Still blustery this morning – Nice by late afternoon – More snow and wind Sunday…

Good storm! – Pic taken 2/23/2023

Good storm! – Pic taken 2/23/2023

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Friday – 23 Feb 2023 – 10:00am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp in the last 24 hours was 25. The low was 16 around 8pm last night. Winds at the airfield peaked at 23mph.

Storm 2 started off yesterday morning looking good and then stalled to our west.  That impacted my wind forecast for the valley but winds were still howling up at Wolf Creek. The peak wind on the Lobo Overlook/Wolf Creek summit sensor hit 71mph at 6am this morning.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4460 / 198110-25 / 1909

Precipitation summary… Wolf Creek reported another 19” in the last 24 hours and 42” for a storm total. In the valley three-day storm totals range from 5.3” to 20”.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from 2” to 7”. Lisa was the snow lottery winner near in San Juan River Village.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from 2” to 7”. Lisa was the snow lottery winner near in San Juan River Village.
CoCoRaHS 3-day storm totals range from 5.3” to 20”. Hillary is big snow winner near Chromo.
CoCoRaHS 3-day storm totals range from 5.3” to 20”. Hillary is big snow winner near Chromo.
CoCoRaHS snow depths across Archuleta County range from 12” in town to 52” near Chromo!
CoCoRaHS snow depths across Archuleta County range from 12” in town to 52” near Chromo!

As of this morning these are the highest CoCoRaHS snow depths in Colorado…

65.5 just north of Crested Butte

65” near Purgatory

57” near Steamboat

52” our own Hillary near Chromo!

43” our own Arleen in O’Neal Park!

42” our own Mark near Hatcher Lake!

Here’s the LINK to the CoCoRaHS map for snow depth.

Our nearby river basins have the best snowpack in Colorado – we’re well above average! More details on that tomorrow.

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – There isn’t much left of the trough.  It’s moving through this morning. That low off the CA coast is Sunday’s quick-moving system.
Water vapor satellite this morning – There isn’t much left of the trough.  It’s moving through this morning. That low off the CA coast is Sunday’s quick-moving system.
Radar this morning – CA is getting hammered by the low off the coast. When that system moves through our area on Sunday, it will be more of a wind producer than a snow producer.
Radar this morning – CA is getting hammered by the low off the coast. When that system moves through our area on Sunday, it will be more of a wind producer than a snow producer.

Rest of today… Storm 2 is winding down… What’s left of the trough is moving through this morning. Most of the snow will be done by noon. A few scattered snowshowers will persist over the mountains through Friday afternoon. Clouds will break up this afternoon. We should be treated to an incredible view of the mountains and a pretty sunset.

*** There is a WINTER STORM WARNING for the southwest San Juan Mountains valid until 5pm this evening. ***

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

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

Winds… Winds this morning are gusting to around 25mph in the windy parts of the valley.  Winds will decrease through the day. By mid-afternoon winds will be 10-15mph and will be less than 10mph by sunset.

Temps… Today the sun will come out and warm us up a bit. Highs will be in the low to high 30s and lows will be in the low teens to low 20s.

Additional snowfall in the valley 9am to noon: up to an inch

Additional snowfall in the mountains 9am to mid-afternoon: 3-6”

Saturday… We’ll see more sun, temps will be warmer, and winds will be lighter. For folks who want to get out and enjoy the snow in the valley, warm temps and lots of sun will turn our snow into peanut butter by late morning so get out early!

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 quickly and won’t have much moisture. Snow amounts won’t be impressive but unfortunately strong winds will cause blowing snow and poor visibility. The best chance for snow is sunrise 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 35-45mph range during the middle of the day as the system moves through. Winds in the mountains will gust 55-65mph.

** 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 1.3” in town and 3-5” in our mountains. This looks good to me.
NBM 12-hour snowfall 5am to 5pm Sunday shows 1.3” in town and 3-5” in our mountains. This looks good to me.

Monday… There is a short lull between systems. We’ll have partly cloudy skies and light winds.

Winds… Expect a few gusts in the 10-15mph range during the afternoon.

Temps… Highs will be in the mid-30s to low 40s and lows will be in the high single digits to high teens.

Tuesday through Thursday morning… Another system will move through.  The models are still all over the place with timing and snow amounts – there is a lot of uncertainty. Forecast models this morning vary from the Euro with 3”, NBM 6”, and GFS with 15”. Right now I’m leaning towards the low end of those amounts.

Euro ensemble 24-hour snowfall for the next 15 days – This is one of my favorite long range products. It’s read left to right, and times are in Zulu. The top chart shows 24-hour snow amounts for 50 different versions of the Euro model. I want to see consistency in timing and amounts. Systems 1 and 2 are good examples.  The bottom chart graphs the range of those totals. I pay most attention to the mean. Forecast confidence increases when the mean and control are similar.  Again, systems 1 and 2 are good examples.  System 1 winding down now.  System 2 is Sunday’s quick storm with about 2” of snow. System 3 is trying to come together roughly Tuesday afternoon into Thursday morning. However there is a considerable difference between the primary models. My forecast confidence is high that we’ll see a storm during this period but I have very little confidence in the timing and snow amounts. Period 4 is still active but this is 9-15 days out so I have zero confidence in the details.
Euro ensemble 24-hour snowfall for the next 15 days – This is one of my favorite long range products. It’s read left to right, and times are in Zulu.

The top chart shows 24-hour snow amounts for 50 different versions of the Euro model. I want to see consistency in timing and amounts. Systems 1 and 2 are good examples. 

The bottom chart graphs the range of those totals. I pay most attention to the mean. Forecast confidence increases when the mean and control are similar.  Again, systems 1 and 2 are good examples. 

System 1 winding down now. 
System 2 is Sunday’s quick storm with about 2” of snow.
System 3 is trying to come together roughly Tuesday afternoon into Thursday morning. However there is a considerable difference between the primary models. My forecast confidence is high that we’ll see a storm during this period but I have very little confidence in the timing and snow amounts.
Period 4 is still active but this is 9-15 days out so I have zero confidence in the details.

My next post will be sometime tomorrow.

– 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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