On and off precip into Sunday …

A low will spin like a top over AZ and keep things unsettled into Sunday. In fact, the remnants of the low might not move through our area until next Wednesday morning.

A low will spin like a top over AZ and keep things unsettled into Sunday. In fact, the remnants of the low might not move through our area until next Wednesday morning.

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Wednesday – 13 Mar 2024 – 11:00am

The past…

At Stevens Field the high temperature yesterday afternoon was 52 and the low this morning was 30.

The peak wind at the airfield yesterday was 23mph.

Average HighRecord High / YearAverage LowRecord Low / Year
4866 / 194314-10 / 1909

Precipitation summary… Light snow started falling over parts of the county yesterday around 10pm and fell on and off the rest of the night.  Snow amounts were light and roads in the valley were mostly wet this morning. Wolf Creek reported 2” of new snow this morning.

CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from a trace to 1”.
CoCoRaHS 24-hour snow reports range from a trace to 1”.

Forecast discussion…

Water vapor satellite this morning – The low over northern ID will sink south over the next 24-36 hours and then spin over AZ through the weekend. The low will push multiple troughs and batches of moisture through our area.
Water vapor satellite this morning – The low over northern ID will sink south over the next 24-36 hours and then spin over AZ through the weekend. The low will push multiple troughs and batches of moisture through our area.
Radar this morning – There are scattered showers across the region. Most of the precip is light.
Radar this morning – There are scattered showers across the region. Most of the precip is light.

Forecast highlights…

*** A slow-moving cut-off low will keep things unsettled into Sunday. ***

*** Travel into the mountains or to the Front Range will be treacherous Wednesday night through Friday. ***

*** WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is out for the eastern San Juan Mountains above 10,000ft for an additional 3-5” to 6am Thursday. ***

*** WINTER STORM WARNING is out for the southwest San Juan Mountains for up to 22” of snow noon Thursday to 6am Saturday. *** This does not include Pagosa Springs.

Rest of Wednesday into Sunday… A low will sink south and then spin over AZ Thursday into Sunday.

The Flagstaff NWS summed it up well:

“Pardon the long-form message here….but imagine if you will, a spinning top on a rough table. Where will the top wobble to? How long will it continue to spin? How far will it lean to one side or the other? The spinning top is a good analogy to the weather system that will be impacting Arizona from Thursday into the weekend. We’ll have a ‘cut-off’ low wobbling around the area for a few days. We know it will be colder. We know it will bring beneficial rain and snow. We know some areas will see quite heavy accumulations. The devil is in the details, and we’ll be doing our best to bring you these details as they become clear.”

Total Snow amounts Wednesday to Sunday evening…

Valley below 7,500ft: 2-4”

Valley above 7,500ft: 4-9”

Mountains: 20-30”

The details…

Snow will come in waves with 1-3” possible each day in the valley – an inch below 7,500ft and up to 3” above 8,000ft.  The best chance for accumulating snow is each night when temps will be a little cooler. The snow that accumulates each night will likely melt each afternoon.

It could snow pretty hard for brief periods during the day, but temps above freezing will make it difficult for snow to accumulate. Locations below 7,500ft will see a rain/snow mix each afternoon. An isolated thunderstorm or two is also possible each afternoon.

In the mountains snow will also fall on and off but will gradually pile up. The heaviest snow will fall Thursday afternoon into Friday evening. I expect Wolf Creek to get 12-18” during this period. Friday and Saturday will be good powder days, just expect bad driving conditions and poor visibility on the slopes.

Winds… Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, Thursday night, and Friday afternoon: 15-20mph. Saturday and Sunday afternoons: 10-15mph.

Temps… Highs will be near 40 to the mid-40s and lows will be in the mid-20s to low 30s.

GFS 500mb height anomalies noon Thursday and noon Sunday – 500mb is roughly 18,000ft and a good level to track our storms. Blues and greens indicate lower heights and potential storminess. The cut-off low will wobble over AZ into Sunday and gradually weaken. It will push occasional troughs and batches of moisture through our area.
GFS 500mb height anomalies noon Thursday and noon Sunday – 500mb is roughly 18,000ft and a good level to track our storms. Blues and greens indicate lower heights and potential storminess.
The cut-off low will wobble over AZ into Sunday and gradually weaken. It will push occasional troughs and batches of moisture through our area.
NWS snow forecast to 6pm Friday shows 2-3” near Pagosa Springs and 18-24” near Wolf Creek. The Front Range is going to get hammered.
NWS snow forecast to 6pm Friday shows 2-3” near Pagosa Springs and 18-24” near Wolf Creek. The Front Range is going to get hammered.
NBM total snowfall to 6am Sunday shows 2.9” near Pagosa Springs, 5.3” near Chama, 1.8” near Bayfield, and up to 30” in our mountains.
NBM total snowfall to 6am Sunday shows 2.9” near Pagosa Springs, 5.3” near Chama, 1.8” near Bayfield, and up to 30” in our mountains.

My next forecast will be Thursday morning.

– 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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