Why is it so warm in Denver this fall, and what’s the forecast for Colorado’s winter of 2016-17?

2 min. read
NOAA’s winter outlook for the 2016-’17 season. (NOAA)

Denver is going to see high temperatures of up to 79 degrees this week, running up to 18 degrees above historic averages. The scientific term for this is very annoying.

In fact, the airport hit the 80s over the weekend, while in a more typical year, we might be seeing snow already. Let's consult some experts about what's going to happen.

This is not a good sign for a snowy, proper winter, but it's also not "hopeless," as Brendan Heberton of Weather5280 reports. Essentially, a "ridge" of high-pressure air is keeping the eastern part of the state in warm, dry weather.

Heberton hopes that some winter weather might break through this trough by the first week of November. Meteorologist Sam Collentine at OpenSnow is similarly predicting/hoping for a change early in November.

Also, the weather in the mountains has (predictably) been a bit more wintry than down here. The state's highest altitudes are expected to get a few inches of snow today, and Arapahoe Basin also managed to open its ski slopes a week earlier than last year.

Overall, this winter's looking hard to call, but the signs we've seen aren't particularly encouraging for snow bunnies.

An outlook released last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Colorado's winter may tend toward warmer temperatures this year. As you can see below, most of the state gets a solid probability of a warmer-than-normal winter.

NOAA's winter outlook for the 2016-'17 season. (NOAA)

Meanwhile, Denver and points north are rated "equal chances" for precipitation, meaning a wetter-than-normal winter is equally likely as a drier winter.

NOAA's winter outlook for the 2016-'17 season. (NOAA)

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