Pagosa Weather NOVEMBER SUMMARY & December Outlook

Snowpack is off to a rough start for Colorado

Snowpack is off to a rough start for Colorado

Sunday – 3 Dec 2023 – 10am

November Summary…

The average high for November is 49 and the average low is 16. The record high of 75 occurred on 2 November 1945. The record low of -18 occurred on 17 November 1907. Precip averages 1.62″ in November with 10″ of snow. Wolf Creek Pass averages 4.13″ of precip and 54.5″ of snow.

How did we do?…

Temps across Archuleta County were 3-5 degrees above average.
Temps across Archuleta County were 3-5 degrees above average.
Precip over Archuleta County was 50-70% of average.
Precip over Archuleta County was 50-70% of average.
Precip totals across Archuleta County ranged from 0.16" to 1.19"
Precip totals across Archuleta County ranged from 0.16″ to 1.19″ – much less than the average of 1.62″
Snowfall totals across Archuleta County range from 0.7" to 12.2"
Snowfall totals across Archuleta County range from 0.7″ to 12.2″
We've received 7.2" of snowfall so far this year
We’ve received 7.2″ of snowfall so far this year
Wolf Creek Ski Area got 29" of snow in November - 25" less than average.  39" has fallen so far this season - 42" less than average
Wolf Creek Ski Area got 29″ of snow in November – 25″ less than average. 39″ has fallen so far this season – 42″ less than average

Snowpack…

The Upper San Juan is at 64% of normal. Most of the western US is below average.
The Upper San Juan is 64% of normal. Most of the western US is below average.
The Upper San Juan snotel is 71% of average and Wolf Creek Summit is at 59% of average
The Upper San Juan snotel is 71% of average and Wolf Creek Summit is 59% of average

December Outlook…

The average high for December is 39 and the average low is 5. The record high of 70 occurred on 3 December 1906. The record low of -35 occurred on 19 December 1909. Precip averages 1.89″ in December with 22.6″ of snow. Wolf Creek Pass averages 4.42″ of precip and 78.7″ of snow.

The Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for December on the left expects "equal chances" for average temps. The precip outlook on the right expects “equal chances” for average precip.
The Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for December on the left expects “equal chances” for average temps.
The precip outlook on the right expects “equal chances” for average precip.
The Euro ensemble, on the left, expects 1.83″ of precip near Pagosa Springs for December while the GFS ensemble, on the right, expects 2.21″. The Euro expects close to the average of 1.89" and the GFS expects more than average.
The Euro ensemble, on the left, expects 1.83″ of precip near Pagosa Springs for December while the GFS ensemble, on the right, expects 2.21″. The Euro expects close to the average of 1.89″ and the GFS expects more than average.

And what do we expect?

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

December Outlook: We are in a strong El’ Nino ENSO pattern. However, the polar front jet still has not migrated south. The primary storm track remains north of us. It is going to migrate but it is like waiting for the tea kettle. Looks like we will only have a few weak systems the first part of December. The MJO is finally showing signs of life after being weak for several months. It should be in our area about the 3rd week in December. I’ve seen a fully white flock of ptarmigan and an ermine and the elk have had an unusual migration pattern this winter. I am forecasting for average snowfall and temperatures in December.

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

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  • 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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3 Responses

  1. Shawn and Arlene,
    Is it fair to say that the strong El Niño this winter is the “culprit “ behind the winter December- March precipitation amounts in the SW portion of our State ?
    Mike

    1. Hi Mike, the El Niño only became a player this summer. We were still in La Niña during December to March. However the QBO was westerly which seems to negate the effects of La Niña. Currently there are a few universities investigating if there was more to it given the weather in California.

      -Arleen

      1. Arlene,
        Thanks for clarifying . I should have been more precise in my question about the El Niño. I meant to ask if it could have an impact on the December through March precip forecast.
        Mike

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