Colorado: Moisture deficit continues in October

Monthly high temps slightly cooler than average

Nov. 1 snow cover across the U.S. is well below average.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — After a long, hot summer, Summit County cooled down in October, to the point that Denver Water’s Dillon-based weather watchers actually tallied an average monthly high temperature that was below the historic average — the first time the average reading has been colder than normal since February 2010.

The average maximum temperature at Dillon was 54.6 degrees, which was 0.7 degrees below the average reading for the site, based on records going back to 1909.

The average daily minimum low temperature (21.3 degrees) was 1.1 degrees above average (20.2), which means that the overall temperature was slightly above average, yet again, in a trend that has mostly persisted for the past 15 years, with only a handful of exceptions. For most of the spring and summer, temperatures at the Dillon site ran between 4 and 6 degrees above average.

At 0.5 inches, precipitation for the month was slightly less than half of average (1.06 inches, with measurable rain or snow on only six days. And despite the cool temps, the snow total for the month (3 inches) was also slightly less than have of average (7.7 inches).

Daily highs were all over the place, from 67 degrees on Oct. 3 to just 29 degrees on Oct. 26, the coolest day of the month. Readings climbed into the 60s 17 times, and into the 50s five times and topped the freezing mark on all but two days.

Nighttime lows dropped below freezing every single night, with the coldest readings on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27, when lows dropped into the single digits.

In Breckenridge, long-time weather observer Rick Bly tallied 8 inches of snow in October, just 63 percent of average (12.3 inches) — and that that’s not the best sign for the winter, based on past statistics. Snow and rain combined added up to just 0.72 inches of moisture, which is 57 percent of average.

For Bly, October is the best indicator month for the rest of the season, and 70 percent of the time, a below-average October is followed by below-average snowfall for the winter.

The average snowfall in the town of Breckenridge is 20.89 inches, with the biggest November snowfalls on record coming way back in 1898, with 59.2 inches. Based on weather history, we almost always get some snow in November, with even the driest years on record (1904-1905) delivering a couple of inches.

 

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