“April Showers…” Spring Outlook (Part 1)

11 am

Short term

Later this afternoon and throughout the day Wednesday mostly light rain showers and some light snow showers will break out from time to time. Snow levels will lower slightly overnight. The models are mixed but it looks like 3-6″ of snow could fall above 9,500 feet, in the La Platas and mostly slightly north of Purgatory by Wednesday night. I will follow up on that on Wednesday morning.

This weekend it looks like a couple of more chances of light showers on Saturday and Sunday. I have pretty low confidence on this weekends forecast at the moment.  I am starting to see early indications of a bit of a pattern change to colder and wetter conditions by the middle of next week. As you will see later in this post.

It was a great Winter

I am not officially giving up on Winter yet,  However, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of you followers. In the last 12 months I have picked up 5,700 new facebook followers with 3,000 of those new followers over the last 5 months. I got the website launched and in February we had 203,000 views. Not a lot by comparison but for a word of mouth community weather site not bad either.

The best part of the winter (besides the snow and drought reversal) for me was having had so many people nominate then vote for me for the Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the year award. Something I will always appreciate more than written or spoken words can express. A special thanks goes out to all of the donors who have helped me offset some costs associated with all of this. I tried to reach out to everyone individually and it has been fun hearing back from people and actually networking with others. Thanks again!

Then there was the snow, as I have talked about if you want accurate snow totals for your area you have to do it yourself. Having lived where I do for 10 years I know this winter was a 10-year record (by almost 50 inches so far). Just incredible, but I doubt that it was an all-time record.

Cool and wet Spring

Twice a week we get an opportunity to see a 51 model blend of the long term forecast. The good news is it is the best product out there for what it does, the bad news is it is low-resolution so it is difficult to pinpoint amounts for exact locations.

I have broken it up into 5-day individual totals for precipitation.

Monday (yesterday) through Friday


April 6th through April 10th


April 11th through April 15th, this supports a pattern change to wetter conditions.


April 16th to April 20th


April 21st to April 25th the wetter conditions persist


April 27 to May 2nd This model runs out 32 days so I wanted to show you how it concludes; you can the see the wet conditions continue.


Here is the 32 day total


At Durango (airport) the average high for April 1st is 57.6 degrees and the average low is 27. By April 30th the average high is 67.7 and the average low is 34.7

I don’t have Purgatory averages but I do have Telluride averages which should be close. The average high in Telluride April 1st is 45.5 and the average low is 17.6. By April 30th the average high is 54.5 and the average low is 25.8.

I tell you that so that when I talk about below average or above average temperatures you know what the baseline is.

Here are what the models expect for temperatures through May 2nd


Below average temps and above average precipitation indicate some snow is on the way. Because of the low-resolution, I don’t want to show the snow amounts for the broad area above. However, there are meteograms that show the snowfall predictions for certain areas. I do have it for Durango, I posted it in mid-December through January it was too low, but everyone thought it would be too high. I posted it again in January through February and it was too low, again everyone thought it was too high. I am not going to post the current run, because I think it would be misleading to the casual glancers. I am comfortable sharing the meteogram for Telluride however because of the Terrain blend.

The average snowfall in Telluride in April is 20 inches.


The average of the 51 model spread shows 36 more inches by mid-May, this does not take into account what melts, just what falls from the sky.

Lastly, I wanted to update you on the new radar, a potential site has been picked, negotiations are ongoing between a private landowner and if they choose to proceed they will still have to determine power and access needs. In the meantime, they are going to have the temporary radar back up this summer and fall like last year. Hopefully, we will get more use out it than we did last year!

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