A few scattered showers – And a storm wrap-up…

Cimarrona Peak this morning – Pic taken 3/23/2023

Cimarrona Peak this morning – Pic taken 3/23/2023

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Thursday – 23 Mar 2023 – 9:30am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temperature in the last 24 hours was 42 and the low this morning was 20. There is still no wind data for the airfield. Our peak wind was 44mph around 1pm yesterday.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
5173 / 194018-5 / 1952

Precipitation summary… Wolf Creek reported 8” of snow in the last 24 hours and 53” for the storm. In the valley precip was mostly rain in the last 24 hours. The highest 24-hour snow report was 2.3” but most reports were around a half inch. 24-hour liquid equivalent reports ranged from 0.02” to 0.38”.

Yesterday there were multiple power outages. Wolf Creek Pass closed around 9:40pm Tuesday evening and is still closed as of 9am this morning. A couple of thunderstorms even moved through parts of the county.

Storm wrap-up, snowpack update, current drought conditions, Navajo Lake levels, and a mention of peak river flows below…

CoCoRaHS 4-day snow totals across Archuleta County range from 2.8” near Trujillo around 6,500ft elevation to 26.8” near Chromo at just over 8,400ft. Hillary is the big snow lottery winner! Her total snow depth yesterday morning was 62”!  Here in the south end of O’Neal Park our snow depth was 50”! Most of us got over half of March’s average of 19.5” in this four-day period.
CoCoRaHS 4-day snow totals across Archuleta County range from 2.8” near Trujillo around 6,500ft elevation to 26.8” near Chromo at just over 8,400ft. Hillary is the big snow lottery winner. Her total snow depth yesterday morning was 62”.  Here in the south end of O’Neal Park our snow depth was 50”.
Most of us got over half of March’s average of 19.5” in this four-day period.
CoCoRaHS 4-day precip reports across Archuleta County range from 1.53” to 2.93”. I’m surprised to see the highest report in town. Most of the 4-day totals exceed March’s average of 1.77!  I’ll do the March summary next week.  It will be impressive!
CoCoRaHS 4-day precip reports across Archuleta County range from 1.53” to 2.93”. I’m surprised to see the highest report in town. Most of the 4-day totals exceed March’s average of 1.77. 
I’ll do the March summary next week.  It will be impressive!
Snowpack for the west US on 23 Mar – We’re at 181%. Check out those numbers across the southern half.
Snowpack for the west US on 23 Mar – We’re at 181%. Check out those numbers across the southern half.
Snowpack table for our nearby basins – The upper San Juan snotel is at 172% for this day and 152% of the season total!  The Wolf Creek summit snotel is at 175% for this day and 132% of the season total! The red box highlights “median peak”. That’s where we’d stand if not a single snowflake fell the rest of the season.
Snowpack table for our nearby basins – The upper San Juan snotel is at 172% for this day and 152% of the season total.  The Wolf Creek summit snotel is at 175% for this day and 132% of the season total. The red box highlights “median peak”. That’s where we’d stand if not a single snowflake fell the rest of the season.
This week’s drought map – The entire west slope is drought free!
This week’s drought map – The entire west slope is drought free!
Navajo Reservoir levels have risen over 5 feet in the past 2 weeks! Compare the inflow to the release. Inflow peaked over 4,000cfs twice. Last night the San Juan in town peaked at 172cfs at 9pm. The Piedra near Arboles peaked at 832cfs at 5:15pm yesterday. Here’s the interesting part… Mountain run-off has not started. This is mostly from our two recent heavy wet snow/rain events and snowmelt in the lower the elevations. We might see two distinct run-offs this spring.
Navajo Reservoir levels have risen over 5 feet in the past 2 weeks!
Compare the inflow to the release. Inflow peaked over 4,000cfs twice.
Last night the San Juan in town peaked at 172cfs at 9pm. The Piedra near Arboles peaked at 832cfs at 5:15pm yesterday.

Here’s the interesting part… Mountain run-off has not started. This is mostly from our two recent heavy wet snow/rain events and snowmelt in the lower the elevations. We might see two distinct run-offs this spring.

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – The main trough moved through early this morning. Now the upper flow is transitioning to more west to east. There are a couple of weak troughs that will move quickly through the pattern and could kick up a few spotty showers, especially Friday and Sunday afternoons.
Water vapor satellite this morning – The main trough moved through early this morning. Now the upper flow is transitioning to more west to east. There are a couple of weak troughs that will move quickly through the pattern and could kick up a few spotty showers, especially Friday and Sunday afternoons.

Radar this morning – There is nothing significant this morning.

Important highlights…

*** There is an AVALANCHE WARNING in effect until 5pm Thursday. Conditions are rated “extreme” – the most dangerous rating. ***

Thursday and Friday… Upper level flow will transition to more zonal, west to east. Today will be mostly dry with a spotty shower or two, mostly over the mountains. Tomorrow a weak trough will move through and kick up more showers and an isolated thunderstorm or two. Like usual with showers, they’ll be hit and miss.

Temps… Highs will be in the mid-30s to low 40s.  Lows will be in the low single digits to mid-teens. The cold spots could dip below zero.

Winds… Thursday afternoon gusts will be in the 10-20mph range and Friday afternoon gusts will be in the 20-25mph range.

Snow amounts…

Valley: 0-2” – it will be spotty

Mountains: 2-4”

NWS “official” snowfall shows 1-2” near Pagosa and 3-6” in our mountains.
NWS “official” snowfall shows 1-2” near Pagosa and 3-6” in our mountains. 

Saturday and Sunday… Saturday will be mostly dry with a spotty afternoon shower or two, mostly over the mountains.  Another weak trough will move through Sunday and kick up a few more scattered showers in the afternoon. Precip amounts will be minimal.

Temps… Highs will be in the low to mid-30s and lows will be around zero to the low teens. The cold spots could flirt with record lows!

Winds… Gusts Saturday afternoon will be in the 15-20mph range. Sunday afternoon winds will peak in the 20-25mph range.

Snow amounts…

Valley: 0-1”

Mountains above 9,000ft: 1-3”

Euro 24-hour snowfall from Saturday evening to Sunday evening shows up to a half inch near Pagosa and 1-2” in our mountains. I don’t expect much, so I agree with this.
Euro 24-hour snowfall from Saturday evening to Sunday evening shows up to a half inch near Pagosa and 1-2” in our mountains. I don’t expect much, so I agree with this.

Monday and Tuesday… Ridging will move through the region. We’ll see more sun and stay dry. Temps will warm up to near average by Tuesday!

Temps… Monday highs will be mid-30s to low 40s and lows will be in the mid-single digits to mid-teens. Tuesday highs will be in the mid-40s to low 50s and lows will be in the mid-teens to mid-20s.

Winds… Afternoon peaks will be 10-20mph

Mark will take over tomorrow.

– 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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