Heavy wet snowshowers will increase this afternoon…

Heavy wet snow in the Turkey Springs area this morning – Pic taken 3/16/2023

Heavy wet snow in the Turkey Springs area this morning – Pic taken 3/16/2023

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Thursday – 16 Mar 2023 – 10:15am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temperature in the last 24 hours was 38. The low since midnight last night was 33. Winds in the last 24 hours peaked at 7mph.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4965 / 196715-13 / 1913

Precipitation summary… Wolf Creek reported 13” of snow in the last 24 hours and 14” total for the storm. Precip started ramping up in the valley yesterday after noon and fell steadily all afternoon. Snow levels were lower than I expected, but temps in the mid-30s hindered accumulation.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from a trace to 5.5”. The two location reporting over 4” of snow are both over 8,000ft elevation.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from a trace to 5.5”. The two location reporting over 4” of snow are both over 8,000ft elevation.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour precip reports in Archuleta County range from 0.72” to 1.23” – wow! Also note the 1.82” in the Vallecito area. And now compare these totals to the snow totals above. This precip was a mix of rain and heavy wet snow.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour precip reports in Archuleta County range from 0.72” to 1.23” – wow! Also note the 1.82” in the Vallecito area. And now compare these totals to the snow totals above. This precip was a mix of rain and heavy wet snow.

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – The little low will slowly move east and stay to our south. The upper level trough is going to slowly weaken and slowly move towards the southeast. Then it looks like it will stall in our area and slowly fall apart. It will have just enough moisture and cause just enough instability that it will continue to kick up occasional showers, mostly over the mountains, into the weekend.
Water vapor satellite this morning – The little low will slowly move east and stay to our south. The upper level trough is going to slowly weaken and slowly move towards the southeast. Then it looks like it will stall in our area and slowly fall apart. It will have just enough moisture and cause just enough instability that it will continue to kick up occasional showers, mostly over the mountains, into the weekend.
Radar this morning – Based on surface observations and web cams, precip is really light in our area, but isn’t showing up on radar. It’s mostly snow along I-25 in Colorado and mostly rain along I-25 in NM. If you plan to travel, make sure to check current road conditions and web cams!
Radar this morning – Based on surface observations and web cams, precip is really light in our area, but isn’t showing up on radar. It’s mostly snow along I-25 in Colorado and mostly rain along I-25 in NM. If you plan to travel, make sure to check current road conditions and web cams!

Rest of today… The final surge of moisture with this system will move through this evening.  Showers will increase this afternoon and persist into the late evening.

Storm sponsored by The Springs Resort

Specifics…

Temps will be slightly cooler and snow levels will be a little lower so snow will have a better chance of accumulating.  However, the snow will continue to be wet and heavy.  Showers will increase this afternoon and persist into the late evening. A stray thunderstorm or two is also possible. Most of the precip will be done by midnight, but a few scattered showers are possible into the early morning hours, especially over the mountains.

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

Winds… Peaks winds will be in the 10-15mph range.

Snow levels… During the day today, snow levels will bounce around the 7,000ft to 7,500ft range. Tonight, as moisture decreases and showers become more hit and miss, snow levels will drop below 6,000ft.

My precip forecast…

Valley below 7,600ft: 0.10” to 0.25” of liquid equivalent and 1-2” of snow

Valley above 7,600ft: 0.15” to 0.45” of liquid equivalent and 2-4” of snow

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

*** Snow-melt in the valley and recent rain that fell on top of the snow is causing flooding in some areas. Area streams in the valley are rising. Example: The Piedra was flowing around 100cfs early Saturday morning and hit 613cfs this morning. ***

*** The Pueblo NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the eastern San Juan mountains above 10,000ft – this includes Wolf Creek Pass. Expect an additional 10-20” valid until midnight tonight. ***

*** The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an AVALANCHE WARNING for our mountains valid until 7am tomorrow morning. Large and dangerous avalanches will be easy to trigger and will also occur naturally. ***

NWS “official” snowfall to 6am Friday shows 1” for Pagosa and up to 18-24” in our mountains.
NWS “official” snowfall to 6am Friday shows 1” for Pagosa and up to 18-24” in our mountains.
NWS high resolution precip model to midnight tonight shows 0.28” for Pagosa, up to 0.50” closer to the mountains, 0.25” for Chama, and up to 1.1” for our mountains.
NWS high resolution precip model to midnight tonight shows 0.28” for Pagosa, up to 0.50” closer to the mountains, 0.25” for Chama, and up to 1.1” for 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 hit and miss showers, especially over the mountains.

Temps… Highs will be in the mid-30s to low 40s and lows will be in the low teens to low 20s.

Winds… Afternoon winds will peak in the 15-20mph range.

Precip forecast…

Valley: 0-1” of snow

Mountains above 9,000ft: 2-5” of snow

Sunday through Monday evening… Very similar to Friday and Saturday – The pattern will remain unsettled but disorganized.  There will be limited moisture to work with and limited storm energy, but we’ll continue to see hit and miss showers, especially over the mountains.

Temps… Highs will be in the high 30s to mid-40s and lows will be in the low to high 20s.

Winds… Afternoon winds will peak in the 15-20mph range.

Precip forecast…

Valley: 0-1” of snow

Mountains above 9,000ft: 2-5” of snow

Monday night through Thursday morning… The next system will move through.  The track, moisture, and storm energy are lining up for another round of precip. Same challenge as the previous two systems: amount of warm air and snow levels.

I’ll dig into the details in tomorrow’s post.

Euro 72-hour precip valid Monday at 6pm to Thursday at 6pm indicates 2.17” for Pagosa, 2.41” for Chama, and has a 3.37” bullseye over the high peaks of the south San Juans. The forecast models vary from 1.5” to 2.5” in the valley and from 2.5” to 3.5” in the mountains. That’s quite a bit of precip! As of this morning, this system should be a little cooler resulting in more snow for the valley. However, temps will still be above freezing so it will be heavy wet snow.
Euro 72-hour precip valid Monday at 6pm to Thursday at 6pm indicates 2.17” for Pagosa, 2.41” for Chama, and has a 3.37” bullseye over the high peaks of the south San Juans.

The forecast models vary from 1.5” to 2.5” in the valley and from 2.5” to 3.5” in the mountains. That’s quite a bit of precip! As of this morning, this system should be a little cooler resulting in more snow for the valley. However, temps will still be above freezing so it will be heavy wet snow.

My next forecast post will be tomorrow.

– 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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