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Denver suffering through worst snow season in more than 125 years

Friday, April 1st, 2011 4:57pm MDT
Denver is having a pitiful snow season - the third worst in the city's history. (Denver Weather Examiner)

Denver is having a pitiful snow season - the third worst in the city's history. (Denver Weather Examiner)

March 31 was the last day of what is historically Denver’s snowiest month but like every other month this season, it fell dismally short in terms of the amount of snowfall.  In fact, as it stands now, the Mile High City and Thornton area experiencing their third worst season of snow since record keeping began.

In a normal snow season, through the end of March, Denver historically averages 51.3 inches of snow – a healthy total needed for water supplies, irrigation and to help keep the wildfire danger down.

For the 2010 to 2011 season we are far behind that mark.  As of yesterday Denver has recorded a paltry 20.6 inches of snow this season at DIA; a total more than 30 inches below normal.  Only two other seasons have seen lower snow totals at this point in the season since record keeping began in 1882 – and those were more than 125 years ago.

For the season Thornton has fared worse than the official Denver totals as we have recorded a mere 19.7 inches (click here for the latest totals).  Stapleton has recorded 22.8 and Denver City Park has fared the best with 26.8.

Only one month in this snow season has Denver seen at or above normal snowfall.  That occurred in January when we recorded 8.0 inches of snow versus the average for the month of 7.7 inches.

By comparison, the Mile High City’s two snowiest months – March and November respectively – saw very little snowfall.  In March a mere 2.5 inches fell in contrast to 11.7 inches on average.  November 2010 saw only 1.5 inches of snow versus the November average of 10.7 inches.

The long range climate forecasts from the National Weather Service predict continued drier and warmer than normal weather for the month.  April is however historically our third snowiest month so there may be hope, especially given the history of the two seasons on record that were worse than this one.

During the 1883 to 1884 season, April brought 18 inches of snow and the 1884 to 1885 season saw an astounding 32 inches of snowfall in the month.  While both snow seasons finished below average, they made up a lot of ground in 30 days.

We can only hope that this season follows suit or we will be in for a very dry – and dangerous – summer.

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