The Weather Wire
March 2007 Volume 15 Number 03
Avg High 40.3
Avg Low 17.8
Snow - 5.5"
Season Snow - 65.0"
Precipitation - 0.36"
Avg High 53.7
Avg Low 25.4
Avg Snow - 11.7"
Avg Precip - 1.28"
The Farmers Almanac
Over the years we have truly been surprised at the number of times our clients ask about weather forecast from the Farmers Almanac. Our last flurry of calls was in regard to a major snow storm the Almanac said would hit the Denver area the last week of February. The storm never materialized, but we did field a number of calls about the Almanac prediction. Now, I can’t even tell you the last time I looked at the Almanac, but its certainly been more than 10 years. Some people tell me though they are quite accurate on their weather predictions.
So I went to their official web site to look around. Below you will find a couple of paragraphs from their site on how they make their weather predictions.
“We derive our weather forecasts from a secret formula that was devised by the founder of this Almanac, Robert B. Thomas, in 1792. Thomas believed that weather on Earth was influenced by sunspots, which are magnetic storms on the surface of the Sun.
Over the years, we have refined and enhanced that formula with state-of-the-art technology and modern scientific calculations. We employ three scientific disciplines to make our long-range predictions: solar science, the study of sunspots and other solar activity; climatology, the study of prevailing weather patterns; and meteorology, the study of the atmosphere. We predict weather trends and events by comparing solar patterns and historical weather conditions with current solar activity.
Unlike your local news, government, or commercial weather service, our forecasts are calculated several years in advance, to allow time for publishing and distribution. Please keep in mind, that after our Almanac is printed, we don't have the option of changing or updating our forecasts, as do other sources. Given this fact, our forecasts must be somewhat generalized.”
You will notice that in the first paragraph they talked about a secret formula developed back in 1792. I’m sorry, but I think our scientific community would have come up with that one by now. Sort of like finding out that the secret recipe to Cornel Sanders Chicken is mostly salt and pepper. Yes sun spots and magnetic storms have an effect on our weather, but science does not have the expertise to translate that to a storm in Denver the last week of February.
The second paragraph sounds pretty scientific to me and almost believable, until you get to the last paragraph. No one and I mean no one has the expertise to predict a snow storm the last week of February for Denver several years in advance.
So how do they attain some level of accuracy??? I hate to say this, but if you randomly pick dates for enough storms on a calendar and pick a point on a map of the US, by pure random chance you will get some right. I could right now give you a prediction for next winter as to storms, intensity amounts of snow by each month and I guarantee, I will hit some of those storms right on the nose, just by random chance. Yes, I will miss many but I will hit enough to be believable. However, the forecasts would have no validity if given a true statistical test.
So next time you look at the weather forecast from the Farmers Almanac treat it as some good fun to look at, but not as serious science!
Little change, or perhaps improvement, in overall drought conditions across Colorado occurred in February.
The map below shows forecasted temperature deviances for March 2007. As can be seen, above normal temperatures are expected for Colorado for March 2007.
The map below shows forecasted precipitation deviances for March 2007. Normal precipitation is expected for Colorado for March 2007.
As can be seen in the below map, drought improvement is forecast for portions of Northeast Colorado through May.
After both December and January had above normal snowfall, February fell a bit short of normal. Total snowfall for February was 5.5 inches which is 0.8” below normal. Again many areas in the Metro area and along the Front Range had much more than the 5.5 inches recorded at the old Stapleton site. Seasonal total for snowfall had now hit 65.0 inches which is already 3.3 inches above the entire seasonal normal. We still have 2 of the 3 snowiest months ahead of us in March and April. The greatest 24 hour snowfall was 2.6 inches measured on the 1st and 2nd.
Temperatures continued below normal for the month of February with the average of 29.1 which finished 4.1 degrees below normal. All 28 days recorded low temperatures at or below freezing while 5 days had high temperatures below the freezing mark. Temperatures ranged from a high of 58 degrees down to a record setting -18 degrees on the 2nd which broke the old record of -16 last set in 1996.
The weather in Denver during March features frequent and rapid changes. Longer days allow for 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.
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 these cold fronts collide over Colorado with the warmer air masses, the resulting weather can be wild and crazy for areas surrounding Denver.
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 late afternoon dropping temperatures sharply and creating blizzard conditions along the Front Range. The storm dropped 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 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 Airport. 87.5 inches of snowfall was recorded in and around Rollinsville in the foothills west of Denver.
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 2003 became the snowiest March ever in Denver weather history with 35.2 inches. But on occasion very little snowfall occurs during March. Only 0.3 inch in 1883 and 0.4 inch in 1911. In 2004 just one year after the record setting March 2003, only 1.8 inches was recorded. March also usually begins the spring thunderstorm season with at least one thunderstorm before the month ends.
Sunrise/Sunset (Denver area)
October 2006 to April 2007