Nasty into the afternoon and then dry until Saturday night

Frosty is definitely frosted – Pic taken 27 Feb 2024

Frosty is definitely frosted – Pic taken 27 Feb 2024

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Tuesday – 27 Feb 2024 – 10:00am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temperature yesterday afternoon was 48 and the low this morning was 33.

The peak wind at Stevens Field yesterday evening was 30mph. So far this morning the peak has been 31mph. Wolf Creek Pass hit 81mph last night at 9pm.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4364 / 198611-9 / 1971

Precipitation summary… Yesterday was a dud, but I’m glad we got very little rain. Two out of three ingredients were in place: lots of moisture and a strong jet stream.  We lacked a good “trigger” like storm energy from a trough.

Snow started falling up at Wolf Creek around sunset and mixed precip started falling in the valley later in the evening. It started snowing lightly at my house at 8,000ft elevation around 9pm.

Wolf Creek reported 6” of snow overnight.

We got lots of great reports and pictures this morning on our Facebook page – THANKS!

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from 0.18” to 0.59”.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from 0.18” to 0.59”.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour liquid equivalent reports range from a trace to 4.2”.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour liquid equivalent reports range from a trace to 4.2”.

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – The main push of moisture has moved to our south. The tail-end of the trough will move through our area this afternoon. The clouds and precip along the southern end of the trough are in bands.
Water vapor satellite this morning – The main push of moisture has moved to our south. The tail-end of the trough will move through our area this afternoon. The clouds and precip along the southern end of the trough are in bands.
Radar this morning – Snowshowers are showing up along the eastern divide. The band of precip will move southeast with the trough. That’s not a good direction for us, but there is considerable storm energy and decent moisture to cause occasional snowshowers and maybe some thundersnow.
Radar this morning – Snowshowers are showing up along the eastern divide. The band of precip will move southeast with the trough. That’s not a good direction for us, but there is considerable storm energy and decent moisture to cause occasional snowshowers and maybe some thundersnow.

Forecast highlights…

*** An AVALANCHE WARNING is out for the south San Juan Mountains between Wolf Creek and Cumbres Passes until 6am Wednesday. ***

*** A WINTER STORM WARNING is out for the eastern San Juan Mountains above 10,000ft valid until 11pm Tuesday. ***

*** My concerns: 1. Strong winds and heavy wet snow could lead to spotty power outages Tuesday. 2. Occasional blizzard-like conditions are possible into early Tuesday afternoon, especially above 7,500ft. ***

*** Please go to the Facebook post to vote for your favorite snow dance! ***
*** Please go to the Facebook post to vote for your favorite snow dance! ***

Rest of Tuesday… The trough will move through our area this afternoon. Ahead of the trough, we’ll see occasional peeks of blue sky and occasional bands of snowshowers with poor visibility and gusty winds. A few thundersnow storms are also possible.

Clouds and precip will clear pretty quickly this afternoon and we could be treated to a pretty sunset.

Snow amounts…

Western 2/3 of Archuleta County: dusting to 1”

Eastern 1/3 of Archuleta County and Chama area: 2-4”

Mountains above 9,000ft: 4-8”

Winds… *** Gusts into Tuesday afternoon will be 35-50mph. In the mountains winds will gust 60-75mph.

Temps… Highs Tuesday will be in the mid to high 30s and lows Tuesday night will be near zero to the mid-teens.

NWS snow forecast model zoomed into our area shows 1” near Pagosa, 4” near Chama, 4” tucked up close to the mountains in the eastern part of the county, 8” near Wolf Creek Pass, and up to 19” in the South San Juans between Wolf Creek and Cumbres passes.
NWS snow forecast model zoomed into our area shows 1” near Pagosa, 4” near Chama, 4” tucked up close to the mountains in the eastern part of the county, 8” near Wolf Creek Pass, and up to 19” in the South San Juans between Wolf Creek and Cumbres passes.
NBM forecast wind gusts at 1pm Tuesday shows 45mph in the Pagosa area, 50mph for Chama, and 60-75mph in our mountains.
NBM forecast wind gusts at 1pm Tuesday shows 45mph in the Pagosa area, 50mph for Chama, and 60-75mph in our mountains.

Wednesday through Saturday afternoon… Ridging will build over the region and give us lots of sun. Temps Wednesday will be below average and then temps will be near average Thursday and Friday.

Clouds and winds will increase Saturday ahead of the next system.

Winds… Afternoon peaks Wednesday and Thursday will be 10-15mph. Friday afternoon winds will gust 15-20mph. Saturday afternoon and evening winds will gust 20-30mph.

Temps… Highs Wednesday will be in the high 30s to mid-40s and lows will Wednesday night will be in the mid-single digits to mid-teens. Highs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be in the mid-40s to low 50s. Lows Thursday night and Friday night will be in the low teens to low 20s. Lows Saturday night will be in the low to high 20s.

Saturday night to Sunday evening… The next system will move through. I’ll dig deeper into this one in tomorrow’s post, but here’s a rough first guess on snow amounts…

Valley: 2-6”

Mountains: 8-15”

WPC 24-hour precip 11pm Saturday to 11pm Sunday shows around 0.30” for Pagosa and Chama and up to 1.0” in our mountains. A 10:1 ratio would result in 3” of snow for Pagosa and Chama and 10” for Chama.
WPC 24-hour precip 11pm Saturday to 11pm Sunday shows around 0.30” for Pagosa and Chama and up to 1.0” in our mountains. A 10:1 ratio would result in 3” of snow for Pagosa and Chama and 10” for the mountains.

My next post will be tomorrow morning. It will include a storm summary.

– 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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