The Weather Wire
October 2005 Volume 13 Number 10
Avg High 83.2
Avg Low 51.1
Snow - 0.0"
Season Snow - 0.0"
Precipitation - 0.07"
Avg High 66.0
Avg Low 35.9
Avg Snow - 4.1"
Avg Precip - 0.99"
Well here we are on the verge of another winter season and everyone has been asking about the season ahead wanting to know what kind of a snow season we can expect. It is always difficult to accurately predict long term climate patterns, but we will make our best attempt! Before we delve into the 2005/2006 season lets just quickly review last season.
Normal snowfall for the Denver area is 61.7 inches of snow. Last year the official snowfall report at the old Stapleton Airport was 39.3 inches or 22.4 inches below normal for the season. As we have said numerous times in many articles, Stapleton is a poor representative for snow especially since the majority of snows that fall east of the Mountains along the Front Range are caused by upslope winds. These upslope winds favor many areas in the metro area, but not Stapleton. Here are some other snowfall reports from last year. Golden 81”, Castle Rock 76”, Aurora 44”, Cherry Creek Dam 61”, Wheatridge 57”, Evergreen 83”, Monument 109” and Roxborough Park 110”. So you can see just to the west much more snow fell and also to the south from Centennial south to the Palmer Divide. We can expect this bias of lighter snow fall at Stapleton to continue, so try to ignore the media when they keep saying we are so below normal as they did last year. Each season we provide all our clients with monthly snow reports with numerous reporting stations all along the Front Range. If it is a dry year or a wet year it will be based on many stations not just the one at Stapleton.
So what does the upcoming season look like??? Over the past decade it has become obvious that Pacific Ocean surface temperatures have a big effect on the type and intensity of winters in the Rockies. Most people are now familiar with El Nino and La Nina. Warm ocean currents or lack of, in the Pacific Ocean. This year neither El Nino or La Nina are dominate. Sea surface temperatures are about normal and expected to stay that way. This pattern is expected to continue right into next year. So what does this mean for Colorado? With this ocean pattern much of the west, especially the Southwest is expected to see above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. Here in Colorado we are on the edge of this warm and dry area, so we would expect temperatures for the season to be about normal to slightly above, with snowfall about average to slightly below.
Now in the scheme of things we would expect our winter to see 12-15 small snow events in the 1-3” category, 4-7 medium snow events of the 3-6” category and 2-4 heavy snow events of 6 inches or more. For a total of 19-29 snow events for the season which is slightly below normal. We can also expect 2-3 periods of mild and dry weather lasting 1 to 2 weeks at a time. Please note that snow events may represent multiple days, so please don't confuse days with snow with snow events, as more days will have snow than the number of events suggest. These projections are for the West Metro Denver area, areas in and near the foothills can expect slightly higher amounts, as is typical each season, and areas to the east may see slightly less.
So there is Skyview Weathers estimate of the upcoming winter season. At the end of the season we will review and see how well we did for the winter.
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!
Little change in drought conditions across most of Colorado, with few areas of drought remaining..
The map below shows forecasted temperature deviances for October 2005. As can be seen, above normal temperatures are expected for Colorado for October 2005.
The map below shows forecasted precipitation deviances for October 2005. Normal or near normal precipitation is expected for Colorado for October 2005.
As can be seen in the below map, most of the state has come out of the widespread drought conditions of a year ago, with drought not expected to redevelopment in the near term..
Another warm and dry month was recorded for Denver as September came in as the 6th driest and the 6th warmest on record. The average temperature for the month was 67.2 degrees which is 4.8 degrees above average, tying it with September 1994 as the 6th warmest. Temperatures ranged from a high of 94 degrees down to a chilly 39 degrees. Only one temperature record was set and that occurred on the 10th, a new record high minimum of 66 degrees, breaking the old record of 65 degrees set in 1932. There were 9- 90 degree days in September which is 7 above normal. For the year so far, there have been 55- 90 degree days putting it at 4th place in the number of 90 degree days. The most ever is 61- 90 degree days set in the year 2000.
There were only 4 days with measurable precipitation and all 4 were on the light side. The maximum 24 hour precipitation was only 0.05 inch occurring between the 27th and the 28th. The 0.07 inch total rainfall put September 2005 in a tie with 1978 and 1928 for 6th place of all time driest. The September measurement finished 1.07 inch below normal. Measurable rainfall also occurred on the 9th and the 15th with only 0.01 inch each. This marked the 3rd month in a row with below normal precipitation. The yearly rainfall so far this year is 9.81 inches which is 3.40 inches below normal. Last year at this time the total moisture measured 13.32 inches.
October is normally one of the quietest weather months in Denver with an abundance of mild sunny days and clear cool nights. It has the second highest amount of sunshine with 72 percent. The month with the highest percentage is September with 74 percent. Coincidently the month after October, November is one of the lowest sunshine months with only 64 percent. In most years, October brings the first taste of winter with the average date of the first freeze on the 7th and the average first snow on the 15th.
There is a great temperature extreme difference for October. The record high for October is 90 degrees set October 1st 1892, while the coldest October temperature is 2 degrees below zero set on October 29th 1917. On October 2 1969 the Denver afternoon high was 85 degrees. On the 3rd and the 4th 15 inches of snow fell across the metro area. In 1991 a record high or 89 degrees was set on the 16th, followed by record lows of 7 degrees on the 30th and 10 degrees on the 31st.
One of Denver’s most famous snowstorms was the “Bronco Blizzard” which occurred on October 15th 1984. This storm was witnessed by a nationwide television audience on Monday night football. By the time the game ended the entire field was covered by 3-4 inches of snow. By the time the storm ended over a foot of snow had fallen over most of the metro area. October of 1997 turned out to be a snow record setter. The blizzard of October 24-25th produced 19.1 inches of snow in a 24 hour period setting a new October record. Before the storm ended, 21.9 inches of snow had fallen on the old Stapleton Airport during the 2 day period. The month finished with 22.1 inches making it the 3rd snowiest in Denver history.
So while October can have some of the finest weather it can also have some of the worst.
Sunrise/Sunset (Denver area)
May - September 2005