ft and a good level to track the overall pattern. Vorticity is the spinning of air. The colors indicate the strength of the vorticity and potential upward vertical motion. Vorticity often indicates clouds and precip.  Initially the low is off the northern CA coast.  Flow is west-southwest over us. That’s an ok fetch for us, but the mountains in southern CA block most of the moisture. By Tuesday afternoon, the low is over southern CA and flow over is us southwest.  This is what we want to see! Storm energy (vorticity) increases until the trough moves through late Wednesday night. Note on the last chart, there is another trough off the southern CA coast. That trough could bring another round of snow on Friday.
Euro 500mb vorticity Sunday at 11pm to Thursday at 5am – 500mb is roughly 18,000ft and is a good level to track the overall pattern. Vorticity is the spinning of air. The colors indicate the strength of the vorticity and potential upward vertical motion. Vorticity often indicates clouds and precip. 

Initially the low is off the northern CA coast.  Flow is west-southwest over us. That’s an ok fetch for us, but the mountains in southern CA block most of the moisture. By Tuesday afternoon, the low is over southern CA and flow over us is southwest.  This is what we want to see! Storm energy (vorticity) increases until the trough moves through late Wednesday night.

Note on the last chart, there is another trough off the southern CA coast. That trough could bring us another round of snow on Friday.

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. *

My next forecast post will be tomorrow morning.

– 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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