Warmer air is taking a bite out of my forecast!

Downtown Snow

Downtown was getting some decent snow showers this morning as I worked on this post. Snow levels will rise during the day, giving elevations under 7500 feet (downtown) a mix of snow and rain. Photo courtesy of the Jim Smith Realty video cam.

Wednesday – 7 Dec. 2022 – 9:15am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 39 and the low this morning was 32 degrees. Humidity yesterday afternoon bottomed out at 68%. Winds at the airfield hit 12mph yesterday.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4269/ 19068-19 / 1953
310448169 464334978857509 8427265086087382920 n
The Springs Resort is sponsoring this upcoming storm…let’s not let them down!

Precipitation summary…Over the past 24hrs we saw a mix of snow, graupel and light rain, but totals were once again light. Below are 24-hour snow totals. Wolf Creek Ski area reported 9 inches of snow over the past 24 hours and a storm total of 11 inches so far.

24-hour snow totals as of 8am ranged from 0.20 to 1.8 inches (my house about a mile north of Hatcher Lake)
Since some of what fell yesterday was a rain/snow mix, here are the 24hr liquid totals.
Screenshot 2022 12 07 074954
We have Winter Weather Advisories and Avalanche Watches in effect for our area. As of this post time, Pagosa Springs is not included in any watches or warnings.

Winter Weather Advisory for Wolf Creek Pass:

* WHAT…Snow. Additional snow accumulations of 4 to 10 inches.
Highest amounts are expected across the eastern San Juan
Mountains. Winds gusting as high as 45 mph.
* WHERE…La Garita and Eastern San Juan Mountains above 10000
* WHEN…Until 6 AM MST Thursday.
* IMPACTS…Travel could be very difficult. Blowing snow could
significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could
impact the morning and evening commutes.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Highest coverage and intensity of snow
develops late this afternoon into the evening, when periods of
moderate to heavy snow will be possible.

Avalanche Watch:

* WHAT…Avalanche Warning
* WHERE… The backcountry around the western and southern San Juan
* WHEN… Very dangerous avalanche conditions lasting through
Thursday morning December 8.
* IMPACTS…You can expect to easily trigger a large and dangerous
avalanche on steep northerly and easterly-facing slopes at all

Winter Weather Advisory for our area above 9000 feet:

* WHAT…Snow. Additional snow accumulations of 5 to 10 inches.
* WHERE…Northwest San Juan Mountains and Southwest San Juan
* WHEN…Until 6 AM MST Thursday.
* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. Patchy blowing
snow could significantly reduce visibility. A detailed map of
the snowfall can be found at: www.weather.gov/gjt/winter.

Forecast discussion…

The trough is now over Nevada and heading east today. As it nears, more moisture will flow in from the SW ahead of the front. Unfortunately, snow levels will rise to near 8000 feet during the day, giving those of you living below 7500 a mix of snow and rain this afternoon. Our best chance for snow will be later today and this evening as the snow levels drop to below 7000 feet after sunset. The trough moves through our area on Thursday morning, putting an end to our snow and ushering in some colder temps for Thursday night and Friday. After a break on Friday and Saturday, another system will arrive Sunday…this one has the potential to be even stronger! I’ll dive into next week after we get through this storm.

The rest of today… Cloudy with a chance for snow, graupel and rain mix in the valley and snow for the mountains. Highs will reach the upper 30’s and low 40’s, so most of you living below 7500 feet will likely see very little accumulation (up to an inch) during the day. For those of you living 7500 feet and higher, you could see 1-2 inches of accumulation. It will be snowing off/on all day in the mountains.

Tonight, through Thursday morning…This will be our best chance for snow as snow levels drop to below 7000 feet and SW flow sends us plenty of moisture and instability as the trough approaches from the west. We could even experience a few small thundersnow storms during this period! The trough moves through early tomorrow morning, clearing our skies and ending our snow chances.

My snow forecast from today through Thursday morning…

Valley below 7,500ft: 1-3”

Valley above 7,500ft: 2-4”

Mountains: 6-10”

Screenshot 2022 12 07 082150
The trough is now over Nevada and heading east today. As it nears, more moisture will flow in from the SW ahead of the front. Our best chance for snow will be later today and this evening.
Screenshot 2022 12 07 081239
The NWS is now only predicting 2inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 4 inches for Chama.
StormTotalSnow 2
The latest NWS Grand Junction snow forecast through Friday morning.
The latest GFS model is predicting 2.5 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 5 inches for Chama
The latest Euro model is predicting 5.6 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 4.7 inches for Chama, NM through Thursday.
The latest NBM model is predicting 1.3 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 2 inches for Chama, NM. through Thursday.

My forecast…

Pagosa 5 day forecast 12 7
* The forecast periods are from 8am to 8am.

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

-Mark Langford

Pagosa Weather Blizzard Level Sponsor

Pagosa Weather Storm Sponsor

Mark Langford

Mark Langford

I consider myself a "weather journalist" who has been studying and following meteorology since taking an earth science class in eighth grade. Later, when I became a professional commercial photographer, I learned that my continued studies in meteorology helped me plan outdoor photo assignments. I'm now a semi-retired photographer who teaches photo workshops, goes storm chasing and of course enjoys photographing great landscapes and clouds in our area. My fine art photography can be seen here: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-mark-langford
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