Denver weather isn’t what most people expect.
As I write this now the temperature on March 1 is 74 degrees and the skies are sunny. It’s the kind of weather you expect in Scottsdale this time of year.
I passed crowds at Washington Park this morning enjoying the “lakes”, views and some volleyball. Even the golf courses have the die hards smacking the little white ball off brown fairway grass. But, some of the greens actually are greenish. These photos were taken today.
In my 30 years of selling homes to relocation buyers, the biggest misconception I find is about our weather. Our temperatures are really moderate.
Winters here are real but nothing like I grew up with in Chicago. Folks see the snow flying on Monday Night Football and think it snows constantly here. Fact is, those snow storms are usually over within several hours and the snow often melts off within a day or two.
How much snow do we get? Well, it averages 55.4 inches per winter in the city. Of course 20-40 feet is not uncommon in the mountains. Vail, for example, averages 348 inches annually. That’s almost 30 feet of snow. Even though our big snowstorms get plenty of publicity, they average less than 2 per season. Folks living in town do not even need four wheel drive vehicles. Kids who look forward to “snow days” when schools cancel classes are disappointed to find only 2 or 3 per year. Three snow days are scheduled annually in the Cherry Creek Schools.
Personally, I do not like January and February. They are our coldest months and the terrain is brownish. And, although March is our snowiest month, temperatures are warming. There is plenty of sunshine and snow tends to melt very quickly. There are even warm Spring Skiing Days in the mountains with celebrations, sun bathers and occasionally near-naked skiers swooshing over the declining snow base and sometimes ending up at the bottom of the hill falling into a slush pond.
Those are often same days we can be golfing or playing outdoor tennis down the hill in Denver. April is even warmer and there is very little snow accumulation. Most years, outdoor Easter services are comfortable and even shirt sleeves can be the rule except at the picturesque Red Rocks Amphitheater sunrise services. Those are always chilly.
Our springtime is gorgeous. Flowers bloom and leaves comes back on the trees. It’s pretty much like springtime anywhere. That can start anytime from the end of March to the middle of April. Rockies major league baseball begins this year on April 3 at home in Coors Field. That is a sure sign spring is nearly here.
We do have warm summers but they are dry with little, sticky humidity and few bugs. An average high temperature is 88 degrees. But, our humidity is low and evenings cool to an average low temperature of 59 degrees. That’s cool enough that not all homes even have air conditioning. Attic fans and evaporative coolers are common. Whole house fans exhaust warm air at night leaving the home cool in the early morning. Evaporative coolers are less popular but do cool using evaporating water.
Thunderstorms are common in the late afternoons during summer in Denver. They are scattered usually so watching the weather develop in the afternoon is a spectator sport in high rise offices and condos. The only substantial rain comes during the “monsoon season”. It starts in July and runs for 2-3 weeks usually. Then, heavy, sustained rains can occur because of the moisture drawn up from the Gulf of Mexico. But, winds are rarely strong or sustained.
Tornadoes are rare and small. They are usually 10-30 feet wide even when they touch down. That’s not like Kansas or even eastern Colorado where tornadoes can reach a mile or more wide. So, tornado damage in Denver is rare and injuries almost non-existent. The last time there were injuries in a Denver area tornado was 1988 when 7 people were injured in Boulder, Colorado.
Autumn here is colorful. Aspen trees first turn yellow and then red. The mix of colors with oak and maple tree leaves is dramatic. We often take a day trip to the nearby mountains just to see the colors. Although we can get an early snow in September or October, it never stays on the ground for more than a few hours. Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of possible snow storms. Most years, snow melts quickly and rarely does it stay on the ground roadways long.
All and all, Denver is a great place to live. Our weather adds to my enjoyment…except for January and February which are my least favorite months. We try to keep all the snow and cold in the mountains. But, it can occasionally “escape” to Denver. At least, we usually stay mostly sunny then. Overall, there are over 310 average days of sunshine in the Mile High City!
Oh, by the way, if you don’t like the weather in Denver, just wait a minute. For example, as nice as today was, tomorrow is forecast to be cold with 1-3 inches of snow. Don’t worry about us. The snow will be melted and gone by Tuesday.
Here is Denver’s Current Weather Forecast: