Temperatures much cooler than average at the observation site in Dillon
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The 2014 water year started with above-average snowfall in Summit County — a good sign for the winter according to Breckenridge-based weather-watcher Rick Bly, who measured 20.5 inches of snow during October. The average snowfall for the month is 12.3 inches.
According to Bly’s historical records, dating back to the late 1800s, above-average December snowfall is followed by an above average winter 70 percent of the time.
That snow melted down to 1.33 inches of water, just slightly above the average 1.27 inches of precipitation in October, which is the driest month of the year in Summit County.
Looking ahead, Bly said average snowfall in November is 20.9 inches, melting down to 1.5 inches of water, but in some years, November can bring big snowfall totals. The record is 59.2 inches way back in 1898. More recently, November 1979 saw 49 inches of the white stuff pile up in town, the third-highest total on the books.
On the dry side, the low for the month is two inches, measured in 1904 and 1905, and in 1980, a notoriously dry winter, Bly measured just 7.2 inches of snow during the month.
On the other side of the county, weather observers in Dillon also reported a snow surplus for the month, with 15,5 inches, about double to the historic average of 7.7 inches for the month. But like in Breckenridge, that snow was on the dry side, because it melted down to 1.10 inches of water, just barely above the average 1.7 inches.
October was also significantly cooler than average at the Dillon site. The average daily maximum temperature was 50.6 degrees, almost 5 degrees below the average 55.3 degrees. The average daily low temperature was 19.7 degrees, exactly .5 degrees below average.
Despite those cool readings, the mercury did manage to climb all the way to 70 degrees early in the month (Oct. 2), and reached the 60s five times during the first half of the month. The first big cold snap came Nov. 5 when the high temperature only reached 31 degrees, a drop of 31 degrees from the previous day’s high. That was the only day of the month when the daily high didn’t crack the freezing mark.
Low temperatures dropped below freezing every single night, with the coolest reading coming in at 11 degrees on Oct. 19.
In November, the average high in Dillon drops a full 15 degrees from October, down to 40.9 degrees and overnight lows drop into the single-digits, averaging just 9.9 degrees.
Average snowfall for the month is 15.1 inches, equal to just 1 inch of water, making it the driest month at the Dillon weather station.