The worst is yet to come…

Arleen and Tommy measuring snow this morning – Pic taken 2/22/2023

Arleen and Tommy measuring snow this morning – Pic taken 2/22/2023

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Wednesday – 22 Feb 2023 – 10:10pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp in the last 24 hours was 45 at 1:55pm yesterday. The low this morning was 32. The peak wind at the airfield so far this morning has been 41mph.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4364 / 19589-22 / 1955

Precipitation summary… Wolf Creek reported 10” of new snow this morning. Snow amounts in the valley were mostly in the 1-3” range. The winners were north of town with 4.7” to 7”.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from zero to 7”. Mark was the snow lottery winner just north of Hatcher Lake.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from zero to 7”. Mark was the snow lottery winner just north of Hatcher Lake.

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – The cold front will move through our area in 2-3 hours and we’ll see bands of heavy snow, blowing snow, and possibly thundersnow.
Water vapor satellite this morning – The cold front will move through our area in 2-3 hours and we’ll see bands of heavy snow, blowing snow, and possibly thundersnow.
Radar this morning – As usual the Four Corners donut hole is preventing us from seeing all of the precip. There is precip both ahead of the front and behind it.
Radar this morning – As usual the Four Corners donut hole is preventing us from seeing all of the precip. There is precip both ahead of the front and behind it.

Rest of today… Storm 1… A vigorous cold front will move through in the early afternoon. We’ll see occasional blizzard conditions ahead of the front. 

What’s the criteria for a “blizzard”?

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

– Heavy snow, blowing 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 by The Springs Resort

Specifics…

Snow… We’ll see a one to two hour burst of heavy snow, blowing snow, white-out conditions, and possible thundersnow late morning into early afternoon as the cold front moves through. Then we’ll see a one to two hour lull behind the front with scattered snowshowers. Snowshowers of varying intensity will continue to move through into the evening. It will snow heavily up at Wolf Creek all day.

Winds… 40-50mph winds will 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 80-90mph.

Temps… Temps will hover in the upper 20s to low 30s until the cold front moves through noon to 1pm. Behind the front temps will drop rapidly 5-10 degrees and we’ll be in the teens by sunset.  Lows Wednesday night will be in the mid-single digits to mid-teens.

Highlights…

*** There will be a one to hour burst of heavy snow, blowing snow, white-out conditions, and possible thundersnow late morning into early afternoon. ***

*** Winds will gust 40-50mph until 9pm this evening. 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 to late Wednesday evening. Winds along mountain ridges could peak in the 80-90mph range roughly 10am to 3pm. ***

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the San Juan River Basin, which includes Pagosa Springs, for a total of 4-10” of snow and winds 45-55mph with potential for higher gusts valid until 5am Thursday. ***

*** The Pueblo NWS has issued a BLIZZARD WARNING for the eastern San Juan mountains which includes Wolf Creek Pass for total accumulations of 1-3 FEET of snow and winds up to 80mph valid until 5am Thursday. ***

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an AVALANCHE WARNING valid until midnight tonight. Large and dangerous avalanches will be easy to trigger. *** I expect this warning to be extended.

My snow forecast between 10am to midnight…

Valley: 3-6”

Mountains: 10-20”

NAM forecast radar from 10am this morning to 2am tomorrow morning – The yellow line that moves through 11 to noon is the band of heavy snow and possible thundersnow with the cold front. And then 2-3pm we get a little break. Snowshowers increase a bit during the evening and then by midnight they’re mostly over the mountains.
NAM forecast radar from 10am this morning to 2am tomorrow morning – The yellow line that moves through 11 to noon is the band of heavy snow and possible thundersnow with the cold front. And then 2-3pm we get a little break. Snowshowers increase a bit during the evening and then by midnight they’re mostly over the mountains.
NBM 12-hour snowfall 11am to 11pm today – It expects 3.2” in town, 4-6” closer to the mountains and 10-12” in the mountains. This looks good to me during this period.
NBM 12-hour snowfall 11am to 11pm today – It expects 3.2” in town, 4-6” closer to the mountains and 10-12” in the mountains. This looks good to me during this period.
NBM max wind gusts Wednesday at 1pm continues to indicate peak winds around 60mph near Pagosa and 80-90mph along our mountain ridges.
NBM max wind gusts Wednesday at 1pm continues to indicate peak winds around 60mph near Pagosa and 80-90mph along our mountain ridges.

Thursday through Friday morning… 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. Most of the snow will be done by noon Friday, but a few scattered snowshowers will persist over the mountains through Friday afternoon.

Winds late morning to late afternoon both Thursday and Friday will gust 20-30mph.

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: 8-14”

NWS 24-hour snowfall to 11am Thursday to 11am Friday – It shows 2.9” in town and 8-12” in our mountains. This looks good to me.
NWS 24-hour snowfall to 11am Thursday to 11am Friday – It shows 2.9” in town and 8-12” in our mountains. This looks good to me.

Saturday… There will be a lull, but mostly cloudy skies will persist and a few spotty snowshowers are possible over the mountains. The lucky spots in the mountains could get an inch.

Sunday… The next system will move through with more clouds and another round of snow. This storm will move through pretty quickly and won’t have much moisture. Snow amounts don’t look impressive.

My snow forecast…

Valley: 1-4”

Mountains: 3-6”

I’ll probably do a quick Facebook post after the cold front moves through.  My next thorough post 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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One Response

  1. I live in Norman and u are more fun to follow than the NWS and NSSL that are headquartered there!
    Good friends Greg & Donna Wynn host me frequently here in Pagosa. I always kno what to expect with your help!
    My dogs Keeper & Pardner always ask if you post a pix of Tommy! They have mountain dog envy!
    Thanks Shawn for exceptional svc to the community of Pagosa Springs!

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