The Mile High City is known for its elevation sitting about a mile above sea level around 5400 ft. hence its name. It is also known for its big temperature swings, but the dramatic change that occurred between the near record heat Labor Day to accumulating snow Tuesday was one of historic proportions even for Denver!
We all know that Labor Day is the last unofficial day of summer, and normally most areas across the northern tier of the United States start really feeling the fall air creeping in as we approach the middle of September. This was not the case in Denver this year!
A strong storm system with its cold front dropped in out of Canada and was followed by an unseasonably cold air mass that drained into the front range of the Rocky Mountains. It went from beach/pool weather over the Labor Day weekend to needing the winter jackets, gloves and hats in a 24 hour period! What happened to Autumn!? The temperature dropped from a high of 93° mid Labor Day afternoon to 34° by mid afternoon Tuesday (24 hours later) with snow in the air!! That’s right! A nearly 60 degree temperature drop in 24 hours which is tied for the 7th biggest temperature change in a 24 hour period in Denver with the records going all the way back to 1882!
Snowfall amounts Tuesday through Wednesday added up to about an inch in the Greater Denver area with several inches in the higher elevations around Denver! Click here to see other impressive snowfall totals from in and around the Denver area.
So how unusual is it for Denver to see a measurable snowfall the day after Labor Day/early September? Well it’s been 20 years since it snowed in Denver in September and has only happened 23 times since 1882 or less 20% of the time. So while not unheard of, it is pretty unusual for Denver to see its first snow in September, especially on September 8th!
The earliest measurable snowfall in Denver occurred on September 3rd, 1961 when the Mile High City picked up 4.2” of snow! The average first measurable snowfall occurs in Denver on October 18th.
So what about Syracuse’s average first measurable snowfall and the earliest snow?? Well Syracuse is later on both fronts, but not by as much as you may think. The average first measurable snow is November 6th for Syracuse and the earliest accumulating snowfall occurred on October 1st back in 1946.
On average we see our first accumulating snow in Syracuse about nearly 3 weeks after Denver, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that this will not happen in 2020. I’m sure many of you are happy to hear that! Enjoy the “normal” transition from summer to fall Central New York!