November one of the driest months in the high country
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — October snowfall in Summit County was close to average in October with 12.4 inches at Rick Bly’s official observation station in Breckenridge, compared to the historic average 12.3 inches. But between the snow and some rain during the month, the snow-water equivalent for October ended up at 1.55 inches, about 22 percent more than the average 1.27 inches, according to Bly.
For Bly, October has long been an indicator month, when above-average snowfall often — but not always — portends continued snowy weather during the rest of the winter. This year’s middle-of-the-road total might suggest average snowfall for the winter, a forecast that’s in line with official predictions, based on moderate La Niña conditions.
In Dillon, where Denver Water records precipitation and temperatures, 7 inches of snow piled up during the month, compared to the historic average of 7.7 inches, based on records going back to 1909. The weather station moved once during that period, so the stats are from two different locations. Similarly, the water content of the snow was above average, at 1.49 inches compared to the normal 1.07 inches.
The average daily high temperature recorded for the month at Dillon was well below average, at 53.4 degrees, compared to the long-term average of 55.3 degrees. That marks only the third time in the past two years that the monthly reading was below average.
The average monthly low temperature for the month (all the daily lows averaged together) was 20.9 degrees, just a touch above the average of 20.2 degrees.
October 1 was the warmest day of the month, reaching 71 degrees, which is toasty, but still far from the record reading of 77 degrees, set in 1938, which is also the all-time record high reading for October in Summit County.
The thermometer hit 70 degrees one more time on Oct. 4, but it was all downhill from there as winter approached. But despite the fact that the average high was relatively cool, there wasn’t a single day that didn’t get at least to freezing. The high temperature was 32 degrees on Oct. 27 and 28, the coldest readings of the month.
Highs climbed into the 60s and 70s nine times, into the 50s nine times and stayed in the 40s the rest of the time.
The lowest reading of the month was 5 degrees, on Oct. 28. Temperatures dropped below freezing every single night, but nowhere near the record-cold reading of minus 17 degrees, set way back in 1911.
Looking ahead, November is one of the driest months of the year, averaging only 1 inch of precipitation and 15 inches of snow at the Dillon site. The average daily high temperature is 40.9 degrees, while the average daily low reading drops off into single-digit territory, at 9.9 degrees.
In Breckenridge, the average snowfall for November is 20.9 inches (1.5 inches of precipitation). The all-time record snowfall for the month was in 1898, with 59,2 inches of snow. More recently, Bly measured 49 inches in 1979.
The driest November on record was in 1939, with just 4.7 inches of snow, while 1980 wasn’t far behind, with only 7.2 inches.
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, La Niña, Snow and weather, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, Summit County snow and weather Tagged: | Breckenridge, Dillon, October weather statistics Summit County, Summit County Colorado, Summit County snowfall, summit county weather