A Difficult Forecast

There is a much better chance of showers and thunderstorms developing today than yesterday. The problem is where and how much. Having tracked this on the models for a few days now I have not seen the consensus come together as I had hoped. Some areas could get a lot of rain, others little if any.

My normal go-to model in these cases is the NAM3km model’s 6am run. I am going to stick with its guidance, reluctantly. The midnight run of the model showed heavy rain and thunderstorms setting up west of where it currently shows the heavy rain. Nearly every 6 hours it goes back and forth between further west and further east.

Looking at the total precipitation forecast from that model, the only conclusion I can draw is that some area from Durango to Pagosa is going to get an inch+ of rain. I think Bayfield to Vallecito is probably in the sweet spot because wherever these heavy rains set up they will be pretty close to the action.

Here is the current latest run of that model showing the rain totals by Sunday morning.


In this run, it shows .30 inches of rain at DRO.

As I previously mentioned it looks quite a bit different than it did at midnight.


In that run, it showed 1.02 inches at DRO with 2 inches between DRO and Bayfield.

The reason I prefer the further east set up is that the GFS and Euro have been consistent in showing the heavier precipitation to the east of Durango.

That being said if you look at surface CAPE some of the highest values are forecasted to be west, between Durango and Cortez this afternoon. Remember CAPE represents energy that fuels thunderstorms.

Noon CAPE (For reference DRO is 1133, Pagosa 866, Telluride 1033, Cortez 835)


3 pm CAPE


4 pm CAPE


6 pm Cape


It is not uncommon to see thunderstorms develop with CAPE values as low as 400.

It is not my intention to leave out the higher elevation mountain areas, you are almost guaranteed to get some decent rain and thunderstorms.

If a storm does develop in your area you could see some dangerous lightning and outflow winds as well.

In summary, all areas have the potential for dangerous storms and heavy rain today, but the models are preferencing all areas east of 172 all the way to Pagosa.

I would love to get reports this afternoon. If I see something big blooming up on the radar I will give everyone a shout out.

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One thought on “A Difficult Forecast

  1. Sherry

    We have been experiencing heavy short bursts of rain and large hail here at Trappers Crossing. Lots of nearby lightening too. Approximately a half inch of hail covered the yard and is still unrelated on our deck at 9:30pm. Just getting another wave of rain and thunder right now.

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