Not to sound too doomsday-ish here but there is a lot going on with Denver’s weather right now that is not ‘normal’ and should this be a foreshadowing of the future, you may want to take note of what’s happening because it could turn into what we expect in terms of our seasonal weather.

Denver is a city chop full of weather extremes. We live in one of the coolest climates and geographic locations there is. And not just in this region or this country. Denver’s weather is very unique and talked about globally at times. The fact that the weather here can be so extreme makes the exterior of a heavily-titled weather article seem almost common and therefore insignificant. Since our weather can be extreme in multiple ways (like tornadoes, blizzards, triple-digit heat, wind, drought), the slightest shift in what is ‘normal’ means something much different for our weather outliers that are already on the extreme side.

Denver just had its third driest Fall (September – November), second warmest Fall and is tied in first for the least snowy Fall on record. Additionally, we are on one of the longest streaks ever for consecutive days with no snow and we have gone more than a week past the top-ranking latest snow date – and were still waiting. The time between June 1st and November 30th has been Denver’s driest on record and Denver’s warmest on record. And we just ended one of our warmest November on record. This has a lot of people questioning the cause. Is it climate change? It is the location of the reporting station? It is just the way it is this year? Is it all just heightened drama from the media? You can make that decision on your own but here are the weather stats that are worth knowing right now.

Since June 1
Denver has never had been as dry as it was this year between June 1 and November 30
2021 – 1.88″
1939 – 2.46″
1934 – 2.56″
1879 – 2.76″
1917 – 2.81″

Denver has never been as warm as it was this year between June 1 and November 30
2021 – 65.5º
1933 – 65.0º
2012 – 64.7º
2016 – 64.6º
1934 – 64.3º

This Fall
Warmest Falls on record
1933 – 57.1º
2021 – 56.3º
2016 – 56.3º
1981 – 55.6º
1963 – 55.2º

Driest Falls on record
2003 – 0.39″
1879 – 0.42″
2021 – 0.43
1944 – 0.49″
1884 – 0.53″

Least snowy Falls on record
2021 – Trace
1948 – Trace
1884 – 0.3″
1899 – 0.8″
1885 – 0.8″

Longest Snowless Streaks
235 days: March 5-Oct. 25, 1887
227 days: March 27-Nov. 8, 1888
225 days: April 22-???, 2021
224 days: March 23-Nov. 2, 1889 
219 days: April 5-Nov. 9, 1886

Latest date of first snow
1) 2021 — TBD
2) 1934 — Nov. 21
3) 1931 — Nov. 19
4) 2016 — Nov. 17
5) 1894 — Nov. 16

Warmest November on Record
1949 – 50.9º
1939 – 47.2º
2021 – 46.3º
1933 – 46.2º
1914 – 46.2º

Similarly, Boulder, Ft. Collins and Dillon all ranked in the top 5 for warmest Novembers on record.

With the lack of rain and snow coupled with warm temperatures recently, it’s no wonder drought it back with a vengeance across all of Colorado. In the last 6 months, Denver has seen a 3-class degradation of drought status. We went from having no drought in August to being encompassed by severe drought conditions. Some are of the eastern Plains have suffered a 4-class degradation in the same period. FYI, there are only 5 classes of drought labeled on the USDA drought monitor map so a 3- and 4-class drop is significant. Especially in a 3-month time frame.

On a larger scale. Denver’s fall climate is warming. According to data from ClimateCentral, Denver’s average Fall temperature has warmed by 2.6-degrees since 1970 and the city sees an average of 12 more days per year with above normal temperatures. A similar trend has been noted for the Spring and Summer seasons in Denver.

When looking at the long-term forecast data, Denver is expected to get normal precipitation during the month of December which is 8″ of snow and 0.35″ of liquid precipitation. The city can expect slightly warmer than normal temperatures on average for the month.

In the next three months, which are the months of Meteorological Winter, Denver is forecast to average precipitation which means we can expect just over an inch of liquid precipitation with about 22″ of snow falling during that three-month period.

We can only hope to have average precipitation but with how this Fall has ended and with the next three months being insignificant moisture producers for the year, the possibility of us making up our current deficit is slim. Should this pattern continue through the winter and into Spring, we’ll have to prepare for water shortages (which are already limited) and an active fire season potentially. There is plenty of time to make up our deficits and as we saw last Spring, one big blizzard could come and eradicate some of these issues but climbing up from the low point in which we are right now will prove to be a difficult task.

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