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Winter beginning in Colorado with recent snowfall?

We’ve set our clocks back, that’s one way I can always tell winter must be near. While technically the first day of the season this year is December 21, 2010, it seems fairly safe to say that “winter” as I know it is here.

Like any Colorado season, the transition is brief. You’re given about 3-5 days to realize the fluctuating temperatures are a sign. And just like that, what seemed like an odd day with a few extra clouds turns into a week of 40-degree temperatures, wind, and daily dustings of snow. These two photos of Commons Park in Denver are a mere five days separated.

If the temperature has dropped in Denver, you can safely assume the same is happening around the state. Yes, there are various microclimates throughout the state. Yes, it can be sunny in Summit County while drizzling in Denver. But, we’ve got the facts and I want to believe these are good signs:

  • we’ve already seen two days of precipitation resulting in snow in downtown Denver
  • snow continues to fall through the week
  • highs in Summit County (Dillon, CO) are expected to be only slightly higher than freezing
  • humidity is expected to drop which typically means better snow-making conditions
  • La Nina puts cooler Pacific water in our favor for more snow

While I’m certainly no meteorologist, I’m a hopefulist. Here’s hoping that everything in the last week or so points to a strong, cold, snowy start to winter.