A Statistical Preview of Denver's March Weather

       ...A STATISTICAL PREVIEW OF DENVER’S MARCH WEATHER...
 
MARCH IN DENVER IS TYPICALLY A TRANSITION MONTH WHERE THE DRY WINTER SEASON ENDS AND THE MOIST SEASON BEGINS. THE PHRASE, "IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE WEATHER, JUST WAIT 5 MINUTES", CAN OFTEN BE USED IN DENVER DURING THE SPRING MONTHS WITH MARCH INCLUDED. MARCH OFTEN PROVIDES A WIDE VARIATION OF WEATHER AND TEMPERATURE RANGES. OUTDOOR ENTHUSIST CAN ENJOY DEEP POWDER AT HIGHER ELEVATIONS WEST OF THE URBAN COORIDOR AND RETURN BACK TO SPRINGLIKE TEMPERATURES IN THE 70S.
 
AN EXAMPLE OF VARIABLE AND FAST CHANGING WEATHER IN THE DENVER AREA IS WHEN CANADIAN COLD FRONTS OCCASIONALLY CLASH WITH RELATIVELY WARM AND MOIST GULF MOISTURE TO PRODUCE SEVERE WEATHER AHEAD OF SIGNIFICANT SNOW STORMS. THE MONTHLY NORMAL SNOWFALL CAN BE FREQUENTLY REACHED IN A SINGLE STORM SYSTEM LASTING 1 TO 3 DAYS. IN ADDITION, WHETHER THE PRECIPITATION IS RAIN OR SNOW, MARCH'S NORMAL PRECIPITATION NEARLY TRIPLES THAT OF FEBRUARY'S NORMALS.
 
DENVER'S MONTHLY MEAN TEMPERATURE FOR MARCH IS 40.4 DEGREES (1981-2010 AVERAGES) AND IS DENVER'S 5TH COLDEST MONTH OF THE YEAR BEHIND DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY AND NOVEMBER RESPECTIVELY. MARCH STARTS THE MONTH WITH A NORMAL HIGH OF 50 DEGREES AND ENDS WITH A NORMAL HIGH OF 58 DEGREES. FOR LOW TEMPERATURES, THE MONTH BEGINS WITH A NORMAL OF 22 DEGREES AND FINISHES WITH A NORMAL OF 30.
 
THE WARMEST TEMPERATURE EVER RECORDED DURING THE MONTH OF MARCH, SINCE RECORDS BEGAN IN 1872, WAS 84 DEGREES ON THE 26TH DAY OF 1971. MARCH'S COLDEST TEMPERATURE EVER RECORDED IN DENVER WAS -11 DEGREES AND OCCURED ON THE 28TH DAY OF 1886.
 
MARCH: DENVER'S TOP 5 COLDEST (MEAN TEMPERATURES):
 
26.4 DEGREES 1912
28.0         1924
29.0         1965
29.8         1906
32.2         1891 AND 1969
 
MARCH: DENVER'S TOP 5 WARMEST (MEAN TEMPERATURES):
 
50.4 DEGREES 1910
49.2         2012
47.2         1907
47.1         1986
47.0         1918
 
FOR DENVER'S NINE MONTH SNOW PERIOD OF SEPTEMBER THROUGH MAY, MARCH RANKS AS THE SNOWIEST MONTH AND TYPICALLY ACCOUNTS FOR 20 PERCENT OF THE ANNUAL SNOWFALL. DENVER NORMALLY COLLECTS 10.7 INCHES OF SNOW IN MARCH BASED ON AVERAGES FROM OLD STAPLETON INTL AIRPORT (1981-2010 AVERAGES), HOWEVER MARCH IS KNOWN FOR THE BIGGEST SNOWFALL EVENTS TO HIT THE REGION. IN RECENT HISTORY FOR EXAMPLE, MARCH 1992 AND 2003 COME TO MIND FOR MOST. MARCH 1992 BROUGHT TORNADO WARNINGS OVER THE NORTHEASTERN COLORADO PLAINS AS A FAST PACED COLD FRONT ROLLED ACROSS THE PLAINS. THIS AIRMASS COLLISION WAS FOLLOWED BY A WINTER STORM WARNING ALONG THE ENTIRE FRONT RANGE DURING THE EVENING AND INTO THE NEXT DAY AS THE STORM DEVELOPED OVER THE STATE AND MOVED EAST. IN 2003, THE 2ND BIGGEST SNOWFALL IN DENVER WEATHER HISTORY OCCURRED AS A MASSIVE TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE TAPPED INTO GULF MOISTURE. THE AREA OF PRECIPITATION ASSOCIATED WITH THE MULTI DAY SNOW STORM EXTENDED IN A 150-300 MILE WIDE BAND FROM THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE WEST OF DENVER, SOUTHEASTWARD 1200 MILES INTO LOUISIANA.
 
