Climate
Drought expands across southern Colorado
For many of us in the state, this winter has been quite snowy. For a lot of mountain areas, it’s been a good snowpack year. So it might be surprising to know that some areas of our state are in increasingly severe drought. As of April 28, 32% of Colorado is experiencing severe drought (D2) conditions. How did we get here? One year ago in May, the U.S. Drought Monitor depicted a blank map for Colorado .
Climate
Many Colorado weather stations make top 20 snowfall lists in 2019-2020 season
The season isn't over just yet, but many Colorado weather stations are ranked into their top 20 snowfall seasons on record already. Boulder is in its snowiest season ever recorded there, and, as mentioned, we may see more snow there before the season ends next month. As of this posting, 24 stations (with a minimum of 50 ye
Climate
Snowiest season on record for Boulder as latest winter storm drops more than a foot of snow across parts of Northern Colorado
An incredible snowfall season for many locations along the Front Range continues with yet another heavy snowfall event last night and this morning for some. No place has this been more true than for Boulder. We're working on a post that will go a bit deeper in snowfall stats across the region and state, so look for that soon. This morning the Boulder topped 145" of snow on the season, breaking the old record of 142.9" set back in the 1908-09 snowfall season. Boulder recorded 11.6" of snow throu
Climate
Let’s talk about the weather, specifically nice weather!
Two things are happening in our world right now. First, and most obvious, we are social distancing. We are told that we can’t go to restaurants or gatherings, but it's frequently recommended that we can still "go outside." Well, luckily, the other thing that is occurring is that we're in the spring season. The season of new growth, flowers budding, snow becoming rain, longer days, warmer days. Climatologists refer to March 1 - May 31 as spring. But if you’ve lived in Colorado for more than 1 ye
Climate
How February snows have helped shape Colorado's 2019 - 2020 snow season
It's been a roller coaster winter for Colorado, and February was certainly no exception. January was warm and dry, and many people feared it signaled the end of winter and beginning of drought. But after a gloriously beautiful spring-like beginning to February, the "mild switch" was turned off. Take a look at this graph of daily temperatures compared to average for Fort Collins. While both January and February are part of winter, the long-term trend indicates that February is usually warmer tha
Climate
How might the new NOAA climate temperature normals change for your county?
We're almost one month into 2020, and this is an exciting time for climatologists. Upon the completion of this year, calculations will begin to update the climatological normals. Wondering what those are? Well, any time you hear your local meteorologist mention the average for the day, or see headlines like "temperatures much above average" or "expect drier than average conditions," that average is based on climatology that has been calculated, using the most recent 3 decades, by NOAA's National
Climate
A look at Christmas Day extremes
Christmas is coming up, and usually, the question on everyone's mind is, "Will we have a White Christmas?" You've likely already read or seen several different articles addressing the statistical probability of snow on Christmas, including here on Weather5280. With a ridge of high pressure moving across the middle of the country, it's more likely that many people will experience a sunny and mil
Year in Review
The weather and climate stories that shaped the last decade in Colorado
With 2019 coming to a close, we thought we'd take a look back at some of the most significant weather and climate stories from Denver and across Colorado over the last ten years. The one that first came to my mind was the 2013 floods, but quickly we had a list of events much longer than we've even included here. The last decade was marked by many warm years, catastrophic floods and fires, and plenty of variability in snow and ice from year to year. Oh, and of course plenty of beautiful, sunny
Climate
Denver's top December snowstorms on record
December is historically Denver's third snowiest month which averages 8.1 inches of snowfall. There have been some noteworthy years for snowfall this month, including the Christmas storm in the early 80s. Here we take a look at the top storms in December: #3. 20.7" December 20th to 21st, 2006 This storm was one of the biggest challenges to the city's "new" Denver International Airport and was a catalyst for changes in the airport's operations and procedures [https://www.internationalairportre
Climate
October 2019 was 4th coldest on record for Colorado after record warmest September
If there's ever a year to complain about the lack of a fall season around here, this one may be the one. After crushing record highs for September in Denver, the turn around in October was sudden and dramatic. Denver ended October -7.2°F below average for October, recording multiple record lows in the process –– including a low of just 3°F on October 30th. Compare that to the new record high for September (100°F set on September 2nd,
Snow
Top 10 snowiest Novembers for Denver, select Front Range cities
Denver's long-running average is 7.5 inches of snow in November. This makes it the cities 5th snowiest month on average, behind December, February, March, and April. Denver International Airport, where official records are currently kept (and have been since 2005) averages 3.3 inches, meanwhile, Stapleton (1948-2018) averages 8 inches. Other sites: * Fort Collins (1894-2018) averages 6.8 inches. * Boulder (1893-2018) averages 11.2 inches. * Castle Rock/Sedalia (1959-2018) averages 10.5 inch
Snowfall Totals
Third snowiest October for Stapleton, 4th Boulder, 5th Colorado Springs
Given no snow is expected today, the month will close at 12.5 inches of snowfall for Denver which is 12th highest of all 'official' Denver Octobers. That stat does compare several snowfall measurement sites, so let's see how it really compares. First, this October ranks 12th in Denver's official record: Since this monthly total was measured at DIA, let's compare this to DIA's period of record for October snow totals: This year is 2nd to 2009 in DIA's short history of snowfall reports. L
Climate
Does above-average October snowfall indicate an above-average snow season to come?
