Spring has officially arrived here in the Colorado Front Range foothills, at least according to the calendar. However, those who have lived in Nederland, Ward, Rollinsville, or Blackhawk long enough know that some of our largest snow storms have occurred in the spring, particularly in April and even May!. From my records, we received a whopping 43 inches of snow on April 15-17, 2016 and 34.8 inches on May 17-19, 2017! What March does bring is milder days. Sure, there are still a few pretty cold days, but overall the temperatures are on the rise. For this date, the average high temperature here in Nederland is 47 F and the average low is 24 F. Over the 10 years we have lived here, the highest temperature I have observed on this date is 60 F on March 20, 2017, and the lowest temperature was 12 F on March 20, 2016. As you can see, March can still be winter-like.
Spring is a season of transition across most of the country. The atmosphere still has plenty of energy left over from winter, and this is augmented by very cold air masses across the northern United States colliding with warm and moist air streaming up from the Gulf of Mexico. Indeed, spring storms, particularly those that pass across southern Colorado, often have plenty of Gulf Moisture to work with, and this results in higher precipitation amounts. The Gulf of Mexico is now open for business, so to speak.
In the short-term, there are not any big storms in our forecast. The next weather maker will be a disturbance which will bring a mix of rain and snow showers, and possibly even a few rumbles of thunder to our area on Friday into Saturday. At the moment, it looks like the heaviest precipitation will stay to our east. Of course, the forecast models disagree on precipitation amounts with the NAM showing near to nothing and the GFS showing a band of 1+ inches of rain over the Eastern Plains of Colorado. Suffice it to say that forecasting is never easy here, and I think any snow we get here will be light.
Temperatures will be near normal through the weekend with highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s. Saturday and Sunday will be pleasant days. It is taking a while to melt off the snow we received last week, in part because of its high water content, and in part because our property is wooded and north facing. We’ve had 136 days this winter with measurable snow on the ground, and I suspect our snow pack will last at least into early next week.