MARCH: DENVER'S SNOWIEST
 
35.2 INCHES 2003
32.5        1944
31.3        1891
30.5        1983
29.2        1961
 
ON THE FLIPSIDE OF BIG AND EVENFUL SNOWSTORMS COUPLED WITH THE ONSET OF THE UNSTABLE CONVECTIVE SEASON, THE END OF THE WINTER CAN OCCASIONALLY EXPERIENCE EXTENDED DROUGHT-LIKE CONDITIONS OVER THE HIGH PLAINS REGION. THESE DRY PERIODS ARE OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH LA NINA PHASES OF THE PACIFIC OCEANIC REGION. THE DRIEST MARCHS USUALLY END THE MONTH WITH ABOVE NORMAL MONTHLY TEMPERATURES MAINLY DUE TO WINDY, CLOUD FREE, DOWNSLOPE WINDY DAYS COMBINED WITH WARMER NIGHT-TIME LOW TEMPERATURES FROM LACK OF LONG LASTING SNOW COVER. THIS WAS THE CASE IN 2012 WHERE DENVER HAD RECORD LOW PRECIPITATION, RECORD LOW SNOWFALL AND A THE SECONDS HIGHEST MONTHLY TEMPERATURE IN 141 YEARS.
 
MARCH: DENVER'S LEAST SNOWIEST
 
 T INCHES 2012
 0.3        1883
 0.5        1911
 1.5        1885
 1.1        1887
 
                    ...THE OUTLOOK FOR MARCH 2013...
 
AFTER LAST YEARS MARCH WHICH WAS THE 2ND WARMEST AND LEAST SNOWIEST IN DENVER'S 142 YEAR WEATHER HISTORY...HOPES ARE HIGH FOR SOMETHING CLOSER TO A NORMAL MONTH WHICH IS HISTOICALLY THE SNOWIEST MONTH FOR DENVER. FOR MARCH 2013...A NORMAL PROGRESSION OF THE RIDGE-TROUGH PATTERN CAN BE EXPECTED OVER THE FIRST 10 DAYS OF THE MONTH. FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE MONTH...THE MID TO LONG RANGE INDICATIONS POINT TO A BIAS OF NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES ALONG WITH A BIAS TOWARD BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION.
 
 
                       ...MARCH STATISTICS...
 
...TEMPERATURES (1981-2010 NORMALS)...
 
AVERAGE HIGH........................... 54.4
AVERAGE LOW............................ 26.4
MONTHLY MEAN........................... 40.4
DAYS WITH HIGH 90 OR ABOVE.............   0
DAYS WITH HIGH 32 OR BELOW.............   2 (1.9)
DAYS WITH LOW 32 OR BELOW.............. 24 (23.6)
DAYS WITH LOWS ZERO OR BELOW...........   0 (0.1)
 
...PRECIPITATION...
 
MONTHLY MEAN...........................   0.92 INCH
DAYS WITH MEASURABLE PRECIPITATION.....   6 (5.9)
AVERAGE SNOWFALL........................ 10.7 INCHES (SNOWIEST
                                                       MONTH)
 
...MISCELLANEOUS MARCH AVERAGES...
 
HEATING DEGREE DAYS.................... 763
COOLING DEGREE DAYS....................    0
WIND SPEED (MPH).......................    9.7*
WIND DIRECTION......................... SOUTH*
DAYS WITH THUNDERSTORMS................    0* (0.3)
DAYS WITH DENSE FOG....................    1* (1.1)
PERCENT OF SUNSHINE....................   69*
(NOTE: SUNSHINE DATA ARE NO LONGER REPORTED AS OF OCTOBER 1, 2009)
 
* = 1971-2002 NORMALS
 
...MARCH EXTREMES...
 
RECORD HIGH............................ 84 DEGREES ON 3/26/1971
RECORD LOW............................. -11 DEGREES ON 3/28/1886
WARMEST................................ 50.4 DEGREES IN 1910
MAXIMUM/MINIMUM COOLING DEGREES DAYS... NONE EVER RECORDED
COLDEST................................ 26.4 DEGREES IN 1912
MAXIMUM HEATING DEGREE DAYS............ 1198 IN 1912
MINIMUM HEATING DEGREE DAYS............   452 IN 1910
WETTEST................................   4.56 INCHES IN 1983
DRIEST.................................   0.11 INCHES IN 1908
 
FREDIN


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