The Weather Wire
March 2005 Volume 13 Number 03
Avg High 49.1
Avg Low 22.2
Snow - 0.5"
Season Snow - 21.9"
Precipitation - 0.02"
Avg High 53.7
Avg Low 25.4
Avg Snow - 11.7"
Avg Precip - 1.28"
Just How Full are We???|
The watering season for the Front Range is not far away so this would be a good time to take a look at our snow pack that supplies our water for the spring and summer.
The last two months have been pretty dry months along the Front Range. February finished with only 0.02” or precipitation for the month making it the 5th month in a row of below normal precipitation. For the year so far we have recorded only 0.39” at DIA which is 0.61 inch below normal. We have commented more than once in these pages that DIA is far from representative of the moisture we see along the Front Range. Another consideration is that the moisture that falls at DIA or along the eastern plains of Colorado is not where we draw our water from. The snow in the high country as it melts fills the reservoirs that feed the water needs along the Front Range. So before we hit the panic button on the current dry conditions lets take a look at the current snow pack.
As a whole the snow pack state wide is at 107% of normal. Looking specifically at the water basins that the Front Range depends on; the South Platte drainage Basin is at 81 % of normal and the North Platte is at 85% of normal. Narrowing things down a bit more Denver’s current water storage is 71% full with a projection of 90% full after the spring runoff. This compares with the water storage being only 43% full at this same time last year. So we are definitely doing much better than last year.
Even though March has started out on the dry side, from a climatologically standpoint March is the wettest month of the year, with April coming in a strong second. So unless the next two months turn out to be unusually dry we stand to gain on the numbers above. Does this mean we will not have supply problems this summer and not have to go through another summer without water restrictions? With the ever growing population along the Front Range even good water years supplies will be strained at times. So it is still a good possibility that many areas in eastern Colorado will go through another year with at least some water restrictions.
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Online Forecasts Available Again
Skyview Weather is happy to announce that online forecasts and snow reports are again available on our sister www.anythingweather.com website. Forecasts and snow reports are password protected, but an email to Tim@Skyview-WX.com requesting your forecast and/or snow reports be available online will result in an account being setup for you. As always, forecasts and snow reports are for client use only, but with the online access, forecasts and snow reports are just a click away from any computer with an internet connection!
Drought conditions continue to improve across most of Colorado, with normal to slightly above average precipitation during January 2005. Considerable improvement occurred in southwestern Colorado.
The map below shows forecasted temperature deviances for the February 2005 time period. As can be seen, normal temperatures are expected for much of Colorado for February, with above normal temperatures forecast for east to northeast Colorado.
The map below shows forecasted precipitation deviances for February 2005. Normal or near normal precipitation is expected for much of Colorado for February 2005. Above normal precipitation is possible for the southeastern third of Colorado for February 2005.
As can be seen in the below map, drought conditions are expected to continue to improve across much of Colorado through April 2005.
Denver’s 2nd Driest and 2nd least Snowiest February
Only 0.02 inch of liquid fell into the rain gage at DIA, making February 2005 the second driest February in Denver weather history. This was 0.47 inch below the normal of 0.49”. The driest February occurred in 1970 when only 0.01 inch was recorded. The only measurable amount occurred on the 15th. There were 5 days with trace amounts. In the snowfall department, only 0.5 inch fell and that occurred between the 16th and 17th. February 2005 became the second least snowiest for Denver. The least amount of snow for February occurred twice, in 1970 and in 1992 when the total was only 0.3 inch. February marked the 5th month in a row with below normal precipitation. Total moisture for the year now is o.39 inch which is 0.61 inch below normal.
The month finished with an average temperature of 35.7 degrees which is 2.5 degrees above normal. This was not quite warm enough to make the top 10 warmest Februaries. There were no temperature records set or tied during the month.
The weather in Denver during March features frequent and rapid changes. Longer days allow for more sunshine and more sunshine makes for Spring-Like weather. However, occasional arctic air masses can still plunge southward across Colorado rapidly dropping temperatures with some readings falling to near zero degrees.
The changeable weather is due to weather elements common to both winter and spring. In addition to the arctic fronts, pacific storms still frequently move in from the west and warm moist air streams in from the Gulf of Mexico northwestward into Colorado. When any of the cold fronts collide over Colorado with the warmer air masses, the resulting weather can be wild and crazy.
A prime example of the changeable March weather in Denver occurred on March 8th, 1992. The sky was sunny over Denver during the morning hours allowing the temperature to reach 52 degrees by midday. During the afternoon, tornadoes and thunderstorms, containing hail, developed across the northeast plains including the Denver metro area. A Canadian cold front zipped across the east during the afternoon dropping temperatures sharply and creating blizzard conditions along the Front Range. The storm dumped 12.4 inches of snow at Stapleton Airport with greater amounts reported across the metro area.
Another example of variable weather during March was in 2003. On March 17th, a tornado was observed and filmed near Bennett with temperatures only in the 40s. Later in the day the second strongest winter storm in Denver history was to begin. During the period March 17-20, 31.8 inches of snow was recorded at the former Stapleton. Amounts to the west and south were considerable higher in the 30 to 50 inches range, but the areas around Rollinsville in the foothills west of Denver came in with a whopping 87.5 inches during the same period.
March is the snowiest month of the year. However, even the heaviest snow rarely stays on the ground very long due to the abundance of sunshine and rapidly moderating temperatures. March also usually records the first thunder of the season.
Sunrise/Sunset (Denver area)