Dear Santa: Where’s the snow I asked for?

Merry Christmas

Because Santa let me down this year, I had to use a snow photo from last season! © 2022-Mark Langford

Christmas – 25 Dec. 2022 – 10:30am

Me: OK Santa, I asked for snow on Christmas and all I got was brown grass!

Santa: Ho Ho Ho!

Me: Sorry Santa, I need a better explanation than that!

Santa: Due to ongoing shipping delays, your snow is still somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The latest tracking information we have on this storm shows it arriving somewhere around the 27th, in the evening.

Me: Santa, you sound a bit like a computer-generated message…

Santa: Thank you for calling, good bye!

Me: Argh!

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 44 and the low this morning was 17 degrees. Humidity yesterday afternoon bottomed out at 35%. Winds at the airfield hit 16mph yesterday.

Precipitation summary…There was no precipitation to summarize!

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
3858/ 19462-34 / 1990

Forecast discussion…

This is Shawn’s forecast from yesterday. Since I see no changes as of today, here it is again:

Today through Tuesday afternoon… Ridging will build along the West Coast and put us under a dry northwest flow pattern. Systems will stay north of us, and we’ll see occasional patches of clouds. Clouds will increase Tuesday ahead of the next system.

Temps will be 5-10 degree above average.

Tuesday evening to Thursday afternoon… A fairly strong, slow moving system, with plenty of moisture will move through. Unfortunately the system will start on the warm side.

Here’s my first guess on snow levels.  They’re going to be challenging!

Tuesday evening: ~8,000ft

Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon: 7,000-7,600ft

Wednesday evening: below 7,000ft and dropping through the night

*** Roads, especially above 8,000ft, will start getting slick Tuesday night. Expect the worst driving conditions Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon as colder air and steady snow overtake most of the county. ***

First guess snow totals…

– Valley below 7,600ft: 3-5” – most of it will fall Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon

– Valley above 7,600ft: 5-10”

– Mountains: 14-20”

Screenshot 2022 12 25 095615
Our next system is still out in the Pacific. Current upper-level flow is out of the NW, which as we all know, “NW flow don’t bring much snow!” In this case NW flow will keep us dry through Tuesday.
Screenshot 2022 12 25 100032
The latest NBM model snow forecast through Friday. Most of this will fall on Wednesday and Thursday.
StormTotalSnow GJT 1
The latest NWS Grand Junction snow forecast through Wednesday morning. Since snow is expected to ramp up on Wednesday and Thursday, these numbers are low for the final totals.
GFS 5
The latest GFS model is predicting 19.4 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 22.9 inches for Chama, NM through Friday.
Screenshot 2022 12 25 101013
By Tuesday night, our upper-level flow switches into the SW, bringing in a copious amount of moisture into our area.

My forecast…

Pagosa 5 day forecast 12 25 22
* 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

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