Pagosa Weather AUGUST SUMMARY & September Outlook

Drought conditions are slowly getting worse across southwest Colorado

Drought conditions are slowly getting worse across southwest Colorado

Saturday – 2 Sep 2023 – 5:45pm

August Summary…

The average high for August is 80 and the average low is 45. The record high of 97 occurred on 5 August 1940. The record low of 28 occurred on 30 August 1978. Precip averages 2.69″ in August – our wettest month. Wolf Creek Pass averages 4.32″ of rain and zero snow.

How did we do?…

Temps in Archuleta County were 1-3 degrees above average
Temps in Archuleta County were 1-3 degrees above average
Precip in Archuleta County was 20-50% of average.
Precip in Archuleta County was 20-50% of average.
2 Sep 2023 pm CoCoRaHS Aug precip totals
August precip totals range from 0.51″ to 1.42″ with an overall average of 1.03″ – well under the climatological average of 2.69″.

Drought, River Flow, and Lake Levels…

Most of Archuleta County is considered under "moderate drought" conditions.  Conditions across southwest Colorado are gradually getting worse.
Most of Archuleta County is considered under “moderate drought” conditions. Conditions across southwest Colorado are gradually getting worse.
River flow... Yellow is this year, purple is last year, and the median is gray. San Juan River flow August this year has ranged from 43cfs to 169cfs and was below the mean most of the month. Last year's wet monsoon kept flow well above the median. Piedra River flow this year 36cfs to 87cfs, well below the median all month.
River flow… Yellow is this year, purple is last year, and the median is gray.

San Juan River flow, top, through August this year has ranged from 43cfs to 169cfs and was below the mean most of the month. Last year’s wet monsoon kept flow well above the median.
Piedra River flow, bottom, ranged from 36cfs to 87cfs this year, well below the median all month.
On the left are upper Colorado Basin lake levels as of 2 September. On the right is 31 July. Overall there has been nearly a 4% drop. Our nearby San River drainage lakes have a dropped a bit more. Navajo has dropped 4% in the last month.
On the left are upper Colorado Basin lake levels as of 2 September. On the right is 31 July. Overall there has been nearly a 4% drop. Our nearby San River drainage lakes have a dropped a bit more. Navajo has dropped 4% in the last month.

September Outlook…

The average high for September is 74 and the average low is 37. The record high of 98 occurred on 6 September 1955. The record low of 15 occurred on 27 September 1908. Precip averages 2.00″ in September. Wolf Creek Pass averages 4.26″ of rain and 4.1″ of snow.

The Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for September on the left is leaning towards above average temps.The precip outlook on the right has us borderline “equal chances” and " leaning below" average precip.
The Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for September on the left is leaning towards above average temps.
The precip outlook on the right has us borderline “equal chances” and ” leaning below” average precip.
2 Sep 2023 pm Outlooks Euro and GFS
The Euro ensemble, on the left, expects 1.19″ of precip near Pagosa Springs for September while the GFS ensemble, on the right, expects 1.20″. Both models expect less than the average of 2.00″. Last month both forecast models were too high but the Euro was much closer.

And what do we expect?

Arleen is the expert, and this is what she expects…

September will be another dry month. The subtropical ridge is too far west to wrap gulf moisture into our area. Instead we will see scraps of showers from occasional northwest flow. In addition, by the 3rd week of September, the ridge weakens and moves south. Our only hope is for a tropical storm to form in the Baja area and wrap moisture around into the southwest though there is no indication of that at this time. September will see less than average precipitation and above average temps.

A HUGE thanks for your precip reports and pictures! Reports help verify our forecasts and make us better forecasters.

Another HUGE thanks to our donors and sponsors! You help cover the cost of this web page and our weather subscriptions, necessary to provide you accurate weather reports!

And if you’re curious about us, check out this excellent video by Matt Martin. We are humbled and honored that he used his talent and time to spotlight Pagosa Weather!

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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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