Denver, Colorado

Quiet First Half to the Snow Season in Denver

Posted by @brendansweather
Denver's seasonal snowfall well below normal
With just a handful of days to go before the end of the month and beginning of a new year, Denver's seasonal snowfall is running well below normal. January 1 marks the halfway point in our 2013/14 snowfall season which begins July 1, and if December ended today we would close at just 35% of normal snowfall for the period. Denver ordinarily sees 21.2 inches of snow through December, but so far this year Denver International Airport (DIA) has only received 7.6 inches of snow.

Denver typically sees the bulk of its snow in the spring. The long-running seasonal average (1882 - 2012) is 57.5 inches of snow, with 64% of that usually falling between January and June. Although we are in quite a snow(less) hole, there is still hope for the snow lovers out there. Last season, we ended the December with just 12.4 inches of snow, but thanks to a wet spring finished the season well above normal with 78.4 inches recorded at DIA.

Will we see snow before the end of the year in Denver? Maybe. But it won't be enough to erase the snowfall deficit we have accumulated. Our best shot for snow appears to be Saturday into Sunday, but at this point looks to be little more than the quick-hitting dusting to an inch like we saw last weekend.

Snowtel SWE % Dec 26, 2013Statewide numbers are better
Snowfall numbers across Colorado are doing much better, especially compared to where we were last year at this time. Snotel stations across Colorado are reporting Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) numbers at more or less 100%.

Even with a more unfavorable pattern over the last few weeks, many mountain locations have picked up several good snows on the northwesterly flow, especially resorts like Steamboat which can do very well under these patterns.

Blocking Pattern Remains
If you're hoping for a return to snowier weather in Denver any time soon, you may need to cross both your fingers and your toes. Long range models continue to keep the dominant ridge of high pressure over the west, with bitter cold temperature and snow in the east. While January is not typically all that snowy for us (just 6.6" on average), it certainly won't be if we can't get a better pattern to set up.

There are some signs that a struggle may return as we head into the middle of January, but for now our best chance for snow looks to be this coming weekend, and not a very good one at that.