You Never Really Know

11/14/22 Monday 10:30 am

When I woke up this morning I was surprised at how much quality (light and fluffy) snow fell last night.  I assumed it was more widespread than it actually was. As it turns out, most locations only got a dusting to an inch. The heaviest snow fell from Hesperus to Lightner Creek and south from Breen to Trappers Crossing.

Three to six inch amounts were common in these areas:  Breen, Hesperus, Durango West 1&2, Lake Durango, Rafter J, Lightner Creek, Shenandoah, Nighthorse, and Trappers Crossing.

I am sure there were other areas in that range but those were the only reports that totaled that much. Of course, the models showed the heavier amounts east of Bayfield but that did not happen. Most areas in eastern La Plata County only received a dusting to one and one-half inches.

Purgatory base got a dusting. Wolf Creek got three inches There was an inch at Coal Bank and Molas passes, Red Mountain got two inches and two and one-half inches fell near the snow shed south of Ouray.

It looks like a cold week ahead, with intermittent snow showers over the next couple of days around Wolf Creek. There are no big changes to the pattern expected until around or after Thanksgiving. But as we saw last night, you never really know.

My next update will be on Tuesday. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Upside Surprise

11/14/22 Monday 6:30 am

I did not think we would have anything to talk about, but I was wrong. The models were wrong, this time a rare upside surprise over the southern forecast area. Send me your totals and I will do an update later today.

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Arid System Passes To Our South Tonight

11/13/22 Sunday 5 am

A closed area of low pressure currently near Las Vegas will move through Arizona and into south-central New Mexico tonight. Winds will become southwesterly throughout the day and occasionally gusty but well below warning criteria.  Temperatures will rebound to near average for this time of year.

We will be on the northern periphery of the precipitation. The best chance of snow will be in the higher elevation areas and eastern portions of the forecast area roughly from Bayfield to Wolf Creek. Most of us will be lucky to see a light dusting of snow. Wolf Creek could sneak 2-3 inches if everything goes perfectly.

There is not going to be a lot to talk about after that. Temperatures and precipitation should be low through next week at least. Deep low pressure in the midwest will occasionally retrograde throughout the week which may trigger a few light snow showers near the divide and across the Front Range mountains.

Unless something interesting arises, my next update will be Tuesday morning after I see the new Euro weekly extended model run. That will interesting because it will take us up to December 29th.

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More Boring Weather Ahead

11/11/2022 Friday 8 am

The moisture-starved storm blew through Wednesday late afternoon and night. It brought a little bit of snow to the mountains and very little fanfare to the mid and lower elevations. Those types of systems are not my favorite. For the lower and mid-elevations, I had to track it via barometric pressure readings to know when the front passed.

I am afraid I don’t have good news for the short term. A cut-off low-pressure system will track to our south Sunday night into Monday. Wolf Creek may get a few flakes but that will be it. Next week we will be in between a ridge of high pressure off the west coast and low pressure to our east. There is a slight chance the low pressure could retrograde back west to our area, but it is highly unlikely it will make it over the divide. The models are divided on what happens after next week. I am going to hold off talking about the future until Tuesday.

My next update will be Sunday m0rning.

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A Quick Moving Wind Driven Storm Will Blow Through Later Today

11/9/22 Wednesday 8:20 am

I don’t have a lot to add to what I said yesterday. If this storm closed off over us, or if it were to stall at our doorstep, it would be a significant event. The odds of that happening are very low; I don’t expect that to happen.

Here is the system

It looks like the system will reach the western Colorado border between 1 and 2 pm. Snow will likely break out in higher mountains between 2 and 3 pm. It could reach our southern forecast areas between 4 and 5 pm and continue east. With the exception of Wolf Creek, most of the activity should wind down before midnight.

Here is one high-resolution model’s depiction of what that looks like. This is from noon today through 6 am tomorrow morning in one-hour intervals. The blue is snow.

It will be a dramatic frontal passage and will cause some travel issues while it is passing through so it may affect some commutes. In addition to the snow, strong winds will accompany the frontal passage. The NWS looked past the normal accumulation requirements for a Winter Weather Advisory and is concentrating on the wind gusts with the snow that will reduce the visibility. Therefore they are going ahead and issuing a Winter Weather Advisory for the 550 passes and Wolf Creek Pass.

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
230 AM MST WED NOV 9 2022

COZ018-019-100000-
/O.EXB.KGJT.WW.Y.0018.221109T1900Z-221110T0700Z/
NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE CITIES OF TELLURIDE, OURAY, LAKE CITY, SILVERTON,  AND RICO
230 AM MST WED NOV 9 2022

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO MIDNIGHT MST TONIGHT…

* WHAT…SNOW EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 6 INCHES WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 60 MPH.

* WHERE…NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS AND SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM NOON TODAY TO MIDNIGHT MST TONIGHT.

* IMPACTS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. PATCHY BLOWING SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY, ESPECIALLY ON RIDGE TOPS.

_________________________________________________________

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
357 AM MST WED NOV 9 2022

COZ068-091900-
/O.NEW.KPUB.WW.Y.0027.221109T2300Z-221110T0500Z/
EASTERN SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS ABOVE 10000 FEET-WOLF CREEK PASS 357 AM MST WED NOV 9 2022

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 10 PM MST THIS EVENING…

* WHAT…AN INTENSE BAND OF HEAVY WIND DRIVE SNOW IS LIKELY. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 65 MPH.

