Pagosa Weather JANUARY SUMMARY & February Outlook

Except for the Arkansas River drainage, snowpack is in good shape.

Except for the Arkansas River drainage, snowpack is in good shape.

Wednesday – 1 Feb 2023 – 9:00am

January Summary…

The average low for January is 2 and the average high is 37. The record high of 59 occurred on 1 January 1981. The record low of -42 occurred on 13 January 1963. Precip averages 2.08″ in January with 30.4″ of snow – our snowiest month. Wolf Creek Pass averages 3.67″ of liquid equivalent and 76.1″ of snow.

How did we do?

Temps were below average across Archuleta County in January
Temps were below average across Archuleta County in January
Precip was above average in January
Precip was above average in January
Precip in January ranged from 2.81" to 4.82" - well above the 2.08" average
Precip in January ranged from 2.81″ to 4.82″ – well above the 2.08″ average
Snow in January ranged from 26" to 60.9" - Mostly above the average of 30.4"
Snow in January ranged from 26″ to 60.9″ – Mostly above the average of 30.4″
Snow in January was 13" above average. Our total so far this season is 66.2" - slightly behind the average of 68.6" for this point of the season. *A couple of notes about this graphic: 1. There are inconsistencies in our historical data. 2. The location of our historical data moved around the Pagosa Springs area. Because of our terrain, just moving a mile or two in any direction results in significant differences. 3. I'm using an average from individual monthly CoCoRaHS totals that include 60-70% of the monthly data.  This is not precise but gives us a good idea where we stand.
Snow in January was 13″ above average. Our total so far this season is 66.2″ – slightly behind the average of 68.6″ for this point of the season.
*A couple of notes about this graphic: 1. There are inconsistencies in our historical data. 2. The location of our historical data moved around the Pagosa Springs area. Because of our terrain, just moving a mile or two in any direction results in significant differences. 3. I’m using an average from individual monthly CoCoRaHS totals that include 60-70% of the daily reports. This is not precise but gives us a good idea where we stand.*
Wolf Creek reported 135" in January - just under double the average of 76.1". They are just 13" ahead for the season.
Wolf Creek reported 135″ in January – just under double the average of 76.1″. They are just 13″ ahead for the season.

Snowpack and Drought…

The northern states are lagging behind and the southern states are doing quite well. This is backwards from a typical La Nina pattern.
The northern states are lagging behind and the southern states are doing quite well. This is backwards from a typical La Nina pattern.
Our southwest San Juan Mountain river basins are at 136%. Wolf Creek Summit is at 126% and Upper San Juan is at 130%. As we get into the second half of the season, I start paying more attention to that last column. If no more snow fell - boooo hissss! - the Upper San Juan would finish at 77% of its season average and the Wolf Creek Summit would finish at 68%. Thankfully we've got more than two months to get the rest of that snow!
Our southwest San Juan Mountain river basins are at 136%. Wolf Creek Summit is at 126% and Upper San Juan is at 130%.
As we get into the second half of the season, I start paying more attention to that last column. If no more snow fell – boooo hissss! – the Upper San Juan would finish at 77% of its season average and the Wolf Creek Summit would finish at 68%. Thankfully we’ve got more than two months to get the rest of that snow!
Drought conditions have improved slightly across much of the state. Eastern Colorado is lagging behind but has also seen a little improvement in some areas.
Drought conditions have improved slightly across much of the state. Eastern Colorado is lagging behind but has also seen a little improvement in some areas.

February Outlook…

The average low for February is 9 and the average high is 42. The record high of 60 occurred on 27 February 1988. The record low of -39 occurred on 1 February 1916. Precip averages 2.02″ in February with 23.1″ of snow. Wolf Creek Pass averages 4.3″ of liquid equivalent and 68.7″ of snow.

The Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for February on the left indicates “leaning below” average temps.
The precip outlook on the right indicates “equal chances” for near average precip.
The Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for February on the left indicates “leaning below” average temps.
The precip outlook on the right indicates “equal chances” for near average precip.
The Euro ensemble on the left expects 2.17" of precip for February, slightly above the average of 2.02" while the GFS ensemble is more optimistic with 3.28". We are cheering for the GFS!
The Euro ensemble on the left expects 2.17″ of precip for February, slightly above the average of 2.02″ while the GFS ensemble is more optimistic with 3.28″. We are cheering for the GFS!

And what do we expect?

Arleen is the expert and this is what she thinks…

The waters in the Pacific equatorial waters continue to warm trending towards to a Neutral ENSO pattern. A neutral pattern means we should see the polar front jet migrate south and see regular lows, frontal systems, and SNOW move through our area every 4 to 10 days. At the same time the MJO favorable enhanced area continues to move around the globe. It should arrive in our area the third week in February. The first two weeks of February we’ll have a couple of systems move through with lighter snow amounts. But the last two weeks of February, I expect a few good systems with impressive snow amounts. February will have above average snow.

A HUGE thanks for your precip reports and pictures! Reports help verify our forecasts and make us better forecasters.

Another HUGE thanks to our donors and sponsors! You help cover the cost of this web page and our weather subscriptions, necessary to provide you accurate weather reports!

And if you’re curious about us, check out this excellent video by Matt Martin. We are humbled and honored that he used his talent and time to spotlight Pagosa Weather!

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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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3 Responses

  1. You all are very impressive. Been following you for a while since we’ll be moving there to hang with the new grandson. Seems you are always spot on. The other weather forecasts seem to be standing in right field watching balls fly over their heads and you all take the mound and pitch shutouts. Great service for the community.

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