DENVER — April has arrived and that means the transition to spring moves into high gear in the Denver area.
Fast-changing weather is common for this time of year when mild-mannered clouds seem to dart into a phone booth, spin around in a blur and come out a soggy, windy, and sometimes dangerous mess in a matter of minutes. Not the hero we always deserve.
The month is typically warmer (compared to March) with less snowfall but more rain. In fact, Denver's second wettest month in history occurred in April of 1900, according to the National Weather Service.
Denver7 Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson provides an outlook on April weather and explains some of the extreme weather statistics and the phenomenon known as upslope storms. Watch the video in the player below:
Denver's monthly mean temperature for April is 47.4 degrees, according to the averages taken from the years 1981 through 2010. But the city has seen temperatures as warm as 90 degrees and as cold as -2 degrees during this month.
And just because the calendar says April, it doesn't mean we're done with the snow. April ranks as the 5th snowiest month and accounts for approximately 13% of the annual snowfall of 53.8 inches, according to the NWS. Denver sees about 8-10 inches on average during the month.
Denver's 5th biggest snowstorm in history occurred in April of 1885 and buried the city in 23 inches of snow in less than a day. When was the snowiest April in Denver? That occurred in 1938 when a total of 33.8 inches of snow fell on the Mile High City during the month.
And a lot of this moisture comes from what is called the classic upslope storm, which can dump heavy amounts of snow along the Front Range. An upslope storm develops when a low-pressure system forms on the Great Plains and pushes moist air up against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where it falls as snow or rain.
This time of year, we also see an increase in the chances that severe weather will make its presence known, marking the beginning of severe weather season on the Front Range.
Colorado's extreme weather events have made forecasting in the Centennial State challenging at times. From mountain tornadoes to snow in June, Colorado spring weather can get a little tipsy and should be told go home. But tragically at the same time, it can turn deadly and be destructive, even in the month of April.
In the early morning hours of April 27, 2012, a rare weather occurrence rattled Southeast Colorado. Five tornadoes, ranging in severity from EF1 to EF2, spawned by a strong storm system touched down in Prowers, Kiowa and Bent counties, injuring at least eight people and destroying homes and businesses. No fatalities were reported.
But despite the increase in severe weather activity this month, May is typically when the severe weather season really heats up. Peak tornado season is just around the corner.
The Denver7 360 In-Depth team charted an overall and detailed look at what to expect from the weather in April. The infographics tell the story of what to expect on a typical day as well as how much of a warm up to expect over the course of the month (according to the averages).
In this Denver7 360 In-Depth deep dive 📈
- Preview Denver's April weather 🌤
- Check the normal high/low by day ☀️
- Compare record low and high temperatures ☀️
- A look back at a rare April tornado outbreak in SE Colorado 🌪
- The wettest Aprils on record 🌧
To view April stats and data fullscreen on your computer or phone click here: https://infogram.com/1tvd4ex62opllrhz9oxwpx10d6u2eeevz9m