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Does Colorado have a Banana Belt?

It's a common question asked to the 9NEWS weather staff, and the answer is yes. There are two possible Banana Belts in Colorado.

COLORADO, USA — Bananas love to grow in warm climates free from the threat of frost, so it seems kind of weird to talk about a climate region called a 'Banana Belt' pertaining to Colorado.

But here's the thing: We do have a couple in the state.

A Banana Belt is a large geographic area that gets warmer weather compared to the region as a whole, especially in the winter. In Colorado, Banana Belts exist on the east side of the mountains due to down-sloping wind.

The prevailing winds usually come from the west. When they hit the Rocky Mountains, the air gets pushed up forming rain or snow. As the air moves down the slope on the other side, the air pressure rises, which causes warming and drying.

This climate can be described as a "rain shadow," or a "banana belt."

Credit: KUSA
The rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains can also be described as a Banana Belt

The more noted or famous Banana Belt in Colorado is in the Arkansas River Basin, from Buena Vista and Salida out to Pueblo. Because of the angle of the surrounding mountains, almost any wind direction is going to be down-sloping. 

To get good upslope there, the wind pretty much has to come straight up the valley from the southeast.

Mid-day banana report. Almost half a banana in Frederick. #realtorwithasenseofhumor

But the Front Range is also in the Banana Belt conversation. 

Credit: KUSA
An argument can be made that the Front Range is a Banana Belt. Dry downsloping winds keeps the area warmer and drier than the region as a whole.

Downsloping wind keeps this area warmer and drier than the region as a whole.

That includes foothills locations like Bailey, and lower areas along the I-25 corridor like Frederick and Denver.

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