Scattered showers and thunderstorms through Friday…

Toner Mountain under multiple layers of clouds this morning – pic taken 9/12/2023

Toner Mountain under multiple layers of clouds this morning – pic taken 9/12/2023

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Tuesday – 12 Sep 2023 – 11:00am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temperature yesterday was 70 and the low this morning was 48. Humidity bottomed out yesterday afternoon at 32%.

The peak wind at Stevens Field yesterday was 18mph.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
7490 / 19453928 / 1957

Precipitation summary… We got more rain! Amounts varied considerably.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour precip reports from 0.02” to 0.77”. The rain lottery winner was Lisa in Loma Linda!  In the circle, the lowest and highest rain amounts in the county are within 5 miles of each other.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour precip reports from 0.02” to 0.77”. The rain lottery winner was Lisa in Loma Linda! 
In the circle, the lowest and highest rain amounts in the county are within 5 miles of each other.

Fire updates…

Quartz Ridge Fire link

Bear Creek Fire link

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – Lots of moisture is moving through the region.  The trough will move through tonight.
Water vapor satellite this morning – Lots of moisture is moving through the region.  The trough will move through tonight.
Radar this morning – It’s quiet over Archuleta County. Scattered showers to the west and southwest will increase this afternoon as the area warms up and the trough moves farther east.
Radar this morning – It’s quiet over Archuleta County. Scattered showers to the west and southwest will increase this afternoon as the area warms up and the trough moves farther east.

Forecast Highlights…

More clouds, cooler temps, scattered showers and thunderstorms through Friday.

*** Brief periods of heavy rain, small hail, gusty winds, and lightning are possible today and again tomorrow afternoon into the evening. ***

*** Keep an eye out for snow above 12,500ft Thursday morning! ***

*** The cold spots in the valley will flirt with freezing temps Friday and Saturday mornings. ***

Rest of today through Friday… Tropical moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Jova is moving through the Four Corners region.  A trough will move west to east across the area tonight and then another trough will move northwest to southeast on Friday. Moisture is at its peak today but enough sticks around to fuel afternoon showers and thunderstorms through Friday.

Today we’ll see periods of showers and thunderstorms.  Wednesday will still be active, but showers and thunderstorms will be more scattered. Thursday and Friday showers and thunderstorms will be more hit and miss as moisture decreases across area.

Snow levels…

Snow levels will be 13,000-13,500ft until Wednesday evening.  If clouds clear enough, keep an eye on our 13’ers – Rio Grande Pyramid to the northwest and Montezuma and Summit Peaks to the east-northeast – for snow!

Wednesday night snow levels will drop to around 12,500ft so snow is possible towards the tops of many of our peaks. I do not expect snow on Wolf Creek Pass or the ski area.

Winds… Afternoon gusts will mostly be in the 15-20mph range, but stronger gusts are possible near showers and thunderstorms.

Temps… Tuesday and Wednesday highs will range from the low to high 60s and lows will range from the mid-40s to mid-50s. Thursday highs will be in the mid-60s to  low 70s and lows will be in the mid-30s to mid-40s.  Friday highs will be in the high 60s to mid-70s and lows will be in the mid-30s to mid-40s.  The cold spots will flirt with freezing temps Friday and Saturday mornings.

NWS 72-hour precip to Friday morning on the left shows 0.60” for the Pagosa area, 0.80” for Chama, and up to 1.5” in our mountains.  NBM precip to Friday evening on the right shows 0.99” for the Pagosa area, 1.45” for Chama, and up to 2” in our mountains.
NWS 72-hour precip to Friday morning on the left shows 0.60” for the Pagosa area, 0.80” for Chama, and up to 1.5” in our mountains. 
NBM precip to Friday evening on the right shows 0.99” for the Pagosa area, 1.45” for Chama, and up to 2” in our mountains.
NBM and Euro forecast snowfall to Friday evening – I’m posting these to show the difference in forecast models and explain a little of our thought process.  These models expect similar amounts of precip but very different amounts of snow.  This is due to the different outcomes with cooler air.  The Euro expects cooler air and lower snow levels while the NBM and most of the other models are slightly warmer.  We forecasters are continuously verifying how the models are doing and then choose the model handling things the best. In this case, based on numerous reports and pictures from around the state of recent snow on the high peaks and along Trail Ridge Road, elevation 12,183ft, in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Euro is handling the cooler air better. However, we are farther south and more under the influence of a “warm” tropical airmass.  In my opinion, that will change after the trough moves through tonight which will drop snow levels in our area. At this point, I think the Euro is a little too cold and the other models are a little too warm so I’m going with something in the middle.  I’m splitting hairs over a difference of 500-1000ft.  In weather, the more precise we get, the more likely we are to be wrong!  That’s alright - We do our best and always want to be accurate.
NBM and Euro forecast snowfall to Friday evening – I’m posting these to show the difference in forecast models and explain a little of our thought process. 

These models expect similar amounts of precip but very different amounts of snow.  This is due to the different outcomes with cooler air.  The Euro expects cooler air and lower snow levels while the NBM and most of the other models are slightly warmer. 

We forecasters are continuously verifying how the models are doing and then choose the model handling things the best. In this case, based on numerous reports and pictures from around the state of recent snow on the high peaks and along Trail Ridge Road, elevation 12,183ft, in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Euro is handling the cooler air better. However, we are farther south and more under the influence of a “warm” tropical airmass.  In my opinion, that will change after the trough moves through tonight which will drop snow levels in our area.

At this point, I think the Euro is a little too cold and the other models are a little too warm so I’m going with something in the middle.  I’m splitting hairs over a difference of 500-1000ft.  In weather, the more precise we get, the more likely we are to be wrong!  That’s alright – We do our best and always want to be accurate.

Saturday and Sunday… High pressure will build back over the region.  We’ll see a lot of sun, remain dry, and have pleasant seasonal temps.

Winds… Winds each morning will be light and variable.  Beginning around 11am each day winds will increase into the 10-20mph range out of the southwest.

Temps… Highs will be in the low to high 70s and lows will be in the mid-30s to mid-40s.  The cold spots will flirt with lows near freezing.

My next 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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