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Cold snap freezes Pagosa Country


As calendars turned and revelers partied over the weekend, the mercury dipped to sub-normal (and sub-zero) temperatures, nearing record lows on New Year’s Day.

Saturday’s official low temperature was recorded as -18.4 degrees — a mere 1.6 degrees above the 1991 record of -20 degrees, according to Pagosa-weather guru Toby Karlquist (who also reported the statistics for a warmer Arizona).

The high temperature for the first day of 2011 reached 11.8 degrees.

While Sunday followed with a low of -16.3, it was further from the record low for Jan. 2 of -37, set 100 years earlier in 1911. The high on the day reached 12.5 degrees.

“...(A)lthough Sunday’s low of -16.3 was on the chilly side, it was balmy compared to the record low...,” Karlquist wrote in an e-mail.

The official weather recordings are taken from The Plaza at Aspen Village.

Though the official stats were above the record mark, homeowners throughout Archuleta County recorded temperatures reaching at or below -30 degrees on home thermometers.

Karlquist said he, too, had heard of colder temperatures in open areas throughout the county.

“But really when it get that cold, does it really matter?,” Karlquist wrote in an e-mail, adding that he hoped it wouldn’t reach those temperatures anytime soon.

Karlquist reported that the all-time low officially recorded in Pagosa Springs was -46, set on Feb. 1, 1951.

The average high temperature in January hovers around 37 degrees, according to the Western Regional Climate Center. January’s average low temperature in Pagosa Springs is 1.4 degrees.

Temperatures returned closer to seasonal norms Monday, with a high of 36.8 degrees and a low of 3 degrees recorded.

Tuesday’s high temperature reached 28.2 degrees with a low of 3.5 degrees and light snow falling during the day.

Seasonal temperatures should continue through the weekend, with the National Weather Service calling for a high near 32 today with a 5 mph wind calming throughout the day.

Friday’s forecast comes with a high near 35, again with 5 mph wind predicted to calm throughout the day.

Saturday again should see temperatures in the 30s, with a chance of snow Saturday night and Sunday, with Sunday’s high expected to reach 27.

Monday’s temperature is predicted to continue the decline, with a high of 23 on the day and a high of 21 on Tuesday.