Apr 082009
Authors: Jessica Cline

According to CSU and national meteorologists, Colorado will experience above average temperatures, below normal precipitation this spring and summer, and there is likely a chance for snowstorms before April’s end.

And while climatologists said it is difficult to make final predictions due to the constantly fluctuating nature of weather, based on past and present meteorological models, data does not show a chance for springtime blizzards.

“Using climatology, the average date of our last snowfall is April 21. So/as of today, there’s an 80 percent chance that we will get another snowfall, not necessarily a blizzard, of at least 0.1-inch of snow,” said Brian McNoldy, a CSU research associate for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

Judy Fossum a broadcast meteorologist at the Day Weather Center, located in Wyoming, said Colorado could experience cold fronts bringing rain/snow mix storms in the short term with breaks between the systems.

She said that, as it starts warming up, there is a chance for more snow but a blizzard equal to that which occurred on March 27 and closed the university and cancelled classes for the first time since March 20, 2003 is unlikely.

“There is a chance for more snow in April but as it warms up it will not stay around and the chances of thunderstorms will go up.”

While the National Weather Association predicts that drought conditions are improving, CSU meteorologists said that more water is needed to break even.

“The recent snow that we have gotten has definitely helped out but a lot of how conditions will look later in the year will be determined by how much precipitation we get this spring,” said Fossum said.

Doesken agreed that it really depends on what happens with the weather in the spring season.

“Recent storms have really helped us here in the Fort Collins area but more storms will be required throughout the spring to keep us even or ahead of average,” said Nolan Doesken, CSU research associate for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

“We are still on the dry side, and other parts of the Front Range and foothills remain quite dry,” he said.

The NWA predicts that from now until May an estimated 400 to 1000 tornadoes will occur across the U.S.

Doesken said that tornadoes in Larimer County are possible, especially in northeastern Colorado during May and June.

“The chance of having a tornado somewhere in Larimer County is about one in five to 10 in any given year. But tornadoes like the one we had in Windsor last year, developing in the morning and moving towards the northwest, large and long-lived, is extremely rare.”

McNoldy agreed with Doesken that there is 100 percent chance of spring tornadoes in Colorado.

“There has never been a year without them,” he said./”More than one to three days out though, it’s nearly impossible to say when or where or how strong.”

As for the rest of the U.S., several said other states are looking at similar drought and tornado conditions.

For more information on the U.S. weather and climate conditions go to http://www.cpc.noaa.gov. And for Colorado weather updates visit http://www.atmos.colostate.edu.

Staff writer Jessica Cline can be reached at news@collegian.com.

National Weather Association Predictions for Colorado

Above average temperatures

Below normal precipitation

Drought conditions ongoing but improving

400 to 1,000 tornadoes across the U.S. through May

Information courtesy of


CSU Meteorologist Predictions for Colorado

Slightly warmer temperatures than average

Slightly drier than average

Possible snow through April

100 percent chance of tornadoes

Improving drought conditions

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