The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
Earlier this week, I told you that Denver had just experienced one of the hottest Augusts ever recorded. And now, just days later, we’re staring down our first snow of the season.
Typical Colorado, am I right?
That's only $1 per issue!
While it’s not abnormal for Denver to see some snow in September—on average, we receive about one inch—the Mile High City hasn’t had measurable accumulation during this month since 2000, when just 0.2 inches was reported.
But beyond the possibility of some flurries in the air, it’s the wild, one-day swing from intense summer heat to the season’s first freeze that makes this impending storm notable. On Saturday and Sunday, the metro area is expecting near-record highs—we could even potentially see our second 100-degree day of the year. If that mark is reached, it would be the latest Denver has ever hit 100 degrees
The heat will stick around through Labor Day, but come Monday night, a curiously strong cold front will blast through the city. Not to nerd out too much on meteorological anomalies, but the intense weather shift is being partly attributed to lingering energy from a tropical cyclone in the Pacific, which is hitching a ride toward Colorado on the jet stream.
By Tuesday—depending on where you live—there is likely to be snow falling. The only caveat meteorologists are watching is how much cold air will actually sweep through the city. This will determine if the metro area gets all snow, a rain/snow mix, or if flurries will stick to elevations above 7,000 feet.
It’s almost guaranteed that the foothills and mountains will see several inches of snow from this cold front, and it’s highly possible that Denver could pick up accumulation, as well. While snow-seekers might be excited to see flakes falling—winter is coming, after all—an early-season snowfall at lower elevations is worrisome because the trees are still full of leaves and could be weighed down or broken by too much accumulation. This, of course, could lead to damage and even power outages. While we’re not expecting roads to be affected throughout Denver, the snow could stick at higher elevations, so as always, use caution when driving.
Even if the metro area sees zero snowfall, this temperature swing will be impressive even by Denver standards. It could even be record-breaking. For this blast to make the list of our most extreme temperature swings in a 24-hour period, we will need to see the thermometer change by more than 55 degrees. For it to make the list of most extreme temperature swings in a 48-hour period, we need to see a change of 66 degrees. Both of these extremes are possible. Either way, it’s going to be wild to go from 90-degree heat to rain and snow in just 24–36 hours.
Bonus: The cooler air will likely last all through next week. Bring on fall!