Fun storm summary stuff – First guess snow for next week…

I’ve always wanted to be a snow groomer! – Wolf Creek Ski Area web cam 2/16/2023 at 6:25am

I’ve always wanted to be a snow groomer! – Wolf Creek Ski Area web cam 2/16/2023 at 6:25am

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Thursday – 16 Feb 2023 – 10:30am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp in the last 24 hours was 20. The low this morning was 1. Clouds cleared out just before sunrise and many of us had lows in the 0 to -5 range. The upper Piedra dipped to -17 – brrrr. The peak wind at the airfield was 28mph around 8am yesterday morning.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4259 / 19818-24 / 1949

Precipitation summary… Most of us reported less than 3” of new snow but there were a few outliers. Wolf Creek reported another 4” in the last 24 hours and 29” for the storm.

Below are snow reports from the last 24 hours, the last 3 days, snow depth, and before and after snowpack data…

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports in Archuleta County range from 0.9” to 8.5”. Hillary was the snow winner near Chromo!
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports in Archuleta County range from 0.9” to 8.5”. Hillary was the snow winner near Chromo!
CoCoRaHS 3-day storm totals in Archuleta County range from 6.4” to 19”. Hillary wins again!
CoCoRaHS 3-day storm totals in Archuleta County range from 6.4” to 19”. Hillary wins again!
CoCoRaHS snow depths range from 15.5” in town to 50” near Chromo.  We LOVE this data! Note some of the big differences: 15.5” in town compared to 28” in San Juan River Village northeast of town; 21.5” near Village Lake compared to 35” near Hatcher Lake; and the most pronounced difference is near Chromo with 21” and 50”. This is the result of our complicated terrain. Examples:1. There is nearly a thousand foot difference between the two Chromo reports. 2. Though there is only a couple of hundred feet difference between town and San Juan River Village, San Juan River Village is farther up the valley that funnels precip towards Wolf Creek. Varied reports like this and our complicated terrain are the main reasons why forecasting here is tough. Most importantly, THANKS to our CoCoRaHS reporters! We still need CoCoRaHS observers in western Archuleta County and the Upper Blanco. Please check out this LINK to learn more about this important program or feel free to ask us questions. Pagosa Weather is the official Archuleta County CoCoRaHS coordinator.
CoCoRaHS snow depths range from 15.5” in town to 50” near Chromo.  We LOVE this data!

Note some of the big differences: 15.5” in town compared to 28” in San Juan River Village northeast of town; 21.5” near Village Lake compared to 35” near Hatcher Lake; and the most pronounced difference is near Chromo with 21” and 50”. This is the result of our complicated terrain.

Examples: 1. There is nearly a thousand foot difference between the two Chromo reports. 2. Though there is only a couple of hundred feet difference between town and San Juan River Village, San Juan River Village is farther up the valley that funnels precip towards Wolf Creek.

Varied reports like this and our complicated terrain are the main reasons why forecasting here is tough.

Most importantly, THANKS to our CoCoRaHS reporters! We still need CoCoRaHS observers in western Archuleta County and the Upper Blanco. Please check out this LINK to learn more about this important program or feel free to ask us questions. Pagosa Weather is the official Archuleta County CoCoRaHS coordinator.
Before and after snowpack maps for the western US – 13 Feb is on the left and 16 Feb is on the right. We went from 124% to 135%
Before and after snowpack maps for the western US – 13 Feb is on the left and 16 Feb is on the right. We went from 124% to 135%
Before and after snowpack data for our nearby river basins – 13 Feb is on the left and 16 Feb is on the right. The upper San Juan snotel went from 116% to 127% and the Wolf Creek Summit snotel went from 115% to 124%. The upper San Juan is 88% of its seasonal average while Wolf Creek Summit is 76%. That’s great for this point of the season. There are still roughly 2 months to go! (Third column from the right is the typical peak for each location.)
Before and after snowpack data for our nearby river basins – 13 Feb is on the left and 16 Feb is on the right. The upper San Juan snotel went from 116% to 127% and the Wolf Creek Summit snotel went from 115% to 124%.
The upper San Juan is 88% of its seasonal average while Wolf Creek Summit is 76%. That’s great for this point of the season. There are still roughly 2 months to go! (Third column from the right is the typical peak for each location.)

Forecast discussion…

GeoColor satellite this morning – There are a few scattered clouds but this is nearly all snow – very cool! Know how we can tell the difference between snow and clouds?  Clouds move on a satellite loop.
GeoColor satellite this morning – There are a few scattered clouds but this is nearly all snow – very cool!
Know how we can tell the difference between snow and clouds?  Clouds move on a satellite loop.

There is nothing significant on radar this morning.

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an AVALANCHE WARNING valid until 5pm Thursday. Heavy snow and strong winds have created dangerous avalanche conditions in the San Juan Mountains. Large and dangerous avalanches will be very easy to trigger. ***

Today through Saturday… 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 -15 to +5.

Friday and Saturday temps will warm at least 10 degrees 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.

Sunday and Monday… We’ll see more clouds and a slight chance for light scattered snowshowers Sunday afternoon through Monday, mostly over the mountains. The chance for snow will increase a little Monday night. We’ll be lucky to see any snowflakes in the valley, but the lucky spots in the mountains could get an inch.

High temps will be in the high 30s to mid-40s and lows will range from the low teens to low 20s. Winds each afternoon will gust to around 15mph with a few isolated gusts to 20mph in the wind prone areas.

Tuesday through Thursday… Things are lining up for another round of decent snow. The main event will be Tuesday night through Thursday morning and then scattered showers will persist into Thursday night.

My rough, first guess snow forecast…

Valley: 6-12”

Mountains: 18-30”

** My forecast confidence in the details is currently weak. This storm is 6-8 days out and a lot can change between now and then. I’ll tighten up these ranges and the timing as the data gets better. **

NBM snowfall to next Thursday at 11pm – The NBM blends other forecast models. Lately it’s been doing pretty well. It expects 11.9” in town and 20-30” in town. Right now I think it’s a little high so I’m using it as the top of my range for town. I won’t trust this data until we get into the 3-5 day window.
NBM snowfall to next Thursday at 11pm – The NBM blends multiple forecast models to come up with a single solution. Lately it’s been doing pretty well. It expects 11.9” in town and 20-30” in the mountains. Right now I think it’s a little high so I’m using it as the top of my range for town. I won’t trust this data until we get into the 3-5 day window.

I’m skipping tomorrow. My next post will be on Saturday.

– 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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4 Responses

  1. Shawn how much did you get at your house? Near jacks pasture right??
    We will be there March 5 staying off of O’Neal. Can’t wait.
    Love you guys weather!!!

    1. Peggy, we had a total of 16″ at our house over three days, with most of it falling on Tuesday. Yes, near Jack’s Pasture. Safe travels to you!

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