The official snowfall total for Denver this October is 12.5". Measurements are taken at Denver International Airport , some 20 miles away from downtown Denver. At Stapleton, the tally for the month is 15.7", with 20.2" recorded at our station on Denver's west side. All in all, an impressive snowy month across the area for the first time in years, and the first time in a decade, the city has recorded 10" or more of snow in t
Climate
Denver Sets Two New Record Lows, Two-Day Drop is Second Greatest On Record
The temperature before midnight last night dropped to 13°F at Denver International Airport, setting a new record low for the date for Denver. The previous record low was 17°F set back in 2009. This morning, DIA dropped to 9°F (single digits?!) smashing the old record low for October 11th of 22°F set back in 1946. So far this month we have set two new record lows. Denver has set five record lows in 2019, vs six record highs. Here's a look at our turbulent start to October, compared to our prev
Denver Snow
September Snow: Perspective and Context
Matt Makens is a member of the Pinpoint Weather Team. He presents forecasts nightly on Channel 2. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "I remember it used to snow all the time in September!" Perhaps you have thought the same? Let's check that hypothesis and give some context to September's snowfall history for the Front Range. At the surface, this memory isn't all that wrong. Let's dig deeper. I'll begin by showing you the September snowfall tota
Record Heat
Denver Sets New Record High for September
The temperature at Denver International Airport reached 100 degrees on Monday, setting a new record high for both the date and for the month of September. This was the second time this summer Denver hit the century mark, also breaking 100 degrees back on July 19th. Temperatures cool today, if only briefly. Highs in Denver will be in the mid 80s Tuesday before warming back into the 90s Wednesday and Thursday. The good news, looking at the hourly planner below, is the daily storm chances increas
Climate
Colorado May Have Broken Its All-Time High Temperature Record in July
Colorado’s all-time record high temperature may have fallen in July. A 115-degree reading was taken near Las Animas in southeast parts of the state. If and when verified, it’s set to best the old mark of 114 degrees. It was something of an accidental finding, a reminder that every now and then the Internet shows us why we all thought it was awesome in the first place. I was playing with some data from the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS), as I often do, when I came across it. In this c
Drought
Colorado 99.99% Free of Any Drought Monitor Classification, Marking Highest Percentage Since 2001
A truly remarkable Drought Monitor map published today showing what a historically wet winter (and now spring) across the CONUS can do for persistent drought conditions. Over the last 180 days most of the U.S. has seen above average precipitation. The map below shows accumulated precipitation as a percent of average from
El Niño
El Niño Has Reestablished and Might Stick Around For Awhile
The weather we have experienced for the past several weeks lines up very well with what we thought winter would be like... a more active finish than start and middle. During the past 60 days, areas along the Palmer Divide / I-70 Corridor have benefited the most –– running well above average for precipitation during this time: Most areas of Colorado have received at least average moisture, with a few small exceptions. Mountain areas have also been doing well, especially the parched San Juans a
Climate
Two-Year Snowfall Slump in Rare Company for Denver as We near the End of 2018
I understand that we typically measure seasonal snowfall totals (September - May) rather than annual, but given we're not even halfway through this season, let's take a quick look at how annual snowfall since January 2017 in Denver stacks up against previous years. 2017 was the least snowy year on record (dating back to 1882) for Denver. At just 17.2" on the year, it nudged out 1887 (18.9") as least snowiest, with 1888 coming in as a close third at 21.5". Remarkably, Denver has only recorded le
Snowpack
Perspective on Colorado's Snowpack: Is There A Downward Trend?
Matt Makens is a KWGN Pinpoint Meteorologist and occasional contributor to Weather5280 from Denver's Pinpoint weather team. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's the time of year when we look at the snowpack numbers to climb, and hopefully stay near to above average for water resources, fire danger, and the economy; so far, so good. Here is the average snowpack chart for Colorado showing a nearly normal curve until th
Weather Stats
Powderful Statistics: Exploring Denver's Snowy Side
I recently wrote about the lack of September snowfalls in Denver since 2000. A couple of things became clear shortly after publishing: 1) Weather5280 readers love their snow (but we already knew this), and 2) snowfall stats are fun to explore, debate, and discuss. So, let's take it a bit of a deeper dive today, and dig into Denver's snowfall history, trends, and other fun snowy stats. Seasonal snowfall averages and trends First, here's a c
Weather Stats
Least Snowy March on Record for Denver; Season Least Snowiest to Date as Well
Weather5280 was started with the hopes and dreams of communicating epic snows and working exhaustively on continuous snowfall projections. That's still the dream. Like the Seven Dwarfs, the seven of us continue marching along. The march was slow in March, and has been all winter. With only 19.3 inches of snowfall measured to date, this snowfall season is the least snowy ever recorded through March. Recorded snowfall goes back to 1882 for Denver. Since that time, the city has recorded as muc
Winter Outlook
Winter 2016 - 2017: Reason for Concern?
It is no secret that we've been dry and very warm for weeks. In fact, we saw cooler weather and mountain snow back in August than we have had during this "fall". Here we are at the end of October, and I am growing more and more worried every day. I am worried that the dry and warm weather is being fueled by a weather pattern that is not only going to be VERY hard to break down but that when it does break down, it won't last long. If you are signed up to be a Weather5280 Insider or a
Colorado Weather
El Niño Death and La Niña Birth: What It Could Mean for Colorado
If you frequent Weather5280 this the title of this post is not breaking news. In fact, we've been talking about this transition for several months. Today I wanted to provide an update for those that are interested, and show what history and various computer models are suggesting. First, let's look at the recent sea surface temperature anomaly changes over the tropical Pacific Ocean: The animation above shows the changes that have taken place at the surface since early February. Notice th