The first storm is looking good!…

Perfect weather up at Wolf Creek yesterday – Pic taken 1/12/2023 by Todd

Perfect weather up at Wolf Creek yesterday. Say hi if you see me on the mountain! – Pic taken 1/12/2023 by Todd

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Friday – 13 Jan 2023 – 7:30pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp this afternoon was 48. The low this morning was 12. The peak wind at the airfield was 5mph.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
3859 / 19562-42 / 1963

Storm summary… There has been no recent precipitation.

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this evening – Clouds will start increasing tonight. That first batch of moisture along the lower Colorado River basin is mostly mid and upper level clouds with no precipitation. The main system is just starting to get organized off the coast and has lots of moisture to work with.
Water vapor satellite this evening – Clouds will start increasing tonight. That first batch of moisture along the lower Colorado River basin is mostly mid and upper level clouds with no precipitation. The main system is just starting to get organized off the coast and has lots of moisture to work with.
Radar this evening – There is nothing in our area and, in spite of all those clouds over the lower Colorado River basin, there is no significant precipitation.
Radar this evening – There is nothing in our area and, in spite of all those clouds over the lower Colorado River basin, there is no significant precipitation.

Tonight through Saturday afternoon… The upper level ridge will move over our heads this evening. Behind it we’ll see more clouds, but will stay dry, and temps will be above average.

Saturday evening to Sunday night… The first system in a possible series of three will move through. System #1 looks the best – things are lining up for decent snow!

The first few scattered snowshowers will start in the evening, mainly over the mountains. The best chance for snow is midnight tomorrow to Sunday afternoon.  Scattered snowshowers will linger into the evening, especially over the mountains.

*** From early Sunday morning to early Sunday afternoon, snow will fall heavily at times, gusty winds will create blowing snow, visibility will be poor, and driving conditions will be treacherous. ***

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for the southwest San Juan Mountains for 8-16” of snow and locally higher amounts valid from 5pm Saturday to 11pm Sunday. *** This does not include Pagosa Springs. 

Snow amounts…

Valley: 5-10”

Mountains: 12-18”

The NWS snow forecast to Monday at 6am shows 8” for Pagosa Springs and Wolf Creek in the 12-18” range. This looks good to me.
The NWS snow forecast to Monday at 6am shows 8” for Pagosa Springs and Wolf Creek in the 12-18” range. This looks good to me.
These are high resolution WRF meteograms for Pagosa on the left and Wolf Creek on the right. For Pagosa it expects 11” of snow and 30mph winds.  For Wolf Creek it expects 22” of snow and 45mph winds. This model tends to over-forecast snow for Pagosa but does a decent job for Wolf Creek. For winds, it’s one of my favorite forecast models. Here’s a list of snow amounts from other forecast models to Sunday at 11pm: 00z NBM: 11.1”, 18z NBM: 11.2”, 18z GFS: 12.1”, 18z Euro: 7.4”, 12z Canadian: 14.3”, High resolution 18z NAM: 8.2”, 00z HRRR (high resolution): 11.2”. That’s a range of 7.4” to 14.3” and I’m encouraged to see the high resolution models expecting 8-11”. Lately the models have been over-forecasting snow, so for now I’m sticking with the low end of that range.
These are high resolution WRF meteograms for Pagosa on the left and Wolf Creek on the right. For Pagosa it expects 11” of snow and 30mph winds.  For Wolf Creek it expects 22” of snow and 45mph winds. This model tends to over-forecast snow for Pagosa but does a decent job for Wolf Creek. For winds, it’s one of my favorite forecast models.

Here’s a list of snow amounts from other forecast models to Sunday at 11pm: 00z NBM: 11.1”, 18z NBM: 11.2”, 18z GFS: 12.1”, 18z Euro: 7.4”, 12z Canadian: 14.3”, High resolution 18z NAM: 8.2”, 00z HRRR (high resolution): 11.2”. That’s a range of 7.4” to 14.3” and I’m encouraged to see the high resolution models expecting 8-11”. Lately the models have been over-forecasting snow, so for now I’m sticking with the low end of that range.

Sunday night through Monday morning… We’ll have a lull between storms. Scattered snowshowers will still be possible, mostly over the mountains.

Snow amounts…

Valley: Up to an inch for the lucky spots

Mountains: 1-3”

Monday night to Tuesday night… The second system will move through.  It won’t have as much moisture as the first, plus the brunt of it might stay a little too far to our south.

Snow amounts…

Valley: 3-6”

Mountains: 8-12”

The WPC 24-hour liquid equivalent precip valid from Monday evening to Tuesday evening shows 0.42” for Pagosa and up to 0.75” for our mountains. Temps will be a little cooler system so I’m leaning towards 12:1 ratio snow in town and I’ll be conservative with a 15:1 ratio in the mountains.  That would be 5” of snow in town and up to 11” in the mountains.
The WPC 24-hour liquid equivalent precip valid from Monday evening to Tuesday evening shows 0.42” for Pagosa and up to 0.75” for our mountains. Temps will be a little cooler with this system so I’m leaning towards 12:1 ratio snow in town and I’ll be conservative with a 15:1 ratio in the mountains.  That would be 5” of snow in town and up to 11” in the mountains.

*** Two Feet of Snow contest – We currently have 14” of snow on the ground here at Pagosa Weather. If system #1 over-produces, we’ll have a contest winner by Sunday evening.  If that doesn’t happen, I’m confident we’ll have a winner Monday night or Tuesday morning.  Let’s hope we blow right trough 24” and keep going! ***

Thursday and Friday?… We might see another system.  The track is more northwest to southeast which usually favors northern Colorado, while we just get scraps. There is still a lot of uncertainty with this one, and right now my expectations are low.

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 post will be tomorrow.

– 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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