BLIZZARD conditions Wednesday!…

Occasional BLIZZARD conditions Wednesday!

Occasional BLIZZARD conditions Wednesday!

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Monday – 20 Feb 2023 – 8:45am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp in the last 24 hours was 43. The low this morning was 15. The peak wind at the airfield was 32mph.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4361 / 19959-20 / 1955

Precipitation summary… There has been no recent measurable precipitation.

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – It’s pretty clear in our area this morning.  A few more clouds will move in later today out of the northwest. That low will stay well to our south and won’t impact us. Wednesday’s system will develop along that jet stream (red arrows) and slide south into the Great Basin before hammering us.
Water vapor satellite this morning – It’s pretty clear in our area this morning.  A few more clouds will move in later today out of the northwest. That low will stay well to our south and won’t impact us. Wednesday’s system will develop along that jet stream (red arrows) and slide south into the Great Basin before hammering us.

There is nothing significant on radar this morning.

Monday… Clouds will gradually increase this afternoon. A snowflake or two is possible in the mountains late but I don’t expect any accumulation.

High temps will be in the low to mid-40s and lows will range from the low teens to low 20s.

Winds will peak around 15mph this afternoon.

Tuesday and Wednesday… Storm 1… Occasional blizzard conditions Wednesday.  What’s the criteria for a “blizzard”?

– Winds: sustained or frequent gusts 35mph or greater – check!

– Heavy snow and poor visibility: ¼ mile or less visibility for 3 hours or more – We’ll cut this one close, but will see periods of ¼ mile or less.

Storm sponsored The Springs Resort

Snow and winds will ramp up Tuesday evening. The heaviest snow is likely late Tuesday evening into Wednesday afternoon. Strong winds will result in blowing snow and occasional white-out conditions. Scattered snowshowers will persist Wednesday night, especially over the mountains.

Specifics…

Winds… Tuesday afternoon winds will gust to around 20mph and then increase through Tuesday night.  By sunrise on Wednesday winds will be in the 30-40mph range. Winds will increase to 40-50mph through Wednesday morning and persist into the evening. Peak gusts will be 55-60mph. Winds will decrease some Wednesday night but still gust into the 20-30mph range.  Winds in the mountains will consistently gust 60-70mph early Wednesday morning to late Wednesday evening and peak gusts will be 90-100mph.

Temps… Highs Tuesday will be in the upper 30s to low 40s and lows will be in the mid-20s to low 30s.  Temps Wednesday will be colder with highs in the low to high 30s and lows in the mid-single digits to mid-teens.

Highlights…

*** There will be periods of heavy snow late Tuesday evening into Wednesday afternoon. Weather and travel conditions will start getting bad late Tuesday evening and just get worse during the day Wednesday! ***

*** Winds will gust 40-50mph roughly 8am-11pm Wednesday. Winds will peak 55-60mph 11am-3pm. This will cause significant blowing snow, white-out conditions, and possible power outages. ***

*** Winds in the mountains will consistently gust 60-70mph early Wednesday morning to late Wednesday evening. Winds along ridge lines could peak in the 90-100mph range roughly 11am to 3pm. ***

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WATCH for the San Juan River Basin which includes Pagosa Springs. The watch is for 5-10” of snow with locally higher amounts and winds up to 70mph. *** My thoughts… This Watch is for elevations below 7,500ft across all of southwest Colorado. Windy places like Cortez could see wind gusts to 70mph but I think we’ll peak 55-60mph in the Pagosa area. For snow, the town of Pagosa will fall into that range, but folks closer to the mountains will see “locally higher amounts”.

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WATCH for the southwest San Juan mountains. The watch is for 10-20” of snow winds up to 80mph. *** My thoughts… I expect Wolf Creek to be at the top of that range for snow or slightly over.  Winds along the ridge lines could peak in the 90-100mph range.

My snow forecast…

Valley: 6-12”

Mountains: 18-26”

NBM snowfall to Wednesday at 11pm – The NBM blends other forecast models for a single solution. Lately it’s been doing pretty well so I’m going with it. It expects 7.9” in town and 18-24” in the mountains.
NBM snowfall to Wednesday at 11pm – The NBM blends other forecast models for a single solution. Lately it’s been doing pretty well so I’m going with it. It expects 7.9” in town and 18-24” in the mountains.
NWS service 72-hour snowfall zoomed in on our area shows 10” in town and 20” up at Wolf Creek. Folks closer to the mountains could see 12” while max snow in the mountains is 25”. I think this a little high for town but like everything else.
NWS service 72-hour snowfall zoomed in on our area shows 10” in town and 20” up at Wolf Creek. Folks closer to the mountains could see 12” while max snow in the mountains is 25”. I think this a little high for town but I like everything else.
NBM 6-hour wind gust loop from Wednesday at 2am to Thursday at 2am – Winds peak at 2pm at 60mph near Pagosa and 90-100mph in the mountains. * This model tends to slightly overestimate winds.* We could see winds gusting over 40mph from roughly 8am to 11pm – yuck!
NBM 6-hour wind gust loop from Wednesday at 2am to Thursday at 2am – Winds peak at 2pm at 60mph near Pagosa and 90-100mph in the mountains. * This model tends to slightly overestimate winds.* We could see winds gusting over 40mph from roughly 8am to 11pm – yuck!

Thursday through Friday night… Storm 2… This storm won’t be as organized and will have less moisture. There will be a bit of a lull Thursday morning, but clouds and scattered snowshowers will persist. Snow will increase slightly Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning, and then get more showery Friday afternoon and overnight.

Winds Thursday will gust 20-25mph and then ramp up to 20-30mph early Friday to around sunset.

Temps… Thursday highs will be in the mid-20s to low 30s and lows will be in the low teens to low 20s.  Friday will be a little warmer with highs in the low to high 30s and lows in the low teens to low 20s.

My snow forecast…

Valley: 2-5”

Mountains: 8-16”

NBM total snowfall to Saturday at 5am – This shows all snowfall to this point, so we have to subtract snow from storm 1: 12” – 7.9” = 4.1” for town.  For the mountains the difference is around 12”.
NBM total snowfall to Saturday at 5am – This shows all snowfall to this point, so we have to subtract snow from storm 1: 12” – 7.9” = 4.1” for town.  For the mountains the difference is around 12”.

My next post will be Tuesday afternoon.

– 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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