Weather front brings much-needed cool down to San Juan County this week

Purgatory Resort near Durango, Colorado sees first snowfall

Matt Hollinshead,
A weather front swept through San Juan County Tuesday and Wednesday, sending temperatures to between 20 and 30 degrees below normal for this time of year. Purgatory Resort near Durango, Colorado, reported snowfall, as did Molas Lake near Silverton, Colorado.

FARMINGTON — After dealing with incessant summer heat, San Juan County got just enough precipitation for a much-needed cool down.

Temperatures were between 20 and 30 degrees below normal for this time of year, down to the upper-50s for Wednesday.

Sharon Sullivan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said it was the combined result of a back-circle weather front and colder air coming in from Canada, which eventually pushed through Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

“This system is pretty unusual for this time of year,” Sullivan said, adding that Chama and Taos had their first freeze warnings of the year on Tuesday.

The Four Corners Regional Airport and the Farmington Agriculture and Science Center had roughly one-third of an inch of total rain between Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Bloomfield saw a combined half-inch of rain between Tuesday and Wednesday morning, according to Sullivan, while Aztec saw just over one-third of an inch of total rain during the same period.

A snowman is pictured, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, at Purgatory Resort in Colorado.

After seeing 0.4 inches of rain on Tuesday, Fruitland was expected to get an additional one-quarter inch to half-inch of rain as of Wednesday night with 15-20 mile per hour wind gusts.

Navajo Dam saw between one-third of an inch and half-inch of total rain between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sullivan said there wasn’t as much activity observed in Kirtland and Shiprock because NWS doesn’t have as much radar data available for the west side of San Juan County.

Molas Lake near Silverton, Colorado recorded 0.4 inches of snowfall as of Wednesday morning, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service's SNOTEL report.

Purgatory Resort, located 25 miles north of Durango, Colorado, reported its first glimpse of snowfall in a Wednesday press release.

Sullivan said the pressure system is hanging out more in the Four Corners and will travel northeast into Colorado over the next few days.

Sullivan said it looks like another weather front could come in late next week.

“The odds are more tilted towards that,” Sullivan said. “Those details are still uncertain at this point.”

Otherwise, Sullivan said above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation are still expected for the rest of the month.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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Southwest Colorado saw its first snow on Sept. 8, 2020.