* WHERE…EASTERN SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 10 PM MST THIS EVENING.

* IMPACTS…WIDESPREAD BLOWING SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY. VERY STRONG WINDS ARE EXPECTED WHICH COULD BLOW DOWN TREES. TRAVEL ACROSS THE PASSES IN THE SAN JUANS MAY BE IMPOSSIBLE THIS EVENING DUE TO NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY.

If anything changes, I will post again this afternoon. If not I will try to post tomorrow.  Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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One Fast Moving Storm Coming Up

11/8/22 Tuesday 12:45 pm

The latest model runs are moving the storm in and through the area faster than precious runs. Snowfall rates in higher elevation areas will be impressive while the storm is blowing through. It’s just not going to stick around so storm totals will be rather low. Travel will become difficult while the front is moving through. There will be poor visibility on the passes because of the wind and snow, but it will be short-lived. I would avoid traveling over the passes after dark tomorrow night. At the moment, it looks like the storm will be long gone by Thursday morning. For now, I am thinking 1-3 inches for Purgatory. 3-6 inches for Telluride, Silverton, and the 550 passes, and 3-6 for Wolf Creek.

I was going to do an extended outlook today, it looks like there was a data error again calculating the precipitation anomalies due to an incorrect average precipitation amount for the period. Hopefully, it will be fixed next week.

My next update will be on Wednesday. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Quick Moving Storm Wednesday Night Then Boring

11/6/22 Sunday 7:45 am

A strong storm will affect the west this week and bring heavy snow to our west. Unfortunately, after stalling to our west, it appears the storm will hit the accelerator and blow through late Wednesday exiting the area as quickly as it came in. The models show this storm moving so fast I have little confidence in what they are showing.

I am going to hold off on any precipitation forecast for now and see how the future runs handle the situation. If the models are correct, it would result in a brief squall with a dusting of snow for the mid and lower elevations, with a couple of quick inches in the mountains. After that, it looks like a period of boring weather for 7 to 10 days before the storm track looks more favorable for SW Colorado. As always, I will look at that more closely on my Tuesday extended outlook.

My next update will be on Tuesday.

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Friday Update–Storm Recap And Next Week’s Storm

11/4/22 Friday 1:20 pm

Overall the Wednesday morning full run of the European was the most accurate. Good to know going forward that with a few tweaks here and there I should be able to trust what I am seeing this winter.

Wolf Creek reported 20 inches, although the SNOTEL site near there reported slightly more. Red Mountain Pass ended up with 19 inches, Molas Pass came in with 15 inches and 16 inches was reported at Coal Bank Pass. Purgatory is not reporting yet, the snow stake is usually showing lower amounts than what actually fell. I got a report from Hermosa Cliffs Ranch of 14 inches, and 12 inches from Lake Purgatory. Hermosa Cliffs has some weird things going on orographically that usually lead to higher totals than Purgatory Resort, so I am going to guess 12 inches for Purgatory. I have no idea what fell at Telluride but it looked like about 10 inches on the mountain.

Other notable totals were 9.5 inches in Upper Durango Hills, 5 inches at CR503 at 7,500 feet, 4.4 inches in Lower Forest Lakes, and 3.75 inches north of Mancos at Silver Creek Ranch. I did not get the final totals from Upper Forest Lakes and Lemon. I did not get any reports from Vallecito.

The next couple of storms are going to come in north of our area, if you are traveling north or east of Grand Junction you may want to keep an eye on the weather.

Our next storm should come in Wednesday of next week. At the moment it looks weaker than this one was, but a lot could change between now and then. I have my eyes on it and I plan to do my first update on that storm on Sunday morning so make sure you tune in then.

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Thursday Afternoon Brief Update

11/3/22 Thursday 3:45 pm

I am looking forward to seeing snow totals tomorrow. The main feature moved through earlier today but there is a shortwave trough to our west that may kick up precipitation this evening if it moves through tonight. Ultimately, I think the expected colder air will produce more snow tonight regardless of the flow, not a lot, but more. Thanks for all of the reports. FYI the “rare” south-southeasterly flow that I saw on the Euro the other day did happen for a while.

My next update will be on Friday.

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Thursday Morning Update

11/3/22 Thursday 5 am

I am eagerly awaiting daylight to get a better look at the webcams to see how the storm is progressing. The storm has not slowed significantly as it usually does. It is snowing at Hesperus Hill which is visible on the CDOT webcams. That location is just shy of 8,200 feet. Some of the temperatures above 8,000 feet are warmer than I expected which concerns me a bit for storm totals. I was on the low end of most forecasters with my totals so things could be worse.

I gave up on adjusting forecasts mid-storm a few years ago. I have had a history of giving up too early on storms. At this point, it is going to do what it is going to do. I will continue to watch from the sidelines and enjoy the fact that we are not experiencing boring weather right now.

I was recently talking about winter with a couple of people lately. November 15th is when I will make my thoughts public. I am not going to produce any type of numerical forecast, instead, I will just share my overall thoughts on what I expect.

I will post again later today.

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