Spotty afternoon showers today and tomorrow – next storm Wednesday and Thursday…

A mountain peak peeking above the clouds! – Pic taken 3/11/2023

A mountain peak peeking above the clouds! – Pic taken 3/11/2023

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Sunday – 12 Mar 2023 – 2:30pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temperature so far today has been 44. The low in the last 24 hours was 33. Winds in the last 24 hours peaked at 23mph at 3pm yesterday afternoon. So far today the peak wind has been 17mph.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4768 / 198914-13 / 1962

Precipitation summary… Wolf Creek reported another 11” of new snow this morning which brings them to 20” for the storm. Yesterday’s shower activity mostly stayed over the mountains. Precip reports in the valley this morning are light. 2-day storm totals and a snowpack update are below…

CoCoRaHS 2-day snowfall reports from this morning range from 1” to 7.1”. Arleen was the snow winner in O’Neal Park!
CoCoRaHS 2-day snowfall reports from this morning range from 1” to 7.1”. Arleen was the snow winner in O’Neal Park!
CoCoRaHS 2-day liquid equivalent reports range from 0.53” to 1.05”. Lisa was the precip winner in San Juan River Village!
CoCoRaHS 2-day liquid equivalent reports range from 0.53” to 1.05”. Lisa was the precip winner in San Juan River Village!
Snowpack update – On the left the southern half of the western US is doing quite well. Our nearby San Juan mountain basins are at 149%, just edging out the Gunnison basin at 147%, for best snowpack in the state!  On the right is the snowpack data for our nearby basins. The blue boxes highlight the Upper San Juan and the Wolf Creek Summit data. For this date, the Upper San Juan is at 135% and Wolf Creek Summit is at 145%. The red box is more interesting.  That’s “median peak” or where we’d stand if no additional snow fell.  The upper San Juan is at 118%, Weminuche Creek is at 149%, and Wolf Creek summit just went over their median peak with 104%. Even better is the overall of 123%!  It’s been a good year for moisture, and we aren’t done. If the 15-day forecast models are anywhere near correct, we’ll finish March with well above average precip!
Snowpack update –

On the left the southern half of the western US is doing quite well. Our nearby San Juan mountain basins are at 149%, just edging out the Gunnison basin at 147%, for best snowpack in the state! 

On the right is the snowpack data for our nearby basins. The blue boxes highlight the Upper San Juan and the Wolf Creek Summit data. For this date, the Upper San Juan is at 135% and Wolf Creek Summit is at 145%. The red box is more interesting.  That’s “median peak” or where we’d stand if no additional snow fell.  The upper San Juan is at 118%, Weminuche Creek is at 149%, and Wolf Creek summit just went over their median peak with 104%. Even better is the overall of 123%!  It’s been a good year for moisture, and we aren’t done. If the 15-day forecast models are anywhere near correct, we’ll finish March with well above average precip!

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this afternoon – Moisture has decreased across the region but is still moving into Colorado from the west. The little patches of blue in the Four Corners area are scattered showers that are increasing this afternoon.
Water vapor satellite this afternoon – Moisture has decreased across the region but is still moving into Colorado from the west. The little patches of blue in the Four Corners area are scattered showers that are increasing this afternoon.
Radar this afternoon – More showers are popping up across the region.  They’re moving west to east. They’ll be capable of dropping heavy precip for brief periods over small areas this afternoon.
Radar this afternoon – More showers are popping up across the region.  They’re moving west to east. They’ll be capable of dropping heavy precip for brief periods over small areas this afternoon.

Rest of today and tomorrow… Shower activity will ramp up each afternoon but will continue to be hit and miss. A stray thunderstorm or two is also possible each afternoon.  These showers can cause a burst of heavy precip that will be over small areas for short durations. Most will last less than 30 minutes – “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes!”.

Temps… Today highs will be around 40 to the mid-40s and lows will be in the high teens to mid-20s. Tomorrow highs will be in the low to high 40s and lows will be in the high teens to high 20s

Winds… Winds will peak around 20mph range each afternoon.

Snow levels…

Hit and miss showers (convective activity) will help bounce snow levels around considerably. Most forms of precip are possible with the showers: rain, snow, graupel, and even small hail.

Additional precip amounts…

Valley: 0-1” of snow

Mountains above 9,000ft: 2-4” of snow

Precip will be spotty!

NWS forecast model for snowfall to tomorrow at midnight shows less than 1” for Pagosa and 2-4” in our mountains.
NWS forecast model for snowfall to tomorrow at midnight shows less than 1” for Pagosa and 2-4” in our mountains.

Tuesday… An upper level ridge will move through and keep us dry.  Tuesday night clouds and the chance for showers will increase, especially over the mountains. An inch or two of snow is possible in the mountains by sunrise Wednesday.

Temps… Highs will be in the mid-40s to low 50s lows will 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: 0.30” 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: 12-20” of snow

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

NBM snowfall to Friday at 6am indicates 1.9” for Pagosa and up to 20” in our mountains.
NBM snowfall to Friday at 6am indicates 1.9” for Pagosa and up to 20” in our mountains.
NBM precip to Friday at 6am indicates 0.63” for Pagosa and over 1.5” in our mountains.
NBM precip to Friday at 6am indicates 0.63” for Pagosa and over 1.5” in our mountains.

Friday and Saturday… The pattern will remain unsettled but disorganized.  There will be less moisture to work with and limited storm energy but we’ll continue to see scattered showers, especially over the mountains.

Right now I expect low precip amounts and it will be spotty. I’ll include more details in my next post.

There’s a chance that the NWS issues a Winter Storm Watch tomorrow for the Wednesday/Thursday storm for the mountains.  I’ll do a quick Facebook post if that happens. Otherwise, my next forecast post will be on Tuesday.

– 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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