Warmer, drier weather predicted

First came snow, then the cold. Now, we’re in for sunshine and warmer temperatures.

While the most recent snowstorm failed to produce anticipated accumulations across Pagosa Country, it did add an inch-and-a-half to the local snowpack, and half-a-foot to the high country. Over the past seven days, however, 7 inches piled up in Pagosa Lakes, as 22 additional inches graced the slopes of Wolf Creek Ski Area.

All told, the “Lakes” has received 105 inches on the season, compared to 149 total inches last year (through May). By press time, an average of 18 inches covered most Pagosa Lakes backyards.

The ski area, meanwhile, has seen 327 inches of snow this 2008/2009 winter season, or 165 fewer inches than all of last year. With the area averaging 465 inches per season, it’ll need another 11.5 feet to reach its medium. It’s certainly possible, though a relatively dry January and the first 19 days of this month have significantly hampered chances. For now, Wolf Creek boasts a mid-mountain base of 104 inches, and a 110-inch summit base.

Reaching the medium seasonal snowpack at the ski area — or the Lakes — seems unlikely this season, especially when meteorologists are calling for warm, relatively dry weather for the next several days.

According to the National Weather Service, today will be sunny with a high temperature in the mid-40s. Tonight’s low should dip to the lower teens, as each of the next five days should maintain clear skies with highs around 50 and lows in the mid- to upper teens.

AccuWeather.com predicts inclement weather toward the end of next week, but lower-elevation temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s should produce either wet snow or rain. By early the following week, sunshine should return, with highs again hovering around the 50-degree mark.

Meanwhile, today marks just 29 days until the official first day of spring.

chuck@pagosasun.com