The Weather Wire
October 2006 Volume 14 Number 10
Avg High 73.2
Avg Low 44.6
Snow - 0.0"
Season Snow - 0.0"
Precipitation - 0.84"
Avg High 66.0
Avg Low 35.9
Avg Snow - 4.1"
Avg Precip - 0.99"
What does the Winter Look Like?
Well the questions already have been coming in as to what kind of winter do we expect. First let me say that analyzing long range models is a little like reading tea leaves or in this case snow flakes. These models suggest trends in the weather patterns and then it is up to the interpreter to fill in between the lines.
Just a quick review of last season. The snow season of 2005-2006 turned out to be a good one for the Colorado high country as many areas were 150 to 200 percent above normal. However, for the Front Range it turned out to be well below normal for snow, coming in almost 50% below normal for the season. We did have a couple of good cold snaps, but overall the winter season came in above normal for temperatures. So overall it turned out to be a mild and dry winter season.
So where does that leave us for this year. The long range trend for the next 30-60 days for eastern Colorado actually looks pretty active. Temperatures are expected to be about normal for October, then turning to near normal to below normal for November and December. Precipitation wise, we can expected above normal snow for the next 2-3 months. During this period we would expect 2-3 moderate to heavy snows with 6-7 lighter snow events from now through December.
For the second half of the winter season the longer range models indicate a return to above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for the months January through March. We would expect 1-2 moderate to heavy storms during this period with 4-5 lighter snow events during this period.
As a whole the winter season of 2006-2007 is expected to be near normal to slightly below normal for snow with temperatures to be above normal. I know not the best forecast for some, but as I said above the next couple of months should be fairly active. We could see our first snow by the end of the second week of October. By the 12th or 13th of the month much colder air will move in with possibly the seasons first snow.
Improvement in overall drought conditions across Colorado occurred in September.
The map below shows forecasted temperature deviances for October 2006. As can be seen, normal temperatures are expected for Colorado for October 2006.
The map below shows forecasted precipitation deviances for October 2006. Above normal precipitation is expected for all of Colorado for October 2006.
As can be seen in the below map, drought improvement is forecast for all of Colorado through December.
September 2006 became Denver’s 7th coldest September on record with an average temperature of 58.9 degrees. This was 3.5 degrees below the normal of 62.4 degrees. The temperatures ranged from a high of 86 degrees down to a low of 32 degrees. On the 18th the first and only freeze of the month occurred. There were no temperature records set or tied during the month. The hottest ever September occurred in 1948 with an average temperature of 68.3 degrees.
Precipitation was once again below normal. This marks the 11th month in a row with below normal moisture. So for the year through September only 6.06 inches of precipitation has been recorded which is 7.15 inches below the normal of 13.21 inches. Again as we must continue to remind everyone, the official rainfall site is DIA, most areas along the Front Range have received much more rainfall then DIA. More than half of the months’ rainfall was recorded on the 10th with 0.47 inch. Eight days had measurable rainfall with 3 days measuring more than a tenth of an inch. No snow fell for September 2006 making it the 6th September in a row without snow.
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 2006 to September 2006