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Denver weather in March: Snowiest month, blizzards and the start of spring in Colorado

While many parts of the country start seeing lots of green and your friends in Texas start posting beautiful Bluebonnet photos, weather forecasters remind you that March is Denver's snowiest month.
Posted: 7:50 AM, Mar 03, 2024
Updated: 2024-03-03 09:54:32-05

DENVER — Denver weather in March might surprise the newcomer but people who have been in Colorado for a minute know just how temperamental the weather can be through the month.

And while many other parts of the country start seeing lots of green on the trees and your friends in Texas start posting photos of beautiful Bluebonnets, weather forecasters in Colorado will remind you that March is Denver and the state’s snowiest month of the season.

And that’s not all, said the man who has been forecasting Colorado’s ever-changing weather for over three decades.

“The month of March is a very active one in Colorado, as we start to transition into springtime, Denver and the plains can get big snowstorms. Obviously the mountains do as well,” said Denver7 Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson. “But it's also the first month that we get tornadoes and severe thunderstorms along the front range.”

On average Colorado sees around 53 tornadoes for the year.

“Our storm threats begin to shift now as the sun angle is getting higher up the sky, we still get plenty of cold and snow but winds and storms thunderstorms begin to enter the weather picture and bring very heavy wet snow storms,” said Nelson.


In fact you don’t have to go back far to remember the top two snowiest months of March. They both happened in the last 20 years, starting with that big 2003 Denver blizzard that dropped heavy snow for days shutting down the city.

Starting on March 17 through the 19th, the blizzard pounded Colorado dumping 31.8” of snow in Denver and more than 7 feet in the foothills, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Boulder.Even in a city used to lots of snow, there were signs all around that it was just too much.

Buildings and roofs collapsed under the heavy weight damaging at least 258 structures and pounding winds while Colorado roads and interstates were completely shut down for days.

Punishing wind gusts up to 41 mph created snow drifts up to 6 feet in parts of the Denver metro and around 135,000 people lost power, said the NWS.


Weather News

Remembering the 2003 blizzard that crippled Denver for days

Jeff Anastasio
7:10 AM, Mar 17, 2023

Denver International Airport was closed, stranding 4,000 passengers, the NWS reported. The iconic white tent roof at the airport was damaged forcing an evacuation of the main building at DIA.

The snow totals just added up across Colorado. That March snowstorm saw some areas of the foothills accumulate over 7 feet of snow. Rollinsville in Gilpin County received 87.5 inches and Winter Park measured 77.5 inches.

The 2003 March blizzard also dropped 50” of snow near Golden and 40.3” in Aurora.

2003 rewind: Blizzard cripples Denver for days

That big March snowstorm became Denver’s second-biggest snowmaker ever, for any month, pushing Denver’s snowfall total for that month up to 35.2 inches.

March 2003 was also the snowiest March on record in Denver.

“That big March storm dropped almost three feet of snow in Denver, and as recently as 2021, we had 34 inches of snow during the month,” said Nelson

The March 2021 snow total was just 1.2” shy of reaching and breaking Denver’s March 2003 record.

By the way, the snowiest month ever Denver, according to NWS data, was December 1913 when in incredible 57.4 inches of snow accumulated.
That huge number was the result of what became Denver's biggest snowstorm recorded since 1882 when between December 1-5, 45.7 inches of snow fell.

But back to March weather!


Of course, huge double-digit cumulative snowfall totals are not the norm in March, but Denver still usually sees around 8.8 inches of snow through the month.

And if Denver has seen a slow start to the snow season, often, March storms will help the metro’s cumulative snow totals for the season reach averages.

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Denver7 | Weather

Colorado snow report: After slow start, a look at Denver snow totals this season

Jeff Anastasio
5:02 PM, Feb 22, 2024

In 2024, heavy February snow in Denver has helped the city inch closer to seasonal norms for the season, but the metro still lags behind where we should be at this time of the year by around 5”.

Even with March’s trend of delivering more snow, in a few recent years, the month has seen very little powder.

In both March 2012 and 2017, Denver only saw a trace amount of snow.


The low temperature in Denver at the beginning of March averages around 23 degrees, according to the NWS. By the end of March, Denver’s average low temp warms up to around 31 degrees.

Through March, Denver also adds around 10 degrees to its average high temperature, starting out with an average of 50 degrees on March 1 to 60 degrees by March 31.

The warmest temperature ever recorded in March was 84 degrees back on March 26, 1971.

The lowest recorded temperature in March in Denver was -11 degrees way back on March 28, 1886.


To make sense of the long range weather forecast in Colorado, we have to talk about El Nino.

“We are still under an El Nino right now, which is the warmer water conditions in the Pacific Ocean and that tends, in an El Nino winter, as we have seen so far this winter, to have fewer Arctic outbreaks,” said Nelson.

And you can see it play out in Nelson’s weather maps. The jet stream is often split with the lower portion running across the lower U.S. and the other much farther to the north of Colorado, meaning it keeps the coldest air blasting away through Canada.

“We had that one brief Arctic outbreak in January, otherwise really haven't seen that cold air,” said Nelson.

Another element that could add to March’s reputation as the snowiest month this year is the current long range forecast in Colorado.

“This is some good news. The 30-day outlook is calling for wetter-than-average conditions,” said Nelson. “Across the west, big California storms are predicted to come in, including through Colorado.”

That’s exactly the case with the whopper of a storm expected to dump up to 12 feet of snow in some parts of California and up to a foot or more in parts of Colorado’s high country.

The recent warmer-than-average temperatures in Denver might lure you into thinking spring is just around the corner, but March has a way of quickly reminding you winter’s grip isn’t quite ready to let go.

And if you’ve seen that meme scrolling through social media on Colorado’s supposed 11 or 12 weather seasons, you can decide if we’re somewhere between “fool's spring”, second winter, spring of deception or third winter.

If you made it down to the bottom, we predict you might be a tad more of a weather geek than the average person. If so, did you know Denver7 has a 24/7 weather stream available on our website and mobile app? You can also pull up the stream on your TV anytime for free by downloading the Denver7+ app for Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire.

You can watch the constantly updated day planner forecast, outlook for Colorado's mountains, Denver's 7-day forecast and live radar updates in the player below.

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