Influx of warm, moist subtropical air this weekend…

Wispy low clouds, fresh snow on Sheep Mountain, and lush green grass – It’ spring in Pagosa Country! – Pic taken 5/11/2023

Wispy low clouds, fresh snow on Sheep Mountain, and lush green grass – It’ spring in Pagosa Country! – Pic taken 5/11/2023

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Thursday – 11 May 2023 – 7:00pm

*** Mark your calendar for Thursday, 18 May at 6:00pm. Arleen is doing a Pagosa Weather presentation at the library! ***

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temperature this afternoon was 61 and the low this morning was 37. Here in the southern end of O’Neal Park our high this afternoon was 59 and our low this morning was 35.

The peak wind at Stevens Field yesterday afternoon was 34mph and today it was 24mph. Our peak wind yesterday afternoon in O’Neal Park was 35mph and today it was 23mph.

*** The average last freeze is 31 May.  Temps can still drop below freezing into the third week of June with average lows remaining in the mid-30s. ***

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
6780 / 19962915 / 1931

Precipitation summary… Yay for some precip!

CoCoRaHS 24-hour precip reports range from 0.03” to 0.19”
CoCoRaHS 24-hour precip reports range from 0.03” to 0.19”

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this evening – Last night’s low parked itself over eastern Colorado most of the day and spun clouds into our area. Subtropical moisture is beginning to stage to the south.  The green arrows indicate moisture flow.
Water vapor satellite this evening – Last night’s low parked itself over eastern Colorado most of the day and spun clouds into our area. Subtropical moisture is beginning to stage to the south.  The green arrows indicate moisture flow.

Radar this evening – Eastern Colorado continues to get a good soaking but most of the showers stayed to our east today.

Highlights…

*** Streams have come down a bit due to cooler temps. They’ll rise again this weekend as temps warm and precip ramps up. ***

*** Pseudo-monsoon pattern starting this weekend. ***

River flow…

There is still a lot of water locked up in the snow in the high country.  As of this afternoon, the Upper San Juan snotel still has 31.2” of snow water equivalent (SWE). San Juan River, top, has dropped below 2,000cfs this afternoon. The Piedra River, bottom, peaked at 2,630cfs early this morning. On 10 May Navajo Reservoir had an inflow of 6,167cfs, an outflow of 496cfs and rose 0.85 feet. The release out of Navajo Dam is going to ramp up starting Saturday. The plan to hit 5,000cfs by 25 May and keep it there for 21 days.  They’ll start ramping back down around 14 Jun and plan to be back to 500cfs by 25 June. Here’s the link for more info: Navajo Dam Project Notices
There is still a lot of water locked up in the snow in the high country.  As of this afternoon, the Upper San Juan snotel still has 31.2” of snow water equivalent (SWE).

San Juan River, top, has dropped below 2,000cfs this afternoon. The Piedra River, bottom, peaked at 2,630cfs early this morning.

On 10 May Navajo Reservoir had an inflow of 6,167cfs, an outflow of 496cfs and rose 0.85 feet. The release out of Navajo Dam is going to ramp up starting Saturday. The plan to hit 5,000cfs by 25 May and keep it there for 21 days.  They’ll start ramping back down around 14 Jun and plan to be back to 500cfs by 25 June. Here’s the link for more info: Navajo Dam Project Notices

Tonight and tomorrow… The low pressure system has pushed to our east and an upper level trough will linger in the area.  There will be just enough moisture and instability to kick up spotty afternoon showers and an isolated thunderstorm or two.

Temps… Lows tonight will range from the high 20s to high 30s. Friday highs will be in the mid-60s to mid-70s, and lows will be in the high 20s to high 30s.

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

Saturday, Sunday and beyond… The forecast models are consistently indicating a Rex block pattern setting up over the western US and subtropical moisture being pushed into the region from the south.

It will be similar to our summer pattern.  Mornings will start nice, and then clouds will build late each morning. The first couple of showers and thunderstorms are possible over the mountains after 11am and then in the valley after 1pm. Convective activity is always spotty – not everyone will get hit every day. Rain could fall heavily for brief periods and be accompanied by small hail, gusty winds, and lightning. “Slow movers” are capable of dropping a bunch of rain over small areas and localized flooding is possible.

Mountain snow?  It will be moist, warm subtropical air.  The snow level will bounce around a bit, but I expect it to stay above 10,500ft. Our mountains above timberline will get bursts of heavy snow, but it will be spotty.

Temps… Highs will be in the low 60s to low 70s and lows will be in the mid-30s to mid-40s.

Winds… Afternoon gusts will mostly be in the 10-20mph range, however isolated gusts 25-35mph are possible near showers and thunderstorms.

NBM 11-day total precip to 22 May at noon expects 1.82” near Pagosa, 1.96” for Chama, and up to 3” in our mountains.
NBM 11-day total precip to 22 May at noon expects 1.82” near Pagosa, 1.96” for Chama, and up to 3” in our mountains.

My next post will be on Saturday.

– 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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