The main event is here and will persist into early Wednesday afternoon…

Wintry drive through Turkey Springs – Pic taken 3/21/2023

Wintry drive through Turkey Springs – Pic taken 3/21/2023

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Tuesday – 21 Mar 2023 – 2:15pm

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temperature in the last 24 hours was 36 and the low this morning was 30. There is still no wind data for the airfield. Our peak wind was 26mph yesterday around 2am.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
5168 / 1997173 / 1935

Precipitation summary… Wolf Creek reported 17” of snow in the last 24 hours and 24” for the last 48 hours. Snow amounts in the valley averaged 3.5” to 5.5” though there were a couple of reports on either side of that range.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snowfall reports across Archuleta County range from 0.3” to 10.8”. Hillary was the snow lottery winner near Chromo!
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snowfall reports across Archuleta County range from 0.3” to 10.8”. Hillary was the snow lottery winner near Chromo! Hillary’s elevation is 8,450ft – she’s our highest CoCoRaHS observer.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour precip reports across Archuleta County range from 0.29” to 0.88”. Mike was the precip lottery winner near Trujillo!  Note that Mike had the least snow.  It’s all about elevation!
CoCoRaHS 24-hour precip reports across Archuleta County range from 0.29” to 0.88”. Mike was the precip lottery winner near Trujillo!  Note that Mike had the least snow at 6,489ft.  It’s all about elevation!

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this afternoon – Lots of moisture is headed our way (green arrows).  The low will open up and move through our area Wednesday night.
Water vapor satellite this afternoon – Lots of moisture is headed our way (green arrows).  The low will open up and move through our area Wednesday night.

Radar this afternoon – Regional radar products aren’t available today.

Important highlights…

*** We are in the middle of another “atmospheric river” event. The main event is occurring now and will persist to early Wednesday afternoon. Things will finally taper off Wednesday evening. ***

*** Temps will remain mostly above freezing so snow will be wet and heavy. Snow levels will rise to around 7,900ft overnight. Be prepared for power outages, rising streams, and flooding in low-lying areas. ***

*** Travel conditions will be treacherous, especially over Wolf Creek Pass. Visibility will be near zero at times with heavy snow and blowing snow. I expect Wolf Creek Pass to be closed at times. Make sure to check CDOT for current conditions. ***

*** The Pueblo NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the eastern San Juan Mountains valid until Thursday at 6am. 2-5 feet of total snow, snowfall rates of 2” to 4” per hour, thunderstorms, and winds to 80mph are expected. This includes Wolf Creek Pass. ***

*** There is an AVALANCHE WATCH in effect from 5pm this evening to 5pm Thursday. *** I expect this to be upgraded to a warning anytime.

The rest of today through Wednesday evening… An “atmospheric river” event is ongoing.  A whole bunch of moisture is still headed our way. Depending on elevation, some will be rain, some will be heavy wet snow, and some will be a sloppy mix. An isolated thunderstorm or two is possible Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon. It will also be windy on Wednesday. Heavy wet snow + strong winds are a recipe for power outages!

Storm sponsored by The Springs Resort

Timing… Precip has already ramped up and will fall moderately to heavily into early Wednesday afternoon. Precip will gradually taper off through Wednesday afternoon. The bulk of the precip will be done by Wednesday evening, but scattered showers will linger overnight, especially over the mountains.

Temps… Highs will be in the mid-30s to low 40s. Lows Tuesday night will be in the low to high 30s and then Wednesday night lows will be in the mid-teens to mid-20s.

Winds… Tuesday afternoon winds will peak in the 15-20mph range and then increase Tuesday night into the 20-30mph range. By around sunrise Wednesday morning, winds will be in the 35-45mph range into Wednesday evening. Winds will gradually weaken Wednesday night.

Snow levels… As of 1pm, it’s still snowing in town. Snow levels will rise to 7,400ft by late afternoon/early evening. Then they’ll bounce around between 7,400ft and 7,900ft from this evening to tomorrow around noon. As moisture decreases Wednesday afternoon and precip becomes more scattered, the snow level will drop below 7,000ft.

My precip forecast from Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning…

Valley below 7,200ft: 0.80” to 1.10” of liquid equivalent and 2-4” of snow

Valley 7,200ft to 7,800ft: 0.85” to 1.15” of liquid equivalent and 3-7” of snow

Valley 7,800ft to 8,200ft: 0.90” to 1.20” of liquid equivalent and 5-10” of snow

Valley above 8,200ft: 0.90” to 1.20” of liquid equivalent and up to 15” of snow

Mountains above 9,000ft: 20-30” of snow!

My precip forecast from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning…

Valley below 7,800ft: 0.20” to 0.50” of liquid equivalent and 1-2” of snow

Valley above 7,800ft: 0.25” to 0.60” of liquid equivalent and 2-5” of snow

Mountains above 9,000ft: 12-20” of snow!

WPC 24-hour precip from Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning shows 0.93” for Pagosa and 2-3” for our mountains, and then Wednesday morning to Thursday morning it shows 0.36” for Pagosa and 1.25” to 1.50” for our mountains.
WPC 24-hour precip from Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning shows 0.93” for Pagosa and 2-3” for our mountains, and then Wednesday morning to Thursday morning it shows 0.36” for Pagosa and 1.25” to 1.50” for our mountains.
NBM total snow between this morning and Wednesday morning on the left and to Thursday morning on the right – It shows 3.5” of snow for Pagosa and 20-30” for our mountains by tomorrow morning. And then by Thursday morning, Pagosa adds another 1.1” of snow and our mountains add another 12-20” of snow.
NBM total snow between this morning and Wednesday morning on the left and to Thursday morning on the right – It shows 3.5” of snow for Pagosa and 20-30” for our mountains by tomorrow morning. And then by Thursday morning, Pagosa adds another 1.1” of snow and our mountains add another 12-20” of snow.

Thursday through Sunday… Upper level flow will stay zonal, west to east. There will be little pieces of energy moving quickly through the pattern and enough moisture to fuel occasional showers. The best chance for showers is each afternoon, but like usual with showers, they’ll be hit and miss. A system is trying to become more organized for Saturday night and Sunday, but it doesn’t look too impressive.

Temps… Highs will be in the low 30s to low 40s.  Lows will be in the high single digits to high teens. 

Winds… Afternoon gusts will be in the 10-20mph range.

Snow for this entire period…

Valley: 1-4” – it will be spotty

Mountains: 4-8”

I’ll do a quick a Facebook post this evening. My next thorough 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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One Response

  1. OMG…soo much sloppy wet snow. Can’t use my snow blowers as they just clog up with ice. Pushing the snow/ slush with my blade but it is difficult. Glad for all the moisture but some “cold” snow would be nicer. Maybe the future…???

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