Denver weather: When to expect the Mile High City’s final snow of spring 2020

With Denver’s first 80-degree reading of the season on the horizon, the question has probably already entered your mind: Have we finally seen our final snow of the season?

As with most questions about Denver weather, the answer is a complicated one.

First of all, the seasonal numbers: It has already been an above-average winter season for snowfall in Denver, with around 58 inches measured at the city’s official climate site at Denver International Airport. At the city’s more centrally located Stapleton Airport site, the seasonal snowfall total is already up to 71 inches. Both those numbers are above Denver’s long-term average of 57.1 inches.

Two signs may point to the last snow having already fallen: First, Denver’s average last snowfall is on April 28th, based on long-term climatological data from the National Weather Service. Therefore, on that metric alone, Denver could well be done with snowfall for the winter season.

The forecast also appears to favor of those hoping that winter has breathed its last snowy gasp: It’ll probably hit 80 degrees next week, and the overall trend stretching through the first week of May trends warmer than average. There’s virtually no chance it’ll snow through the end of April, and it’s a reasonably safe bet that it won’t snow into the first few days of May, either.

While Denver has seen snow as late as June 5th, in the last 30 years it has only snowed after May 15th three times, based on official records from the National Weather Service.

But there is one indicator that winter might not be quite done yet: a notable recent trend toward later spring snows. Last spring, four inches of snow fell on May 21st and 22nd, and Denver has recorded mid-May snowfall in about half of its last 20 springs. A wavier jet stream, perhaps enhanced or caused by climate change, could be part of the reason for this recent trend.

Combining the forecast, the recent snowy trend and climatology, Denver realistically may only have a one- or two-week window in the middle of next month to get snow. While it can snow as late as Memorial Day or even into June, it’s extremely rare to get snow that late in the season. So while you probably shouldn’t stash the snow shovel in long-term storage quite yet, there’s a decent chance you’ve used it for the last time this season.

To be transparent, after we asked this same question a year ago, it snowed another three times in Denver, totaling about five inches. If it snows again this May, it’s probably fair to blame — or celebrate — your favorite newspaper.

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