The worst is over, but more snow is on the way…

Here comes one of our heroes! – Pic taken 2/22/2023

Here comes one of our heroes! – Pic taken 2/22/2023

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Thursday – 23 Feb 2023 – 10:10am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp in the last 24 hours was 33 at 1:55pm yesterday. The low this morning was 13. Winds at the airfield hit 43mph multiple times. Durango hit 68 mph and Wolf Creek Pass hit 102mph.  I think the airfield sensor and others in the area were impacted by the blowing snow.

Wolf Creek Pass hit 102mph at noon yesterday!
Wolf Creek Pass hit 102mph at noon yesterday!
Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4462 / 19479-25 / 1911

Precipitation summary… Wolf Creek reported 13” in the last 24 hours and 23” for a storm total. Two-day storm totals in the valley range from 3.2″ to 15″.

A BIG thanks to The Springs Resort for sponsoring this storm!

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from 2.8” to 11.3””. Hillary was the snow lottery winner near Chromo.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from 2.8” to 11.3””. Hillary was the snow lottery winner near Chromo.
CoCoRaHS 2-day storm totals range from 3.2” to 15”. Hey Hillary let someone else win the snow lottery!
CoCoRaHS 2-day storm totals range from 3.2” to 15”. Hey Hillary let someone else win the snow lottery!

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – The next system is sitting over the Great Basin and isn’t too organized.  The leading edge of the clouds ahead of it is moving into our area this morning. The trough will move through during early morning hours tonight.
Water vapor satellite this morning – The next system is sitting over the Great Basin and isn’t too organized.  The leading edge of the clouds ahead of it is moving into our area this morning. The trough will move through during early morning hours tonight.
Radar this morning – Radar lines up nicely with satellite.  So far storm #2 is disorganized with scattered showers across the whole region.
Radar this morning – Radar lines up nicely with satellite.  So far storm #2 is disorganized with scattered showers across the whole region.

Today through Friday morning… Storm 2… This storm won’t be as organized and will have less moisture. The first few bands of snow are moving through this morning. The chance for snow will increase late Thursday morning and persist into the evening. Snow will come in waves – heavy at times. Snow in the valley will become more scattered overnight but continue to fall steadily in the mountains. Most of the snow will be done by noon Friday, but a few scattered snowshowers will persist over the mountains through Friday afternoon. Snow amounts have trended a little upward.

*** The Grand Junction NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the southwest San Juan Mountains. It’s for 7-14” of additional snow and up to 20” near Wolf Creek Pass and winds to 45mph (see my note) valid until 5pm Friday. *** My thoughts: I’m glad to see Wolf Creek Pass specifically mentioned and agree that they will get up to 20”.  I do not agree with the winds. As I type it’s already gusting to 45mph up there and will just get stronger. Pueblo NWS has 55mph in their warning for the eastern San Juans, which also includes Wolf Creek Pass, and I agree with that.

*** As I type at 9am on Thursday, there is nothing out for Pagosa Springs. I expect 3-6” of additional snow near town and 4-8″ closer to the mountains with winds gusting to 30mph and periods of white-out conditions. ***

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an AVALANCHE WARNING valid until Thursday at 5pm. Large and dangerous avalanches will be easy to trigger. ***

*** Have your cameras ready around sunset on Friday! Clouds should scatter and we’ll get our first look at the mountains after days of being hidden by clouds and snow. ***

Winds Thursday will gust 25-30mph through the afternoon and then decrease a little overnight to 20-25mph. Friday morning winds will be 15-20mph and the decrease through the afternoon.

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 near town: 3-6”

Valley closer to the mountains: 4-8”

Mountains: 12-20”

NBM snowfall to 11am Friday – It shows 3.7” in town and 12-17” in our mountains. This looks good to me for the valley, but the mountains could exceed that range by an inch or two.
NBM snowfall to 11am Friday – It shows 3.7” in town and 12-17” in our mountains. This looks good to me for the valley, but the mountains could exceed that range by an inch or two.

Saturday… We’ll see more sun, temps will be warmer, and winds will be lighter.

Temps… Highs will be mid to high 40s and lows will be mid-teens to mid-20s.

Winds… We could see a few gusts into the 15-20mph range during the afternoon, otherwise winds will be less than 15mph.

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. The best chance for snow is mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Snowshowers will linger over the mountains into the evening.

Temps… Highs will be in the low to high 30s and lows will be in the mid-single digits to mid-teens.

Winds… Peak gusts will be in the 20-30mph range during the middle of the day as the system moves through.

** Falling snow and blowing snow will cause periods of poor visibility and bad driving conditions mid-morning to mid-afternoon. **

My snow forecast…

Valley: 1-3”

Mountains: 3-6”

NBM 12-hour snowfall 5am to 5pm Sunday shows 1.1” in town and 3-5” in our mountains. This looks good to me.
NBM 12-hour snowfall 5am to 5pm Sunday shows 1.1” in town and 3-5” in our mountains. This looks good to me.

Monday… Another lull between systems.

Tuesday and Wednesday?… More snow? Details on this one are still sketchy. Right now it doesn’t look too impressive.

My next post will be tomorrow morning.

– 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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