Time to hunker down!…

It’s already puking snow up at Wolf Creek and snow is picking up in the valley – Wolf Creek Ski Area web cam capture 2/14/2023 at 11:44am

It’s already puking snow up at Wolf Creek and snow is picking up in the valley – Wolf Creek Ski Area web cam capture 2/14/2023 at 11:44am

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Tuesday – 14 Feb 2023 – 12:30pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the temp at noon is 30 and that will likely be the high. The low this morning was 28. The peak wind at the airfield so far today has been 24mph.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4259 / 19818-22 / 1948

Precipitation summary… Yesterday’s storm was a dud for most of us. I’d look at satellite and then look outside and couldn’t believe it wasn’t snowing. The Archuleta County precip shield did its job – booo hisss!

The best precip stayed to our south and southwest. Durango got 0.28” of liquid equivalent (it was a mix of rain and snow) while Farmington got 0.29” of rain – totals that we expected in the Pagosa area. Liquid equivalent reports in Archuleta County ranged from 0.05” to 0.39” with the southeast part of the county doing the best. Wolf Creek only reported 3” – pretty disappointing.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports in Archuleta County range from 0.4” to 3.3”. Note that Aztec got 3.1”, the Vallecito area got around 5”, and 7.5” was reported in Chama. That dang Archuleta County precip shield foiled us again!
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports in Archuleta County range from 0.4” to 3.3”. Note that Aztec got 3.1”, the Vallecito area got around 5”, and 7.5” was reported in Chama. That dang Archuleta County precip shield foiled us again!

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this afternoon – The low is still disorganized but that will change pretty quickly by this evening. As of noon today, there are multiple bands of precip between us and the low. That will all coalesce tonight over us.
Water vapor satellite this afternoon – The low is still disorganized but that will change pretty quickly by this evening. As of noon today, there are multiple bands of precip between us and the low. That will all coalesce tonight over us.
Radar this afternoon – Like usual in our region, radar isn’t picking up everything. Bands of showers are just starting to get organized across the region and moving the direction of the black arrows.
Radar this afternoon – Like usual in our region, radar isn’t picking up everything. Bands of showers are just starting to get organized across the region and moving the direction of the black arrows.

This afternoon through Wednesday evening… If you like snow and can watch it from the comfort of your cozy home, you’ll like this system!

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*** Through this evening it will be nasty with occasional heavy snow, gusty winds, blowing snow, and near white-out conditions. ***

Specifics…

I only expect 1-3” by sunset but it will be blown around by 35mph winds making it dangerous.

The main event is from sunset to 9am tomorrow with another 6-9”. Winds will gust to 35mph until around midnight and then weaken overnight into the 10-20mph range.

After 9am snow will gradually start tapering off and then turn into scattered showers through the afternoon and into the evening, especially over the mountains. I only expect another 1-4” of snow with the western part of the county on the low end of that range and the eastern part on the high end. Winds will be mostly in the 10-15mph range.

Highs this afternoon will be in the high 20s to low 30s and lows will range from the low teens to low 20s.

Temps will be colder Wednesday with highs in the low to high 20s. Lows that night are tricky to forecast and highly dependent on cloud cover. I expect clouds to persist through most of the night which will keep temps a little warmer with lows -5 to 10.  If clouds clear out, those lows will be 10 degrees colder.

Patchy fog will form over low-lying areas Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the San Juan River Basin which includes Pagosa Springs. The warning is valid until 6pm on Wednesday. 6-14” of snow is expected with locally higher amounts.  Winds to 35mph are also possible. ***

*** The Pueblo NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the eastern San Juan Mountains for up to 26” of snow and winds to 50mph valid until 5pm Wednesday. *** I’m confident that Wolf Creek will be at the top of that snow range and will see winds over 50mph along the ridge-line.

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an AVALANCHE WATCH valid until 5pm Wednesday. Expect very dangerous avalanche conditions to develop tonight. Large and dangerous avalanches will be very easy to trigger. ***

My snow forecast…

Valley: 8-15”

Mountains: 20-30”

NBM snow forecast to Wednesday at 5pm shows 9.6” for Pagosa and 20-30” in our mountains. This lines up nicely with what I’m thinking.
NBM snow forecast to Wednesday at 5pm shows 9.6” for Pagosa and 20-30” in our mountains. This lines up nicely with what I’m thinking.

Thursday and Friday… Ridging will build over the region, so we’ll be dry and see fewer clouds.

Temps on Thursday will still be chilly – 10-15 degrees below average. Highs will be in the mid-20s to low 30s and overnight lows will range from -10 to +10.

Temps will warm at least 10 degrees on Friday with highs in the mid-30s to low 40s. Overnight lows will range from -5 to 15.

Winds will peak in the 5-15mph range each afternoon.

Next week looks active… The forecast models are all over the place but indicating an active week.  It looks like a pesky multi-day period of on off light precip, but I have very little confidence in how it plays out. I’ll focus more on this period after tonight’s system ends.

NBM total snowfall through next Friday at 11pm – This chart includes the 9.6” on the chart above so we have to subtract that to get the total for next week: 19.8” – 9.6” = 10.2”. * It’s way too early focus on specific amounts but I watch the trends closely. *
NBM total snowfall through next Friday at 11pm – This chart includes the 9.6” on the chart above so we have to subtract that to get the total for next week: 19.8” – 9.6” = 10.2”. * It’s way too early focus on specific amounts but I watch the trends closely. *

I might do a quick Facebook post this evening. Otherwise, my next update will be tomorrow morning.

– Shawn

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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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