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Summit County snowfall near average through December

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January snowfall in Summit County, Colorado.

2013 ended up as 2d-wettest on record for Dillon weather station

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A quarter of the way through the 2014 water year (which started Oct. 1, 2013), snowfall and precipitation in Summit County are just about average, according to data from the two official National Weather Service observation sites.

In Breckenridge, long-time weather watcher Rick Bly measured 27.3 inches of snow in December, just a bit more than the long-term average of 22.4 inches. But the water equivalent in that snow was just 1.43 inches, slightly below the average 1.51 inches, Bly said.

Similarly, year-to-date snowfall in Breckenridge is about 12 inches above average, while total moisture for the water year is very close to average, at 4.37 inches of water (average for year-to-date is 4.28).

The local readings are in line with statewide totals reported last week, when the Natural Resources Conservation Service reported that Colorado’s statewide snowpack was at 103 percent of average as of Jan. 1. The snowpack readings are also in line with seasonal forecasts from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, where experts said there were no strong signals to suggest that Colorado’s snowfall would be either above or below average.

Looking ahead, average January snowfall in Breckenridge is exactly the same as December — 22.4 inches, but it can be a snowy month. The all-time record for the month is 80.2 inches, set back in the winter of 1899. The snowiest January in recent memory was in 1996, when Bly measured 71.8 inches of snow, the third-highest total on record.

At the Dillon observation site, December snowfall totaled 21 inches, just slightly above the long-term average of 17.5 inches. Precipitation, however was slightly below average, at 1.01 inches (average is 1.11 inches).

December’s average maximum temperature at the Dillon station was 27.4 degrees, more than four degrees below the long-term average of 32.6 degrees, but average daily low was warmer than average, at 2.9 degrees (average is 1.2 degrees.

Temps climbed into the 40s only twice — on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2, then struggled to get much above freezing the rest of the month. There were six days with single-digit highs, including Dec. 10, the coldest day of the month, with a high of only 5 degrees.

Sub-zero nighttime lows were recorded 11 times, including Dec. 5 and Dec. 6, the coldest nights of the month, with readings of 19 below zero.

The coldest reading of the year at the Dillon site was last January 14, at minus 27. The warmest day of the year was July 11, with a high of 83 degrees. The warmest temperature on record at the Dillon site was July 21, 1985, at 87 degrees. The all-time record low (dating back to the start of record-keeping in 1964) was minus 36 degrees, on Feb. 1, 1985.

2013 also ended up being the second-wettest year on record at the Dillon site, with 19.46 inches of precipitation. The average is 16.06 inches and the wettest year on record was 1982, with20.92 inches of water.

The snowiest year on record at Dillon was 1996, with 212 inches of snow. The all-time record low snowfall year was 1966, with just 67 inches of snow. Average annual snowfall at the Dillon site is about 127 inches.

 

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