An Arctic front in late February brought record-breaking low temperatures to Denver, although monthly snowfall and precipitation amounts were below average.
Denver experienced a mostly dry month, with an exception coming on Feb. 15, when 3.6 inches of snow was measured at Denver International Airport, according to the National Weather Service monthly climate summary for the area. Month long, 4.7 inches of snow fell in Denver, which is 2.9 inches below the February average of 7.6 inches.
The winter storm on the Feb. 15 brought heavier snow to the foothills, with amounts ranging from 4 to 10 inches, with lighter amounts across the urban corridor, the weather service said.
Although snowfall was below average in the city, cold weather took hold, including record-setting temperatures, according to the weather service. Feb. 23 was the coldest day of the month, with a low of minus 11 degrees and a high temperature of only 7 degrees. Both readings set new records for the date, last set in 2022 and 1874, respectively. Additionally, a low temperature of minus 7 degrees on Feb. 22 set a record minimum temperature for the date.
“It was colder than normal, not a big deal, just a little colder than normal,” said Robert Koopmeiners, a meteorologist with the weather service, about the monthly average temperature. “And, actually, it was a little drier than normal.”
Just prior to the deep freeze — the warm before the storm — Denver experienced a 60- degree high temperature on the afternoon of Feb. 21, the weather service said. “Mild weather returned the last few days of the month with above-normal temperatures along with breezy to windy conditions.”
Overall, February 2023 in Denver was slightly colder, at 31.1 degrees, than the average February temperature reading of 32.7 degrees, the weather service said. “The warmest temperature of the month occurred on the 26th with a reading of 62 degrees.”
February is typically the third-driest month of the year in Denver, averaging 0.41 inches of precipitation. Last month the city received just 0.25 inches of precipitation, 0.16 below average. The highest day of precipitation was on the 15th, with 0.22 inches.
On average March is Denver’s snowiest month, typically accounting for 20% of the city’s annual snowfall, according to the weather service.
“March is our snowiest month. If we get a big snowstorm, it’s likely to be in March more than any other month,” Koopmeiners said.
Denver normally receives 10.7 inches of snow in March, according to weather service data. On the flipside, however, the end of the winter season — officially March 20 — occasionally can wrap up with extended drought-like conditions in northeastern Colorado.
March dry spells in Denver often are associated with a La Niña weather pattern off of the Pacific Ocean. In 2012, Denver’s weather in March had record-low precipitation, record-low snowfall and the second-highest monthly temperature in 141 years.
The current Pacific weather pattern is La Niña, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
Denver’s monthly mean temperature in March is 40.4 degrees, according to the weather service, ranking it as the fifth-coldest month of the year in the city. High temperatures typically start the month at 50 degrees and climb to an average of 58 degrees on March 31. The record-high temperature in March in Denver is 84 degrees, set on the 26th in 1971.
A normal March low temperature averages 22 degrees to start the month, with a normal low of 30 degrees to end the month. The lowest temperature recorded in Denver in March is minus 11 degrees on the 28th in 1886.
This coming week, starting on Monday night, there’s a chance for snow in Denver throughout the week, according to the weather service forecast. Snow is likely on Wednesday night and Thursday.
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