Nederland Colorado Winter Update

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The 2018-2019 winter season has featured below normal temperatures and slightly above normal snowfall in the Front Range Mountains and Foothills of northeastern Colorado. The following table breaks down the snowfall and temperature observations by month this winter:

Month
Snowfall
(in)
Average Snowfall
(2010-2019)
Average
Temperature
Departure
from Normal
 
October 2018   23.711.147.3 F+1.8 F
November 201815.910.227.9 F-5.6 F
December 201810.618.923.9 F-1.7 F
January 201922.715.725.8 F-0.6 F
February 201913.828.524.5 F-1.5 F
Totals 86.784.4

With the exception of October, each month has seen below normal temperatures.  October, November, and January also saw above normal snowfall while December and February were drier than normal. Total snowfall for the season so far is 86.7 inches which is 2.2 inches above normal for the end of February.  Much of Colorado is enjoying above normal snowfall. The latest NRCS basin average snow water equivalent map shows northern Colorado at about 110% of normal while southern Colorado is between 125-130% of normal snow water equivalent:

February23SWE

 

This is good news for our drought-ridden state, particularly the southwestern portions where extreme drought has persisted for months. The latest Drought Monitor shows that although precipitation has been better this winter, drier than normal conditions are prevailing in many areas including Nederland and the surrounding Front Range Foothills communities:

DroughtMonitorFeb24

 

There is still plenty of winter left here in Nederland. Some of our largest snowstorms have occurred in the late winter and spring months. Here are our top 10 snowfalls since we moved to Nederland in July 2010:

April 15-17, 2016 43.1
February 2-3, 2012 37
May 17-19, 2017 34.8
April 16-18, 2015 27.6
March 23-24, 2016 23.5
December 21-22,2011 23.5
January 30-February 2, 2016 23.4
May 11-13, 2014 20.1
January 5-6, 2017 18.1
April 13-14, 2011 16

 

Also, we average 151.9 inches of snowfall each season here in Nederland with much of that falling in the spring months:

Month Avg High Avg Low Avg Temp Avg Precip Avg Snowfall
January 35.3 17.4 26.4 0.9 15.7
February 35.5 16.5 26.0 1.6 28.5
March 44.8 24.2 34.5 1.4 18.5
April 48.5 26.7 37.6 3.0 34.4
May 56.6 34.6 45.6 3.9 14.5

 

The 3 month outlook for March, April, and May from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a better than average chance of a wetter than normal Spring in Colorado with equal chances of above or below normal temperatures:

 

CPC_3Month_Outlook

 

 

Finally, a time series plot of snow water equivalent in the South Platte River Basin (the one Nederland is located in) for the 2019 water year shows that we have been trending slightly above normal for much of the season:

 

SouthPlatteSWE

 

Winter is far from over in the Front Range Mountains and Foothills of Colorado. El Nino springs tend to feature more upslope storms on average than La Nina or ENSO neutral years, and a wet/snowy spring is critical in reducing fire danger, particularly in June before the monsoonal rains arrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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