Fourth-biggest May snow ever for parts of the foothills. Denver avoids record low snow, but sets record cold. Big drought relief on the Palmer Divide.
The precipitation from the storm, however, was very welcome, and hit a few of the spots that really needed it bad.
In Denver, relatively warm temperatures and very warm ground had a big impact on snow totals.
Only 2.3 inches of snow managed to stick at Denver International Airport, but that was just enough to avoid a pitiful record. It will not be the shortest snow season in the city’s history after all.
It would have been a record short 97-day season from the first snow on Dec. 10 to what had been the final snow on March 17, but after a snowless April, we added 64 days to the season with that one last gasp.
And the season’s not over yet. It has snowed in June before, so it’s not officially over until July.
Denver’s snow total for the season is now up to 49.4 inches – only 7.5 inches below average.
The big 50-degree temperature crash in Denver, from the high of 88 degrees on Thursday down to 38 degrees, was impressive, but just missed the top 10 all-time by 6 degrees.
It was Denver’s second big storm of May, but surprisingly, we’re still below average in precipitation. There was 0.99 inches of rain at DIA in the first four days of May, and 0.78 inches fell on May 19-20.
May is the city’s wettest month on average.
The biggest snow total in the state was a citizen report of 24 inches on Floyd Hill. The 12.1 inches at the official station in Evergreen was the third-biggest May snowstorm in 59 years, behind the 15 inches on May 5-7, 1978 and 13 inches on May 23-26, 1965.
This is also now the fourth-snowiest May on record in Evergreen.
There were also a few records reported across the state with this storm.
- Denver: Record low of 31 degrees on May 21 (Tie – last set in 2019)
- Colorado Springs: Record snowfall of 5.7″ on May 20
- Colorado Springs: Record snowfall of 4.6″ on May 21
- Pueblo: Record low of 33 degrees on May 21 (Tie – last set in 2001)
- Pueblo: Record snowfall of 2.8″ on May 21
The drought impact was mixed. Some of the heaviest precipitation totals were in an area that was already drought-free.
But the biggest overall totals were right in areas of Extreme drought. We could see big drought relief in parts of Elbert, Lincoln, El Paso and Fremont counties.
The lowest amounts of precipitation were in some of the areas that needed the most, like the San Luis Valley and the southeast plains, which currently has the highest level of drought.
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