It’s complicated…

Euro vs GFS

24hrs out, and the models are still having a tough time figuring out how much snow will fall from our upcoming storm system, with the GFS model forecasting around 2 inches of snow and the Euro model forecasting 11 inches of snow! AI imagery by Mark Langford.

Tuesday 12-12-2023. 9am update.

The past…

At Stevens Field the high yesterday was 44 degrees and the low this morning was 21 degrees. Winds gusted to only 5mph yesterday and our humidity bottomed out at 32% yesterday afternoon.

Precipitation summary: There was no precipitation to summarize over the past 24hrs.

Pagosa Springs historical data for December 12th.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4054/ 19625-32/ 1961

Travel Disclaimer: While we would love to help you make decisions on whether to drive over the pass, plan your trip or predict if planes will be able to take off in Durango on a particular date, we don’t have the resources to do so…plus it puts us in potential legal liability if you go flying off Wolf Creek Pass when we suggested it would be a good day to travel! Please use these two links: New Mexico Road Conditions and Colorado Road Conditions. And this one for Durango Airport flight information.

Current watches and warnings:

Wolf Creek Pass:

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM WEDNESDAY TO 11 AM MST THURSDAY… * WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 16 inches. * WHERE…Eastern San Juan Mountains Above 10000 Feet. * WHEN…From 11 AM Wednesday to 11 AM MST Thursday. * IMPACTS…Travel could be very difficult. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

Forecast discussion…

A cut-off low has formed in Nevada and is currently moving SE. As this low approaches us, look for more clouds today, then a combination of rain-snow on Wednesday during the day and snow in the evening. What makes this system so hard to forecast are two major factors…snow levels and the eventual track. Cut-off lows are cutoff from the jet stream and are similar to tropical lows in that it takes very little change in conditions around them to alter their track, and a 50-mile difference can change how much precipitation we get. Adding to the forecasting fun are our snow levels! Snow levels on Wednesday are forecast to rise to 8000 feet, meaning that there will be a good chance for a rain/snow combo, especially for those of you living closer to downtown and high temperatures will be in the 40’s so accumulation will be light. The good news is that in the higher elevations, it will all be snow, so Wolf Creek Ski Area should see a nice dumping from this storm. Look for the snow to move out by noon on Thursday. Milder weather moves in for the rest of the week.

One quick note…There are at least two of the models that are predicting upwards to over 10 inches of snow with this storm for Pagosa Springs. I’ll continue to monitor the models and if there is a major change in the forecast, will do an afternoon update, especially if the NWS starts issuing a watch for our area.

Screenshot 2023 12 12 081823
A cut-off low will move out of Nevada today, tracking into Arizona by tonight, then New Mexico by Thursday, giving us a good chance for snow/rain on Wednesday and Wednesday night.
StormTotalSnowWeb 1
The latest snow forecast for Wednesday-Thursday from Grand Junction NWS.
StormTotalSnowWeb1 CO
The latest snowfall forecast from Wednesday-Thursday from the NWS Denver-Boulder office for the state of Colorado.
StormTotalSnow PUB
The latest snowfall forecast for Wolf Creek pass from Wednesday-Thursday.
Screenshot 2023 12 12 083130
The latest NWS model run is forecasting 1 inch of snow for Pagosa Springs from Wednesday through Thursday and 9 inches for the mountains.

5-Day Forecast…

The rest of today: Mostly cloudy with highs in the low to mid 40’s. 

Wednesday and Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance for snow showers with lows in the teens to low 20’s and highs in upper 30’s to low 40’s. Winds East 5-10mph with gusts to 15mph. Very little accumulation of snow during the day, but there will be accumulation late in the afternoon and evening. 1-2 inches of snow for areas below 7500 feet, 2-4 inches for 7500 feet-8000 feet and 6-12 inches for the mountains.

Thursday: Partly cloudy with a few snow showers in the morning. Lows in the teens and low 20’s and highs in the low to mid 40’s. Winds SW 5-10mph.

Friday-Saturday: Mostly sunny with lows in the teens and low 20’s and highs in the low to mid 40’s. Winds SW 5-10mph.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with lows in the teens and low 20’s and highs in the upper 40’s to low 50’s. Winds SW 5-10mph.

Check out my Pagosa Peak Cam (myearthcam.com) for watching hikers, bikers and of course, the weather.

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