The current snow season in Denver has been one for the record books already thanks to the slow start we had. We started this season with the latest first snow on record (occurring on December 10). There was virtually no snow accumulation in October or November but then we finally got some snow in December.
Fast forward through January, February and March where we picked up almost a full season’s worth of snow (47.1”). To now. It’s April and we have yet to see any snow accumulate in Denver this month. I raised the question of “have we gotten our last snow of the season in Denver?” in late March when I realized something could be up and that weirder things have happened.
Well, we’re about two weeks into April and there has been no snow in Denver since March 17. Will it snow again? Maybe. Could we have had our last snow? Very possibly. If we already got our last measurable snow of the season, then this snow season in Denver will go down as our shortest snow season in history.
Snow records across the Denver metro date back to the 1880s and to find some of our shortest snow seasons, we have to go back to the late 1800s. Here’s a look at the top 5 shortest snow seasons on record. This measures the days between the first snow and the last snow of the season.
1) 1886-1887: 113 days
2) 1924-1925: 131 days
3) 1888-1889: 134 days
4) 1964- 1965:147 days
5) 1887-1888: 154 days
With our first snow of the year happening on a record late date, our season was already shortened. If we have already ended our snow season, we’d easily be in record territory. The time between December 10 (our first snow) and March 17 (our last measurable snow…so far) is just 97 days. Well less than the record shortest season that happened during the 1886-1887 winter.
Winter seems to be on our side though. In the last 15 years, 7 of those years had the last snow sometime in April and 7 of those years had the last snow in May. There are only 6 years in history where the last snow of the season happened in March with the most recent occurrence happening in March of 1992. If we have already received our last snow, it would be the first time in 30 years that our last snow of the season happened in March.
April normally brings the Denver area 8.8” of snow. May typically brings 1.7” of snow on average but there are many years with no snow accumulating in May. Back in February, I wrote about how February’s have become the new April in terms of the amount of snow expected. Is that trend continuing but on an extreme note? Time will tell.
Even with the short season, Denver has managed to pick up close to four feet of snow. 47.1” of snow has accumulated so far this season which is 9.8” below our seasonal average. Not a bad showing considering the time we’ve had to work with.
The weather pattern has become a bit more active across the Western US so all it will take is a well-placed storm for us to get some measurable snow. The forecast holds just a couple of chances of snow in Denver before the end of April. One around Easter. Another around the 25th of the month. Both of those show the possibility of snow but neither of them are showing a guarantee.
I think it’s safe to say that Denver’s climate is in a constant state of change. Some of the extremes we’ve been faced with lately (latest snow on record, extreme winter wildfires, record drought, record wetness, etc.) are solely a factor of human-induced climate change. Some are just part of the weather cycle. Regardless, the weather and climate around us needs to be monitored closely because the repercussions these extremes have on humans will only continue to increase.