Early cold snap freezes Pagosa Country


Staff Writer

“Brrr,” was likely one of the most common phrases heard throughout Pagosa Country over the last several days.

Hot beverages, coats and warm fires were certainly welcome during the last week, with temperatures in Pagosa Country dropping below zero — and, in places, at least 20 degrees below the average minimum temperature for December.

The cold snap followed several days of snowy weather that left several inches on the ground in town, and at least 44 inches at Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Temperatures recorded at Stevens Field airport, which are printed on page A2 of The SUN each week, show a low of 16 below zero reached Monday, Dec. 9, though lower temps were reported throughout the area.

The average minimum temperature for December in Pagosa Springs is 5 degrees, according to information from the Western Regional Climate Center. That average is drawn from a period from 1906 to 1998. The December average from 1981 to 2010 is 5.6 degrees.

Temperatures began the week at average levels, with the recorded high on Dec. 4 at 38 degrees, versus the area’s long-term average max temperature at 39.6 degrees for Pagosa Springs. The low that night hovered near the average, as well, at 7 degrees.

As the storm moved into the area, recorded highs dropped into the low 20s, with overnight lows hovering at 1 and 2 degrees from Dec. 5 to Dec. 7.

Then came the bitter cold.

Sunday’s high temperatures remained in the low 20s at 23 degrees, but the overnight low dipped to 7 degrees below zero. Low temperatures atop Wolf Creek Pass dipped to 13 below zero that night.

Monday saw even colder temps, with a recorded high of 16 degrees, and a recorded low of 16 below. The low recorded for Dec. 9 atop Wolf Creek Pass, though, was only 4 below zero.

A warming trend of sorts set in Tuesday, Dec. 10, with 23 degrees recorded for the day’s high and the low recorded at 11 below zero.

That trend, though, should set up in earnest this weekend, according to the National Weather Service’s forecast.

The forecast shows daily highs hovering around the mid 30s, with overnight lows in the single and double digits.

Today’s (Thursday’s) high is 38 degrees with mostly sunny skies and an overnight low of 7 degrees.

Friday will again feature mostly sunny skies, with a projected high of 33 degrees and overnight low of 8.

Saturday’s forecast predicts sunny skies and a high of 35, with an overnight low of 10.

Sunday should again be sunny with a high of 35, and an overnight low of 13.