Snowpack update – More snow and wind Sunday…

Pagosa Peak emerges after four days of clouds and snow – Pic taken 2/24/2023

Pagosa Peak emerges after four days of clouds and snow – Pic taken 2/24/2023

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Saturday – 25 Feb 2023 – 11:45am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temp in the last 24 hours was 35. The low was 13 around 1am last night. Winds at the airfield peaked at 21mph at 11:35am yesterday.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4468 / 198610-15 / 1909

Precipitation summary… Wolf Creek reported another 3” in the last 24 hours and 45” for a storm total. A few CoCoRaHS observers reported a little more snow, but it was mostly done yesterday morning.

And how about our snowpack?  Check out the before and after data below. 

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from zero to 0.7”. Lisa was the snow lottery winner again near in San Juan River Village.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from zero to 0.7”. Lisa was the snow lottery winner again near in San Juan River Village.
Before and after snowpack for the western US – On the left is 21 Feb and on the right is 25 Feb. Our nearby basins went from 131% to 142%.  We have the best snowpack in the state!
Before and after snowpack for the western US – On the left is 21 Feb and on the right is 25 Feb.
Our nearby basins went from 131% to 142%.  We have the best snowpack in the state!
Before and after snowpack data for our nearby basins – On the left is 21 Feb and on the right is 25 Feb. The upper San Juan snotel went from 120% to 127% and Wolf Creek summit went from 119% to 137%. More importantly, check out the farthest column on the right. That’s percent of median peak. This is where we’d stand if no more snow fell for the rest of the season. It’s great to see so many spots at our above 100%!
Before and after snowpack data for our nearby basins – On the left is 21 Feb and on the right is 25 Feb.
The upper San Juan snotel went from 120% to 127% and Wolf Creek summit went from 119% to 137%.
More importantly, check out the farthest column on the right. That’s percent of median peak. This is where we’d stand if no more snow fell for the rest of the season. It’s great to see so many spots at our above 100%!

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – There are a lot of mid and high level clouds moving into the region from the southwest. Tomorrow’s system is still off the southern CA coast. It’s going to move very quickly over the next 24-36 hours and slip to just to our south tomorrow afternoon.
Water vapor satellite this morning – There are a lot of mid and high level clouds moving into the region from the southwest. Tomorrow’s system is still off the southern CA coast. It’s going to move very quickly over the next 24-36 hours and slip just to our south tomorrow afternoon.
Radar this morning – In spite of all those clouds in the satellite image above, I couldn’t find any precip being reported in surface observations in NM or AZ.  The band of moderate to heavy precip over southern CA is a different story. What’s left of that will move through our area quickly tomorrow afternoon.
Radar this morning – In spite of all those clouds in the satellite image above, I couldn’t find any precip being reported in surface observations in NM or AZ.  The band of moderate to heavy precip over southern CA is a different story. What’s left of that will move through our area quickly tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday… We’ll see quite a few mid and high level clouds. A snowflake or two is possible in the mountains but I don’t expect any accumulation. 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… 5-10mph

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 aren’t impressive but unfortunately strong winds will cause blowing snow and poor visibility.

Specifics…

Hit and miss snowshowers will start in the mountains around sunrise and then in valley 2-3 hours later. Snow and winds will ramp up ahead of the cold front starting around 10am in the western part of Archuleta County. *** The cold front will move through the county 11am to 2pm and bring a burst of heavy snow, blowing snow, gusty winds, poor visibility, and poor travel conditions. *** Hit and miss snowshowers will continue to move through into the early evening, especially over the mountains.

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 30-40mph range during the middle of the day as the system moves through. Winds in the mountains will gust 50-60mph.

My snow forecast…

Valley: 1-3”

Mountains: 3-7”

NBM snowfall to 6pm Sunday shows 1.1” in town and 3-6” in our mountains. This looks good to me.
NBM snowfall to 6pm Sunday shows 1.1” in town and 3-6” in our mountains. This looks good to me.
NAM forecast radar 8am to 8pm – We start with scattered light snowshowers, mostly over the mountains. By 11am moderate to heavy snow is falling over western Archuleta County. The band of moderate to heavy snow then moves east through the county over the next 2-3 hours. By 2pm there are scattered showers, especially over the mountains.
NAM forecast radar 8am to 8pm – We start with scattered light snowshowers, mostly over the mountains. By 11am moderate to heavy snow is falling over western Archuleta County. The band of moderate to heavy snow then moves east through the county over the next 2-3 hours. By 2pm there are scattered showers, especially over the mountains.

Monday… There is a short lull between systems. During the day, we’ll have partly cloudy skies and light winds. Clouds will increase Monday night and we could see a few snowflakes, especially in the mountains. By sunrise Tuesday, a dusting of snow is possible in the valley and 1-3” is possible in the mountains.

Winds… Mostly in the 10-15mph range during the afternoon but the windy spots could see a peak around 20mph.

Temps… Highs will be in the low to high 30s and lows will be in the low teens to low 20s.

Tuesday through Thursday morning… Another system will move through.  We are seeing a “battle of the forecast models” which doesn’t inspire forecast confidence. The GFS is being emphatic about a decent storm while most of the other models expect a more moderate storm. In this case, I lean toward the majority and the better track record. Either way, there is considerable uncertainty. Forecast model snow amounts this morning vary from the Euro with 3-4”, NBM 6-7”, and to the GFS with 15-17”.

Temps… Highs will be in the high 20s to high 30s.  Lows Tuesday and Wednesday will in the high single digits to high teens. Clouds will clear out Tuesday night and temps will be a bit colder with lows in the low single digits to mid-teens.

Winds… Tuesday winds will gust 25-35mph. Wednesday will peak in the 20-25mph range and decrease more on Thursday to 15-20mph.

Snow amounts…

Valley: 4-8”

Mountains: 14-24”

NBM snowfall to Thursday at 11am – This is a blended forecast model that uses data from many different models to come up with a single solution.  Lately it’s been doing well so I’ll continue to stick with it. Note: this is all snowfall to this point, so we have to subtract Sunday’s storm: 7.8” – 1.1” = 6.7” for town and 14-18” in the mountains.
NBM snowfall to Thursday at 11am – This is a blended forecast model that uses data from many different models to come up with a single solution.  Lately it’s been doing well so I’ll continue to stick with it. Note: this is all snowfall to this point, so we have to subtract Sunday’s storm: 7.8” – 1.1” = 6.7” for town and 14-18” in the mountains.

Mark will take over tomorrow.

– 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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4 Responses

  1. Shawn…what’s the outlook for snow for the rest of this season!!

    Thanks for all that y’all do!!

    Pagosa Weather…saving lives 1 forecast at a time!

    1. Good morning Jeff! I’ll have an update look at the rest of the winter on Shawn’s “February Summary & March Outlook” post on the first of the month. It looks great if you like snow.

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