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Another snow in Denver: Total amount not impressive, but frequency is

The amount of snow this season in Denver has not been unusual, but the frequency and snow cover has been.

DENVER — Monday morning was the 16th time it’s snowed in Denver since Dec. 1. That’s exactly double the average number of snow days for December and January combined.

The most through the end of January was the 25 snow days in 2013-14. We won’t break that record, but second place is doable. Denver would only need snow four more times in the last eight days of the month.

Credit: KUSA

That's determined by a sophisticated weather sensor called an ASOS located at Denver International Airport. It reports the type of precipitation that is falling on a minute-by-minute basis. 

The records only go back to 1997, when the ASOS was installed in Denver. The previous weather station at Stapleton Airport did not have that capability.

The reason that data is important is because the snow doesn't always accumulate every time it snows, and it's only official snowfall when it accumulates. 

It's snowed 11 times in Denver since Dec. 1, counting just the days where there was at least a tenth of an inch of accumulation. The record since 1949 is 19 snow days, which happened in the 1990-91 season.

Total snow in Denver

While the frequency of snowfall has been above normal in Denver, the total amount is not really too impressive. The 0.2 inch of fresh snow on Monday morning got the total for January up to 11.1 inches. 

Last January, Denver got 13.4 inches of snow. Both are fairly pedestrian totals compared to some of the bigger Januarys, like the 29.4 inches in 2007, but they're still above the average of 6.5 inches. 

Denver's total for the season is now up to 35.0 inches. The average for the end of January is 27.1 inches. January is one of the drier months of the year in Denver, while three of the snowiest months of the season are still ahead in the spring. 

Snow cover

And what about the length of time with snow sitting on the ground? As of Monday, Denver’s had 39 days with at least 1 inch of snow cover so far this season. The snow season starts on Sept. 1. If it stays like that for the rest of the month, which is very likely, it will put this season at ninth-most since 1949. 

There were 69 days with at least 1 inch of snow cover from Sept. 1, 1983 to Jan. 31, 1984.

Credit: KUSA

This season, Denver also had the longest streak with more than 2 inches of snow cover on the ground since 2012. There was a 12-day streak between Dec. 27 and Jan. 9. The streak in 2012 was 16 days long. 

The record streak for more than 2 inches of snow cover in Denver was 60 days, which lasted from December 2006 to February 2007.

This season's snow cover streak was 17 days if you count days where there was 1 or more inches of snow. That one ended on Jan. 14, but a new streak started on Jan. 18.

Tweener weather pattern

And very little change is expected in the weather pattern over the next 10 days.

That’s because Denver will be caught in between storm tracks. Alberta Clippers moving to our northeast, named for their point of origin in Canada, and Southwestern Lows on the other side of the state.

It’s a pattern that favors more cold days with frequent snow chances on the Front Range. But without taking a direct hit from one of those storms, the snows in Denver will likely be light in accumulation through the rest of January.

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