Denver weather: Long standing snow records likely to fall this week

Denver has officially reached the top 5 list for both the latest first snow ever recorded and for having the longest streak of no accumulating snow.

Remember last year when Denver and much of eastern Colorado saw one of the earliest snows on record? In typical Colorado fashion, the weather is keeping us on our toes and is doing the unexpected.

It has been more than 200 days since the Mile High City has seen measurable snow. The last time Denver saw accumulating snow was on April 21. As of Monday, it’s been 208 days since flakes have flown, putting us in third place for the longest stretch without snow in the city.

Top 5 longest stretches without snow in Denver

1) 1925 – 212 days
2) 1992 – 211 days
3) 2021 – 208 days
4) 1987 – 208 days
5) 1902 – 206 days

There is a slight chance of snow Tuesday night into Wednesday morning (details below) but the chance is very low. If we don’t get snow Tuesday or Wednesday, the next chance for snow comes around Thanksgiving. If we make it to Friday with no snow, we will be in the No. 1 spot for the longest streak without having snow in Denver.

Notably, another impressive record could fall this week if we don’t get any snow. The latest date for Denver’s first snow on record is Nov. 21. Back in 1934 (the year of the Dust Bowl), Denver got one inch of snow on Nov. 21 and secured the top spot for the latest snow in the city’s history.

Currently, Denver is tied for the fifth latest first snow on record and again, if we don’t get at least 0.01-inches of snow Tuesday night or Wednesday, we will climb toward the number one spot. Quickly.

Top 5 latest first snowfall dates in Denver

1) 1934 – 11/21
2) 1931 – 11/19
3) 2006 – 11/17
4) 1894 – 11/16
5) 2010 – 11/15
5) 2021 – 11/15 (so far)

Looking past the mediocre snow chance coming Tuesday into Wednesday, we will have to likely wait until around Thanksgiving for our first snow in the Mile High City.

Forecast

A sizable cold front will swing through Colorado Tuesday bringing very strong winds and a big push of cold air with it. Winds will gust on Tuesday up to 40 mph at times. As it goes with our cold fronts, the upslope flow will follow which typically allows for moisture to develop but as it’s gone so far this snow season, a lack of moisture is expected.

Our best chance of seeing some rain and/or snow showers will come after 6 p.m. on Tuesday and linger into early Wednesday morning. We need 0.01-inches of snow to fall at the Denver airport for it to officially count as our first snow. Highs on Wednesday will be very cold compared to Monday and Tuesday. Highs will struggle to get out of the 30s. Thursday morning should be the coldest morning of the season so far for much of the metro area.

Once we get past Wednesday, temperatures begin to warm and precipitation chances dwindle with no major storms in the forecast through the weekend. So, just to reiterate, if we don’t get snow Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, it is likely that Denver will have the latest first snow on record (with records going back to the late 1800s) and will surpass its longest streak without snow.

These are not the types of records we want to fall since we are experiencing severe drought in and around Denver. We had a very wet start to the year breaking precipitation records and then we dried out in July and have not turned things around since then. Hopefully, the winter months will provide us with some sizable storms but given the way this water year has gone so far, it’s not looking fantastic.

Andy Stein is a freelance meteorologist.

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