Boulder recorded its first measurable snowfall of the season from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning while Denver has yet to receive its first snow, according to the National Weather Service.
Only 0.1 inch of snow needs to be recorded to be considered the first snow of the season. Boulder received 0.3 inches of snow earlier this week. Denver is still waiting for its first measurable snowfall and is approaching the record for the last snowfall on record.
Matt Kelsch, a local meteorologist, said the last snowfall recorded in Denver was November 21, 1934. The last snowfall in Boulder was on November 19, 1900, 78 years earlier than the records show.
“The records show November 26, 1978, but the Observer missed several snowfalls in October of that year,” Kelsch said in a press release.
Kelsch said the late snowfall this season was noteworthy, as Colorado posted an early snowfall record on September 8 last year.
Scott Entrekin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the first snowfall in Boulder normally occurs around the first week of October, while Denver experiences its first snowfall around mid-October.
Entrekin said Colorado would experience a few weak systems on Saturday, with a better chance of snow Wednesday through Thursday. Denver will break the record for the last snowfall if the city receives snow on Wednesday.
“We’re still almost a week away, but at least there’s potential,” Entrekin said.
Entrekin said La Niña could be responsible for the lack of snow Colorado has experienced and the drier season. La Niña is a climate model that occurs in the central Pacific Ocean when temperatures are colder than normal. Ocean temperatures affect atmospheric wave patterns and the jet stream moves further north, bringing humid weather to the northern part of the country and dry weather to the southern part.
“The weather pattern we got is pretty typical of what we’re seeing with La Niña where it’s just a little dry,” Entrekin said. “It’s generally even drier in southern Colorado than in the north. But generally here in the plains, including Boulder, we usually see slightly below normal snowfall during a La Niña.
La Niña patterns occur every two to three years, Entrekin said. This pattern could last until most of next winter.
Boulder will experience dry weather with a continuing warming trend on Friday, Entrekin said. A slight chance of flurries is possible on Saturday evening with colder weather on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday will again see drier and warmer weather. A strong system will come Wednesday evening and Thursday for a risk of snow.
“The best chance is next week to get any kind of snowfall here,” Entrekin said.