The Weather Wire
April 2008 Volume 16 Number 04
Avg High 53.2
Avg Low 25.9
Snow - 5.4"
Season Snow - 40.0"
Precipitation - 0.17"
Avg High 60.9
Avg Low 34.2
Avg Snow - 9.1"
Avg Precip - 1.93"
A look at this Winter Season
Snowfall amounts this winter season have been highly variable along the Front Range of Colorado from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. From the Palmer Divide northward snowfall has been around average in the southern and western suburbs of Denver extending into the foothills to the west. The official measuring site at old Stapleton airport in Denver has reported snowfall amounts well below average since the new year leaving a deficit of nearly a foot of snow. April is the 3rd snowiest month in Denver and the snow season could be salvaged if not by snow, but a couple good soaking rain storms. The likelihood of catching up in the snow department is low, but being nearly 2 inches below normal in total precipitation may be tough to make up as 2 inches is nearly 8% of our total yearly precipitation of 15.81".
There has been no shortage of active weather this winter though as the frequency of storm systems has been very high with around 40 different occasions with measurable snow somewhere along the Front Range. Since December around 9-11 snow events each month have kept snow plow companies on their toes. This high frequency of storms have deposited well above average snowfall to western and especially southwestern parts of the state, but here the high frequency has not resulted in the above normal snowfall. Many cases an inch or less has occurred with low water content. Such is the case with eastern areas of the Denver Metro area, south of the Palmer Divide into the city of Colorado Springs snowfall has been lower than normal. The airport in Colorado Springs has only reported about 30" of snow so far this season and a little over 40" is normal.
As far as temperatures go there has been no sign of global warming here as most of the winter months have been around normal to slightly below. Many lakes above 8000' are still covered with feet of snow and ice. Recently opened Antero Reservoir in near Hartsel has even suffered a winter kill of fish due to the ice and snow blocking sunlight which plants need to grow during the winter which in turn supplies oxygen to the water. Many areas will begin to thaw out from winter this month making for green grass and trees during the month of May.
Looking forward our weather pattern will likely result in near average precipitation going forward making it difficult to make up any deficit that we currently have going into April and May. The good news is that where we get most of out drinking water is from the snow melt during spring runoff in the mountains which should get underway shortly.
Little in the way of meaningful drought across Colorado as of early April through some dry areas do persist across Eastern Colorado.
The map below shows forecasted temperature deviances for April 2008. As can be seen, Colorado is expected to have normal temperatures for April 2008.
The map below shows forecasted precipitation deviances for April 2008. Normal precipitation is anticipated across the entire state.
Little change in conditions is anticipated over the next 3 months, with most of the state not expected to see drought conditions. Extreme southeastern Colorado as well as extreme northeastern Colorado is anticipated to experience drought conditions persisting and possibly intensifying.
March of 2008 was below average snowfall and precipitation for yet another month. March is typically our snowiest month, but this year only 5.4" of snow was reported at the Stapleton site, which is 6.3 inches below the average of 11.7". Precipitation for the month was a dismal 0.17" well below the average of 1.28" which made this March of 2008 the 3rd driest March in Denver history. Other parts of the Denver metro area faired better with precipitation and snowfall and was near normal in western suburbs and foothill regions. Temperatures for the month were right at the season averages with daytime highs being slightly lower and lows slightly higher. The mean for the month was right at normal with 39.6 degrees.
In April temperatures begin to warm significantly as average highs are just over 60 degrees for the month. However, winter can still pack a punch as 9.1" of snow is the average for the month making it the 3rd snowiest month for Denver. The grass begins to turn green with the help of 1.93" of precipitation on average. We begin to see the the first thunderstorm activity as there area about 2 days during the month with thunder. Temperatures can range from 90 degrees to below zero, typically the last frost occurs in May so it is still not safe to plant sensitive plants outside just yet.
Sunrise/Sunset (Jan - June Denver area)
October 2007 to March 2008