A snowy week ahead!

Snow

A “drive-by” front and low pressure moved through around noon, reducing visibility to a quarter of a mile for a while.

Sunday – 26 Feb. 2023 – 4:15pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 45 and the low this morning was 18 degrees. Humidity bottomed out at 45%. Our high today was 41 degrees before the front moved through and winds at the airfield gusted to 33 mph at 11:55am.

Precipitation summary…There was no precipitation to summarize yesterday, but so far today, I found about a 1/2 of an inch of snow on my white snow board and as of 2pm, Wolf Creek Ski area recorded 2 inches of fresh snow…that will likely increase by tonight. Fortunately, because the roads and sidewalks were relatively warm, very little of the snow accumulated. I will do a complete update on snow totals on Monday morning.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4570/ 198611-21/ 1942
Visibility dropped to around a 1/4 of mile as snow and wind moved through mid-day.

Caution…watch out for avalanches!

If you are planning any backcountry skiing, be very careful, as avalanches are happening. This one near Lake Vallecito killed two skiers yesterday.

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From the CO Avalanche Center: “Yesterday there were two confirmed accidents in the Southern Mountains. Two backcountry skiers were caught, buried, and killed in an avalanche near Vallecito Reservoir (8500 feet, northwest aspect).”

Forecast discussion…

The low pressure that has been sitting off the coast of California for the past several days, started moving quickly east this morning, and arrived here around noon, giving us some snow and wind gusts to 33mph as the low and the associated cold front moved through our area. This system will continue moving east, giving the plains a chance for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes this evening. From the Storm Prediction Center: “A derecho is forecast with widespread damaging winds and embedded swaths of significant severe gusts from 80-110 mph, centered on parts of Oklahoma this evening into tonight. Embedded tornadoes are anticipated as well, with the greatest potential for strong (EF2-EF3) tornadoes across southwest Oklahoma this evening.”

Screenshot 2023 02 26 151937
The low pressure that zoomed by us around noon, is heading to the plains, where tornadoes and high winds will be possible this evening.

As the first storm exits, the bigger system with a deep trough will start quickly moving into our area by late in the day on Tuesday. Look for wind and snow to start ramping up in the afternoon making travel challenging in Pagosa Springs and very difficult at Wolf Creek Pass. Advisories and Warnings have not been issued yet, but I would imagine by Monday afternoon, we will see some issued by the NWS.

Look for snow showers on Wednesday, heavy at times, along with blowing snow, as winds gust to 40mph. This system moves through by Thursday morning, leading to partly cloudy skies, with only a slight chance for snow in the morning.

Travel Disclaimer: While we would love to help you make decisions on whether to drive over the pass, plan your trip or predict if planes will be able to take off in Durango on a particular date, we don’t have the resources to do so…plus it puts us in potential legal liability if you go flying off Wolf Creek Pass when we suggested it would be a good day to travel! Please use these two links: New Mexico Road Conditions and Colorado Road Conditions. And this one for Durango Airport flight information.

Screenshot 2023 02 26 154407
The latest NWS 3-Day snowfall forecast is predicting 9 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 13 inches of snow for Chama, NM from now through Wednesday afternoon. Snow totals will likely be higher than this because snow if forecast to fall through Thursday morning.
Screenshot 2023 02 26 154115
The latest EURO snowfall forecast is predicting 8.6 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 14.4 inches of snow for Chama, NM from now through Thursday morning.
Screenshot 2023 02 12 075658
The latest NBM snowfall forecast is predicting 10.9 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 13.4 inches of snow for Chama, NM from now through Thursday morning.
GFS 1
The latest GFS model run continues to be the maximum outlier for our snow totals from Monday-Thursday morning, but I post it to show that there is a slight chance we could see snow totals running this high during the period.

5-Day Forecast…

The rest of today: Mostly cloudy with a few lingering snow showers. SW winds winding down to 15-20mph around sunset. Temps dropping into the single digits and low teens overnight.

Monday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the low to mid 30’s. Winds SW 10-15mph with gusts to 20mph.

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, windy, with snow showers off and on during the day. SW winds 15-25 with gusts exceeding 40mph. Blowing snow will make traveling a real challenge at Wolf Creek Pass with winds gusting to 60mph up there. Highs in the low to mid 30’s and lows in the teens. 1-2 inches of snow for the valley and 5-10 inches of snow for the mountains.

Tuesday NightWednesday Night: Cloudy with snow showers, heavy at times and blowing snow. Lows in the teens and highs in the upper 20’s to low 30’s. SW winds 15-25 mph with gusts to 40mph. 5-10 inches for the valley and 10-20 inches for the mountains.

Thursday-Morning snow showers. Becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon. Lows in the single digits and teens and highs in the mid to upper 30’s. 1-2 inches of snow for the mountains.

Friday: Mostly sunny with lows in the single digits to low teens and highs in the mid to upper 30’s.

Check out my Pagosa Peak Cam (myearthcam.com) for watching hikers, bikers and of course, the weather.

-Mark Langford

Pagosa Weather Blizzard Level Sponsor

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2 Responses

  1. Appreciate your weather wisdom. Check your reports every day, and sometime several times a day.

    Many thanks,
    Eve Taylor
    Vets for Vets of Archuleta County

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