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Denver’s March was warmer, drier than average

Sunday, April 4th, 2010 4:28pm MDT
Denver's March 2010 snowstorm

Despite the snowstorm that struck on March 23rd and 24th and the rain that fell beforehand, the National Weather Service says Denver's March precipitation was below normal.

According to the Denver / Boulder office of the National Weather Service, Denver’s March weather was warmer and drier than normal. The latest climate summary from the service would seem to contradict what Denver residents actually experienced, at least in terms of precipitation.

The report starts with a seemingly contradictory statement saying, “Denver’s March 2010 finished with below normal liquid moisture in spite of finishing above normal in the snowfall category.”

According to the report, Denver recorded 0.80 inch of precipitation, well below the normal of 1.28 inches. Most of that occurred in conjunction with the snowstorm on the 23rd of the month when the official measuring station at Denver International Airport (DIA) reported 0.61 inch of precipitation.  By contrast, ThorntonWeather.com recorded 1.42 inches of precipitation from that storm alone and 1.90 inches for the month. 

March is Denver’s snowiest month recording on average 11.7 inches of snow. This year the month yielded 12.8 inches, most of which fell during the snowstorm that struck from the 23rd to the 24th. The service noted that this was the third month this snow season with above normal snowfall.  We recorded more snow here in Thornton with 15.3 inches. 

Overall for the season, Denver has recorded 58.8 inches of snow which is 7.5 inches above the average snowfall up to this point. Denver’s snow season runs from July through June and we average 61.7 inches over that period so for 2010 we are quickly approaching a ‘normal’ year.

The average temperature as recorded at DIA was 41.0 degrees which was 1.4 degrees above the normal of 39.6 degrees. Temperatures for the month ranged from a high of 82 degrees on the 30th down to a low of 13 degrees on the 20th. The 82 degree high temperature on the 30th broke the record for that date of 81 degrees set way back in 1879.

Controversy once again surrounds measurements in latest report

Questions have been raised numerous times about how the move of Denver’s official monitoring station to DIA has skewed the climate records for the city. Evidence shows that the 14 mile move has forever altered Denver’s records.

The March 2010 climate summary once again highlights the problem. Comparison of temperature records for DIA versus areas closer to historical monitoring locations continue to show discrepancies. Standing out even more are precipitation records that are curious at best, ridiculous at worst given the wet snowstorm that struck on the 23rd and 24th.

The Denver Weather Examiner is in the process of updating our previous investigation and will have an updated report soon. In the meantime, you may wish to look at the results of the investigation we conducted last year.

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