It’s always amazing how we can go from talking about a lack of snow to talking about the snowiest month in years, but that’s why Denver and Colorado’s weather is so interesting and exciting.
This month has delivered something we needed so desperately. Moisture. It’s been a long time coming but we have finally turned a corner in terms of snow and moisture in our area. At least for now. This January is the first time since last May to provide us with above-normal precipitation. With an ongoing drought in our area, the moisture is a welcome sight.
Drought has been persistent in Denver since last summer and while we are still in drought, the moisture that we have seen this month has brought downtown Denver from extreme drought to severe drought. Although severe drought sounds, well, severe — it is less intense than extreme drought. To get us out of severe drought, we still need to make up a lot of moisture and as we look ahead to our snowiest months of the year, that possibility is looking just a tad more likely.
January 2022 has provided Denver with 13.4 inches of snow. January tends to be one of our least snowy months of the snow season, so to come out ahead this month is really great news. The last time Denver saw more than a foot of snow in January was back in 2014 when 14.3 inches fell. Normally, only 6.5 inches of snow falls during this month.
When you melt down all the snow this month, we got 0.78 inches of liquid. More than double the normal 0.36 inches for January. Although we may not see a categorical change with our drought status with the next update, this moisture will surely make it easier to attain that change in the future as long as we continue to get normal to above-normal moisture.
With that said, we are watching for a potential storm to impact the Denver area in the first couple of days of February. This is looking to bring another round of snow similar to what we saw this week and it will also bring a huge push of cold, arctic air. Possibly the coldest of the season. We average 7.7 inches of snow in February so starting off the month with possible snow only leaves more time to get additional snow.
Looking ahead, our snowiest months of the season are still to come and although we had a dismal start to the snow season, we have plenty of time to make up for it. Thanks to this snowy January, we are within 10 inches of our “normal” snow through the end of January which, if you’ve lived here for any amount of time, you know that it is easy to make up with big spring snowstorms.
For now, enjoy the beautiful weekend that is about to unfold.
Andy Stein is a freelance meteorologist.
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