24 more hours…

More Snow

My main weather station continues to stay above the snowpack in my backyard, but my secondary one, mounted on a fence, is about to be buried for the second time in a week!

Wednesday – 1 March. 2023 – 9:30am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 32 and the low this morning was 23 degrees. Humidity bottomed out at 52%. Winds gusted to 18 mph yesterday.

Precipitation summary: 24-hour snow totals ranged from zero to 2.7 inches for our area. Since the snow started falling this morning, these totals are impacted by when the observer checked their gauge. The earlier they looked the less snow was reported. I’ll have a storm total post tomorrow morning that will be a better indicator of how much snow has fallen.

Wolf Creek Ski area reported 9 inches of snow overnight and a storm total of 11 inches so far.

Screenshot 2023 03 01 090438
24hr Snowfall totals from our COCORAHS reporters ranged from zero to 2.7 inches.
287243721 3153665951616296 694449370587585878 n
Thanks to the Springs Resort for sponsoring our upcoming storm.

Pagosa Springs historical data

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4562/ 198610-23/ 1962
Screenshot 2023 03 01 075119
Archuleta County is covered in Winter Storm and Avalanche Warnings this morning!

Winter Storm Warning for Wolf Creek Pass:

WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM MST THURSDAY... * WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 3 feet, with locally higher amounts on south and southwest facing slopes. Winds gusting as high as 55 mph. * WHERE…Eastern San Juan Mountains Above 10000 Feet. * WHEN…Until 5 AM MST Thursday. * IMPACTS…Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Snow and blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility, with icy and snow packed roads expected. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Winter Storm Warning, which includes Pagosa Springs:

San Juan River Basin- Including the city of Pagosa Springs 350 AM MST Wed Mar 1 2023 ...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM MST THURSDAY… * WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with locally higher amounts possible. Winds gusting as high as 40 mph. * WHERE…San Juan River Basin. * WHEN…Until 11 AM MST Thursday. * IMPACTS…Plan on icy to snow packed road conditions at times. A detailed map of the snowfall can be found at: www.weather.gov/gjt/winter. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…The snow should become more scattered in nature this afternoon. This will lessen the impact of snow on the roadways until after dark. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Avalanche Warning:

AVALANCHE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4:40 PM TUESDAY UNTIL 5 PM WEDNESDAY… *WHAT… The Avalanche Danger will rise to HIGH (Level 4 of 5) on Tuesday night and through Wednesday. *WHERE… San Juan Mountains,La Plata Mountains, Needle Mountains, and the Grenadier Range *WHEN… In effect from 4:30 PM Tuesday, February 28 until 5 PM on Wednesday, March 1 *IMPACTS… Heavy snow and strong winds have created dangerous avalanche conditions in the backcountry. Large and dangerous avalanches will be very easy to trigger. Avalanches will run naturally.

Forecast discussion…

Once again, snow is coming down at moderate to heavy rate as I write this post this morning. Look for moderate to heavy snow showers all day and into the evening tonight along with a slight chance for some thunderstorms as well. The upper-level low is over southern California and will be moving eastward across Arizona and New Mexico over the next 24 hours. The track of the low is slightly more south than originally forecast, so we could see slightly less snow, but there will still be plenty, especially in the mountains. The good news about the new track of the low, is wind gusts should stay in the 30mph range for the valley and 40 mph for the mountains instead of 40mph and 50mph as originally forecast.

The low moves to our south by tomorrow morning, and with the arrival of the cold front, our winds will switch into the NW and clouds will start breaking by noon. High pressure moves into our area and look for mostly sunny skies through the weekend. Our next chance for snow comes on Tuesday of next week. As of this post, this looks like a much weaker system than the current one.

Screenshot 2023 03 01 085440
Radar at 8:45am shows the low pressure in southern CA, with a band of precipitation to the east of the low. As the low moves east, that band of precipitation will also move east. As usual, our current snow is not showing up on radar!
Screenshot 2023 03 01 080651
An upper-level low and associated cold front will be moving out of California today and tracking into Arizona, then through New Mexico. The low should be to our south by Thursday morning, ending our snow. As this system moves our direction, there is a chance for some thunderstorms imbedded in the snow showers today and tonight.

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.

StormTotalSnow GJT
The latest snowfall forecast from this morning through Thursday morning from the Grand Junction NWS.
Screenshot 2023 03 01 081827
The latest NWS 3-Day snowfall forecast is predicting 9 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 9 inches of snow for Chama, NM from now through Thursday.
NBM
The latest NBM snowfall forecast is predicting 7.4 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 5.1 inches of snow for Chama, NM from now through Thursday morning.
Screenshot 2023 03 01 090004
The latest GFS snowfall forecast is predicting 6.4 inches of snow for Pagosa Springs and 5.1 inches of snow for Chama, NM from now through Thursday morning.

5-Day Forecast…

The rest of today through Thursday morning: Mostly cloudy, breezy, with snow showers…there could be some thunderstorms this afternoon and evening mixed in with the snow showers. SW winds 15-25 with gusts to 30mph. Highs in the low to mid 30’s and lows in the teens. 5-10 inches of snow for the valley and 15-24 inches of snow for the mountains.

Thursday-Morning snow showers. Becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon. Lows in the teens and highs in the low to mid 40’s. NW winds 10-15 with gusts to 20mph. 0-1/2 inch of snow for the valley and 1-2 inches of snow for the mountains.

Friday-Saturday: Mostly sunny with lows in the low to upper single digits to teens and highs in the mid to upper 30’s. SW winds 10-15 with gusts to 20mph.

Sunday-Monday: Mostly sunny with lows in the teens and highs in the low to mid 40’s. SW winds 10-15 with gusts to 20mph.

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

-Mark Langford

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