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Colorado Weather Observer Measures Nearly 500 Inches Of Snow

Snow Season Runs From July 1, 2013 Through June 30, 2014
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Deep snow on Loveland Pass in March (credit: Chris Spears)

Deep snow on Loveland Pass in March (credit: Chris Spears)

Chris Spears By Chris Spears
CBS4 Meteorologist
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DENVER (CBS4) – It’s not something many people can brag about, measuring nearly 500 inches of snow.

For one weather observer just north of Crested Butte, measuring snow is a part of life, and during some years, it’s a daily chore.

Here’s a list of snow for the 2013-2014 season at this particular weather station…

September – 7 inches

October – 35 inches

November – 52 inches

December – 47.5 inches

January – 61.5 inches

February – 101 inches

March – 71 inches

April – 47.5 inches

May (through the 15th) – 35 inches

As if that isn’t enough to comprehend, check out these facts…

  • this station has had a foot or more of snow on the ground every day since November 17, 2013
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  • as of May 15, 2014, there was still 29.5 inches on the ground
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  • there was at least 3 feet of snow on the ground between January 30th and May 12, 2014
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  • there was at least 4 feet of snow on the ground between January 31st and April 21, 2014
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  • there was at least 5 feet of snow on the ground between February 7th and April 18, 2014
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  • peak snow depth was 86 inches on March 28, 2014
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    CoCoRaHS NETWORK

    We can get a good idea of how much snow has fallen around Colorado thanks to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS.

    Their network of weather observers includes over 1,000 people who report daily precipitation. The following is a list of totals from CoCoRaHS.

    TOP 10 TOTALS IN COLORADO

    6.2 miles N of Crested Butte (Gunnison County) – 457.5 inches

    16.3 miles WSW of Walden (Jackson County) – 324.6 inches

    2.1 miles WSW of Silverthorne (Summit County) – 298.2 inches

    1.9 miles E of Steamboat Springs (Routt County) – 258.5 inches

    3.3 miles SE of Breckenridge (Summit County) – 258.2 inches

    10.9 miles NW of Kremmling (Grand County) – 256.0 inches

    7.8 miles ESE of Glenwood Springs (Garfield County) – 217.1 inches

    1 mile SE of Steamboat Springs (Routt County) – 213.4 inches

    0.9 miles NNE of Breckenridge (Summit County) – 208.8 inches

    1.7 miles WNW of Oak Creek (Routt County) – 205.2 inches

    It should come as no surprise that the stations with the highest snow totals in Colorado are all along, and west, of the Continental Divide.

    This is where the prevailing westerly wind patterns produce some of the wettest conditions in our state, thanks to “upslope” winds that create pockets of heavy, consistent moisture.

    HEAVY SNOW DOES FALL EAST OF THE DIVIDE

    Heavy snow can, and does, fall in locations east of the Continental Divide, but it’s typically less than locations on the west side.

    This is because much of the moisture is “squeezed” out by the mountains on the west side, kind of like water being squeezed out of a sponge.

    From time to time, we do see weather patterns that create “upslope” winds for locations on the east side of the divide, and during these set-ups, some places can measure snow in feet.

    TOP 10 TOTALS EAST OF THE DIVIDE

    4.6 miles NE of Ward (Boulder County) – 175.6 inches

    4.7 miles SSE of Idaho Springs (Clear Creek County) – 173.6 inches

    12.5 miles NW of Golden (Jefferson County) – 163.7 inches

    6.5 miles WSW of Evergreen (Clear Creek County) – 136.0 inches

    2.6 miles NNE of Nederland (Boulder County) – 133.3 inches

    2.5 miles SSE of Kittredge (Jefferson County) – 132.5 inches

    2.3 miles ESE of Rollinsville (Gilpin County) – 131.9 inches

    0.4 miles WNW of Nederland (Boulder County) – 130.0 inches

    5.9 miles NE of Red Feather (Larimer County) – 129.8 inches

    4.2 miles ENE of Conifer (Jefferson County) – 129.6 inches

    SNOW IN DENVER

    Officially, in the city of Denver, there has been 38.4 inches of snow this season. The official reading is taken at Denver International Airport.

    The average seasonal snowfall is 57.5 inches.

    But the Denver metro area has a high variability of snow, largely due to elevation, which varies by several hundred feet over a relatively short distance.

    Downtown Denver can be compared to a bowl, with the terrain rising in elevation in just about every direction, except when traveling northeast, along the South Platte River Valley.

    TOP METRO AREA TOTALS

    2.1 miles SW of Golden (Jefferson County) – 123.7 inches

    2.2 miles NNE of Castle Pines (Douglas County) – 94.3 inches

    1.6 miles S of Boulder (Boulder County) – 88.0 inches

    2.7 miles SSE of Highlands Ranch (Douglas County) – 84.9 inches

    1.7 miles SW of Lakewood (Jefferson County) – 68.7 inches

    1.7 miles WSW of Broomfield (Broomfield County) – 67.5 inches

    2.8 miles WSW of Wheat Ridge (Jefferson County) – 67.0 inches

    2.3 miles WNW of Lafayette (Boulder County) – 63.7 inches

    2.0 miles SW of Centennial (Arapahoe County) – 72.5 inches

    7.3 miles SE of Aurora (Arapahoe County) – 70.9 inches

    2.1 miles WNW of Parker (Douglas County) – 69.4 inches

    2.0 miles ENE of Littleton (Arapahoe County) – 63.8 inches

    0.6 miles WSW of Ken Caryl (Jefferson County) – 59.0 inches

    1.9 miles N of Cherry Creek Reservoir (Denver County) – 58.1 inches

    2.6 miles W of Arvada (Jefferson County) – 56.0 inches

    6.3 miles SSE of Denver (Arapahoe County) – 55.5 inches

    0.4 miles WSW of Northglenn (Adams County) – 60.3 inches

    2.1 miles N of Thornton (Adams County) – 49.6 inches

    4.5 miles NW of Aurora (Adams County) – 47.9 inches

    1.6 miles ESE of Westminster (Adams County) – 47.1 inches

    2.1 miles N of Cherry Hills Village (Denver County) – 41.2 inches

    7.7 miles ENE of Brighton (Adams County) – 36.7 inches

    Denver Botanic Gardens (Denver County) – 28.1 inches

    BECOME AN OBSERVER

    If tracking rain and snow interests you, the CoCoRaHS organization would love your help.

    You can learn more by clicking here or contacting me for additional information.

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