Hit and miss showers rest of the weekend – another storm Wednesday and Thursday…

It’s still snowing up at Wolf Creek! – Web cam capture 3/11/2023 at 1:16pm

It’s still snowing up at Wolf Creek! – Web cam capture 3/11/2023 at 1:16pm

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Saturday – 11 Mar 2023 – 1:50pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temperature so far today has been 42. The low in the last 24 hours was 33. Winds in the last 24 hours peaked at 21mph at 9:15am this morning. We hit 25mph in O’Neal Park around sunrise.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4772 / 198915-8 / 1948

Precipitation summary… Wolf Creek reported 9” of new snow. Temps up there are in the mid-20s so it’s dense snow. Here in the valley, cold air hung on longer than I expected resulting in more snow than I expected. Liquid equivalent amounts were in line with my forecast. Check out the CoCoRaHS reports below…

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snowfall reports from this morning range from 0.6” to 6.8”. Arleen was the snow winner in O’Neal Park!
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snowfall reports from this morning range from 0.6” to 6.8”. Arleen was the snow winner in O’Neal Park!
CoCoRaHS 24-hour liquid equivalent reports range from 0.09” to 0.85”. Lisa was the precip winner in San Juan River Village!
CoCoRaHS 24-hour liquid equivalent reports range from 0.09” to 0.85”. Lisa was the precip winner in San Juan River Village!

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this afternoon – There are two moisture bands and they’re both slowly breaking up.  Look closely to see that we are between the two bands. The satellite loop indicates that spotty showers have been developing over the last hour across the Four Corners region.
Water vapor satellite this afternoon – There are two moisture bands and they’re both slowly breaking up.  Look closely to see that we are between the two bands. The satellite loop indicates that spotty showers have been developing over the last hour across the Four Corners region.
Radar this afternoon – Precip is becoming more scattered as the atmospheric river breaks up.  Showers are moving west to east.
Radar this afternoon – Precip is becoming more scattered as the atmospheric river breaks up.  Showers are moving west to east.

Rest of today through Sunday… The “atmospheric river” event is on-going. It’s weakening and slowly moving south. Chama, Dulce, and Farmington will likely get more precip than us over the next 24-30 hours.

The bulk of the precip is done in the valley but snow will continue to fall in the mountains. Showers in the valley will be more hit and miss this afternoon through Sunday afternoon. A stray thunderstorm or two is also possible this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon. 

Temps… Saturday and Sunday highs will be in the low to high 40s. Tonight lows will be in the mid-20s to mid-30s. Lows Sunday will be in the high teens to mid-20s.

Winds… Winds today will peak in the 20-25mph range. Winds tomorrow afternoon will peak in the 15-20mph range.

Snow levels…

Hit and miss showers (convective activity) will help bounce snow levels around considerably until this evening. Most forms of precip are possible with the showers: rain, snow, graupel, and even small hail. Colder air will gradually move in overnight and snow levels lower to around 7,000ft by Sunday morning. As snow levels lower tonight, moisture will decrease, and showers will be more hit and miss.

Additional precip amounts…

Valley below 7,600ft: up to 0.15” of precip with up to 1” of snow

Valley above 7,600ft: up to 0.25” of precip and up 2” of snow

Mountains above 9,000ft: 8-14”

Precip will be spotty in the valley.

*** There is a WINTER STORM WARNING for the southwest San Juan Mountains for elevations above 8,000ft for a total of 10-20” of snow with up to 30” possible along with winds to 50mph valid until 6am Sunday. ***

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an AVALANCHE WARNING valid until 7am on Sunday. Large and dangerous avalanches will occur naturally and will also be very easy to trigger. ***

*** Be careful of roof avalanches! ***

NWS forecast model for snowfall to Sunday at 6pm shows 0.7” for Pagosa, 1-2” closer to the mountains, and 8-14” in our mountains.
NWS forecast model for snowfall to Sunday at 6pm shows 0.7” for Pagosa, 1-2” closer to the mountains, and 8-14” in our mountains.
NWS forecast model for precip to Sunday at 6pm shows 0.14” for Pagosa, up to 0.25” closer to the mountains, and 0.5” to 0.9” in our mountains.
NWS forecast model for precip to Sunday at 6pm shows 0.14” for Pagosa, up to 0.25” closer to the mountains, and 0.5” to 0.9” in our mountains.

Monday and Tuesday… Transient ridging will dry us out a bit. Monday afternoon spotty showers are possible, mostly over the mountains. The lucky spots in the mountains could see another 1-3” of snow and lucky spots in the valley could get up to a half inch. Most of Tuesday will be dry.  Late Tuesday night clouds and the chance for showers will increase, especially over the mountains.

Temps… Highs will be in the mid-40s to low 50s. Lows Monday will be in the high teens to high 20s and on Tuesday they’ll be in the mid-20s to mid-30s.

Winds… Afternoon winds will peak around 15mph.

Wednesday through Thursday night… The next system will move through. The storm track, storm energy, and moisture are all lining up for another good round of precip. The amount of warm air and snow levels are going to be challenging again.

Temps… Wednesday highs will be in the low to high 40s and lows will be in the high 20s to mid-30s.  Thursday highs will be in the high 30s to low 40s and lows will be in the high teens to mid-20s.

Winds… Peaks winds will be in the 15-20mph range.

Snow levels… Will bounce around the 8,000ft to 8,500ft range Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday evening and then gradually lower below 7,000ft by Thursday morning.

Precip amounts…

Valley below 7,600ft: 0.3” to 0.60” of liquid equivalent and 1-3” of snow

Valley above 7,600ft: 0.50” to 0.75” of liquid equivalent and 3-6” of snow

Mountains above 9,000ft: 10-18” of snow

** The forecast models still indicate a wide variance in precip totals so I’ll adjust them as the data gets better. **

Euro 48-hour precip Wednesday morning to Friday morning shows 0.53” in Pagosa and around 0.75” near Wolf Creek.  Note the 0.99” bullseye for Chama. Some forecast models are expecting around 1” of precip for us. Right now I think that’s too high but if the other models start trending up, I’ll adjust my precip amounts accordingly.
Euro 48-hour precip Wednesday morning to Friday morning shows 0.53” in Pagosa and around 0.75” near Wolf Creek.  Note the 0.99” bullseye for Chama.
Some forecast models are expecting around 1” of precip for us. Right now I think that’s too high but if the other models start trending up, I’ll adjust my precip amounts accordingly.
Euro 48-hour snowfall Wednesday morning to Friday morning shows 4.8” in Pagosa and around 8” near Wolf Creek.  Note the 9.8” bullseye for Chama. This forecast model is going with nearly a 10:1 ratio for snow. That’s too high because of the warm temps which will result in less snow.
Euro 48-hour snowfall Wednesday morning to Friday morning shows 4.8” in Pagosa and around 8” near Wolf Creek.  Note the 9.8” bullseye for Chama.
This forecast model is going with nearly a 10:1 ratio for snow. That’s too high because of the warm temps which will result in less snow.

Remember to “spring forward” your clocks tonight.

My next post will be tomorrow. I’ll include a storm summary and snowpack update.

– 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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