Are we headed toward the latest first snow?

Weather

Snow covers the windshields of delivery vans parked outside a dairy after an autumn snowstorm swept over the intermountain West, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

We’ve had a few flakes and a light dusting across northern El Paso County this fall, but we have yet to record snow at the Colorado Springs airport, the official climate reporting station for the city.

The date of average first measurable snow in Colorado Springs is October 26th and we’re well past that as we head toward mid-November this weekend. With no snow in the forecast locally either I figured we should take a peek at when the latest first snow is for the Springs and Pueblo.

Mark Wankowski, a meteorologist at the local National Weather Service office in Pueblo, did a little bit of digging this morning and found that the latest first measurable snow in Colorado Springs occurred just five years ago, on December 2, 2016 when .2″ of snow fell.

Latest First Snows In Colorado Springs

  • December 2, 2016 – .2″
  • November 28, 2010 – .2″
  • November 27, 2008 – .6″
  • November 27, 1915 – 4.0″
  • November 25, 1944 – 1.0″
  • November 22, 2003 – .7″

The airport has been the official climate reporting station for the Springs since 1948. Before that the official station moved around a few times and some of the data doesn’t exist.

” One of the early locations was near Colorado College,” said Wankowski, “Snowfall data from the early 1900s through the 1930s was not well documented and was missing at times.”

Latest First Snows in Pueblo

  • December 24, 1939 – .3″
  • December 17, 1944 – .3″
  • December 13, 1902 – 2.5″
  • December 13, 1899 – 12.0″
  • December 11, 1901 – .1″
  • December 10, 1963 – 1.4″

The official station for Pueblo has also moved around, with data existing since 1888. Data is better preserved for Pueblo, which is why you see more dates from around 1900 compared to Colorado Springs. Pueblo Memorial Airport has been the official climate reporting station for Pueblo since 1954.

So, when will it snow?

Ah yes, the $1,000,000 question! The answer is beyond the seven day forecast as of Tuesday morning. Our long range computer models do show a wave moving through on Wednesday of next week.

Use the slider to compare the jet stream position forecast for next Wednesday afternoon (11/17) between the American forecast model and the European forecast model.

You can see in the images above that the European model is a bit deeper (stronger) and a bit more organized overall than what the American model is showing. As a result, the European model has a stronger signal for snow locally than the American model does.

Use the slider to compare the 24 hour snow forecast for late next Wednesday night (11/17) between the American forecast model and the European forecast model.

It’s important to note that the system the models are seeing – given that it’s a week into the future – isn’t the type that make me overly excited about the possibility of seeing the first measurable snow at the airports. We’ll keep an eye on it of course, but the details are still “up in the air.”

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