The third strongest El Niño event since 1900 is gearing up to bring possible record snow falls for Denver as early as late October, making Denver snow removal an early priority for your home or business. There is now a 95%
chance the current El Niño will continue through the spring of 2016. Historically speaking, this causes the most problems for major highways, busy neighborhood roads, and parking lots of businesses. If this El Niño is anything like the two previous events meteorologists are referencing as a comparison, Colorado could be in for one wild winter.
What is an El Niño? It’s a periodic warming of surface waters in the Pacific Ocean of the northern coast of South America. Even though the warming occurs in one specific part of the world, El Niño’s have a massive effect on weather patterns all over the globe – particularly in the western United States and Colorado. The warmer waters bring the storm systems in North America further south than in normal, non-El Niño years. In Colorado, since 1950, eleven of the last thirteen El Niño years have brought higher than average snowfalls.
Even though there is no way to emphatically predict what any winter is going to be like, or exactly when the first significant snowfall will happen, most El Niño years tend to follow a very similar pattern. It is important to know your history and be as prepared as you can for the snow storms that are coming our way. Here are just a few examples of how El Niño weather events have affected our Colorado winters:
- 1997-98 – This year tends to be the yardstick by which all other El Niño’s are measured. In 1997, an El Niño inspired storm brought the seventh heaviest snowfall on record – almost 22 inches worth – in late October. An additional 50 inches fell throughout the Denver metro for the remainder of that winter; almost two feet more than an average winter for the area. During an El Niño year, it is common for Colorado to see snow in late October.
- 1982-83 – On Christmas Eve in 1982, an El Niño snowstorm brought 24 inches of snow to the Denver area in 24 hours. That cycle, heading well into spring of 1983 continued to bring heavy snowstorms.
- 2007-08 – This was a slightly unusual year for El Niño because it affected the mountains more than the Denver metro area. While Denver received slightly less than normal accumulations that year, the mountains saw a walloping 180 inches.
If there is anything us Coloradans know about Denver weather it’s that it never stays the same for too long! The old saying “don’t like the weather in Denver? Wait 10 minutes!” holds true even throughout the winter months. Colorado winters can be mild and sunny, or packed with snow storms. With the upcoming El Niño events, it is more important than ever to make sure you have a snow removal plan for your home or place of business. My Landscaper is here to help all winter long, give us a call today and give yourself peace of mind for when that first snow storm hits. Instead of stressing out about your home’s snow removal, you can rest easy knowing that My Landscaper is here for you.