Denver is still waiting for its first official snow of the season and is entering record territory for the latest first snow. Although we’ve had a few chances of snow already, none have delivered. Given the current forecast, I’m not too optimistic about our first snow happening anytime soon.

Denver can see its first snow as early as the first week of September and as late as the week of Thanksgiving. The average date of the first snow is October 18 and we are already more than 2 weeks past that and we have still yet to see any flakes fly.

In the 73 years of weather records at the Denver/Central Park weather station, there have only been 13 years where our first snow came in November. This year will mark the 14th year. The latest weather models are showing an insignificant chance of snow just once between now and the 15th of the month leaving the possibility of having one of our latest first snows of the season on record.

Top 5 latest first snows in Denver

November 21 – 1924
November 19 – 1931
November 17 – 2016
November 16 – 1984
November 15 – 2010

The most recent year in which we had late-season first snow was 2016. That was also a La Niña year which begs the question, will we have a repeat season like 2016? The 2016-17 winter brought Denver a measly 21.8 inches of snow — one of the least snowy winters Denver has ever had.

While long-range forecasts are showing normal moisture and slightly above average temperatures for this winter, there is the possibility of having some potent storms impact us. With that said, there’s also the possibility of potent storms just slightly missing us to the north, which has been a trend this season already.

Denver averages an inch of snow in September and 4.1 inches of snow in October. Since we have seen no snow this season, we are running a deficit of 5.1 inches of snow already this season. Denver averages just over 7 inches of snow in November and while there is a lot of November left, the forecast isn’t showing strong signals of snow in the near term.

Forecast

The forecast doesn’t look great for snow lovers in Denver. Especially this weekend but if you’re a fan of some late-season heat, I have good news for you. It’s going to be an absolutely beautiful weekend in the Mile High.

While we shouldn’t break any heat records, we will be close! A cool-down is expected next week as a few weak systems approach our area. The best chance for Denver to see some rain or snow comes next Wednesday into Thursday. Temperatures look to be marginal for snow. We’d have to wait until the cooler nighttime hours to see the best shot at a few snowflakes. The Foothills and Palmer Divide and the mountains have a better chance of seeing accumulating snow during this time.

The next signal for snow for the Denver area doesn’t look to move in until the Nov. 17-19 timeframe which is a bit far out for specifics. If we don’t get more than 0.01-inches of snow with the system coming midweek next week, it’s likely that we will have one of the top 5 latest first snows of the season in Denver.

Denver is back in a severe drought currently. In the last 4 months (July through October) Denver has racked up 0.97 of an inch of rain which is more than 5 inches below what we should typically see. Hopefully, this trend of dry weather will come to an end but as it’s currently looking, no significant storms are on the horizon to break this spell.

Andy Stein is a freelance meteorologist.

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