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Recent snows put Denver snowfall far ahead of last year and above average

Monday, December 26th, 2011 4:34am MDT
ThorntonWeather.com Snow Report

Recent snows have put Denver ahead of the game on snow totals while the mountains remain drier than normal.

While none of the snowstorms seen so far this year in Denver have been major ones, they have delivered the much needed snow that was missed last year.  December’s snowfall totals will finish well above average and have helped put the city’s seasonal snowfall totals above normal to date .

December’s snowfall total for the month stands at 16.5 inches (20.1 inches in Thornton).  This is nearly double the 1981 – 2010 historical average for the month of 8.5 inches.

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Leading up to Christmas, one storm slammed southeastern Colorado with blizzard conditions.  A second storm took a more northern track delivering a shot of snow to northern Colorado (see image below).  The snow cover ensured a white Christmas and NASA satellite imagery showed the Centennial State blanketed in white for the holiday.

For the season to date, the Mile High City has recorded 29.5 inches of snow (versus 34.6 inches in Thornton).  This puts us ahead of the pace of the average of 22.5 inches that we normally see through the end of December.

This stands in stark contrast to last season when Denver saw a paltry 22.8 inches of snow over the entire season and Thornton recorded 21.3 inches.  For comparison, in an average season we see 53.8 inches.

Not all is well in Colorado however with the snow.  While the plains are seeing above normal totals, the mountains are lagging.

Some ski areas like Cooper Mountain near Leadville have yet to even open for the season.  Others have had enough snow to allow skiers on their slopes but have runs that they have not yet been able to open due to the lack of snow. Get the latest ski area snow reports here.

Snowpack across the state is below average in seven of the eight major basins with only the Upper Rio Grande reporting above normal (101%).  The South Platte basin which includes the Colorado Front Range mountains stands at only 85% of normal and Western Slope basins are seeing as little as 65% of normal.

Snowfall totals from Denver's December 21 - 22, 2011 snowstorm.

Snowfall totals from Denver's December 21 - 22, 2011 snowstorm.

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