March (Brian Bledsoe)

March...  Some folks think of record setting blizzards.  Some folks think of unusual tornadoes ( Holly 2007 ).  Some folks think of that first stretch of 70 degree weather that gets everyone outside.  Yet other folks just think of how windy it can be...  Well, lets see what we could potentially see for the next 30 days.  If you've been reading this blog, you know that I have been touting the fact that March and April could be very stormy.  So far this Winter, the main storm track has ended up just to our south.  Despite this 3 month trend, I still see no reason to change my orignial line of thinking.  Here is why...


Normally, March is our snowiest month.  Colorado Springs averages 9.4" for the month and Pueblo 6.4".  Think about this.  During February, which is normally our driest month, Colorado Springs picked up 9.7" of snow.  Pueblo topped that with 10.8".   Pretty impressive totals for a normally not so snowy month.  Given how the seasonal change works around here, and how that usually spells more storminess, I can see some decent totals coming out of March.  Again, this is just the climatological side of things...

El Nino: 

El Nino has produced some huge snows for our southern mountains and states just ot the south of Colorado.  However keep in mind, El Nino doesn't guarantee huge snows for everyone in Southern Colorado.  It simply increases the overall frequency of possible storms.  It all depends exactly where the storm track sets up.  So far, areas just to our south have had the lionshare of the snow. Will this change?  I think so.  As the seasonal change interacts with the ongoing El Nino, that storm track has to move north.  Now it could skip right over the top of us and end up north.  However, for a reason which I will go into later, I don't think that will happen.  Focusing on El Nino right now, the question is, " is it still alive" and "how long will it last"?

Current Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Plot

As you can see above, the central and eastern Pacific are still in an El Nino state.  In fact, El Nino has actually strengthened a bit since early February.  This strengthening could mean a rapid uptick in storminess for the western US.  How long will it last?  That is a bit tougher, but it should last through late Spring.

If the above model projection is correct, we should be near neutral or " La Nada" conditions by June or July.  This is significant, because it will likely keep the weather pattern active through that time.  Thus, increasing our chances for above normal moisture through the period.

Arctic Oscillation and Pacific North American Oscillation:

Both of these oscillations are important.  Per my previous blog, you saw how the strongly negative Arctic Oscillation contributed to a cold Winter.  Below is the current state of the AO:

Now, it isn't as negative as it was during the heart of the Winter.  However, it remains negative and will likely hover in negative territory through the Spring.  This "negativity" means there will likely be cooler than normal temperatures that could contribute to snowfall.  BECAUSE WE MAY END UP WITH A COOL SPRING, THIS COULD ALSO KEEP THE STORMTRACK FROM RACING NORTHWARD INTO THE NORTHERN PLAINS.  STORMS DO NOT LIKE TO DEVELOP OR MOVE INTO COLD AIR.  THEY LIKE TO HOVER NEAR WHERE THE GREATEST CHANGE IN TEMPERATURE OCCURS.  THAT MAY MEAN IS MOVES SLIGHTLY NORTHWARD FROM ITS PRESENT POSITION AND PUTS SOUTHERN COLORADO IN A BETTER POSITION FOR MARCH STORMINESS.  Take a look at the top part of that graph again...  Notice how when the AO is negative, we see colder than normal temperatures ( December & February ).  When it goes toward more positive levels, we see warmer weather ( November and January ).  Pretty interesting stuff... 

Climate Prediction Center Forecasts:

You already know what I think and what I've thought for the past few months.  Will I be right?  Who knows.  Until that storm track shows where it is going to set up, it is a tough call.  I may be entirely correct, and it ends up that Denver and Monument gets all the snow.  Or maybe areas along HWY 50 get the most.  Like I said, who knows...  Here is what the Climate Predicition Center thinks:

CPC thinks it will be colder than normal and wetter than normal.  Rather it happens or not, the signs are there for an active March.  But like I said, don't count April out either.  This pattern is likely to remain active for a while...

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe




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  • by Julio Location: 80907 on Mar 10, 2010 at 05:02 AM
    Well, we're a third of the way through our "snowiest" month...and we've gotten a grand whopping TRACE so far!!!!!!!!!
  • by Julio Location: 80907 on Mar 7, 2010 at 08:16 PM
    Snow season is D...O...N....E. (not that it ever REALLY got started here. :)
  • by Al Location: 80911(Security-Widefield) on Mar 7, 2010 at 07:04 PM
    I agree with jon. I think our snow season is for the most part-done. Yea-true we still have an outside chance of getting a freak storm like the one on 17 March 1997 that dropped a ton of snow overnight. But it is a long shot.
  • by jon Location: strattonmeadows/ southgate on Mar 6, 2010 at 09:20 PM
    nice for the ' warm up ' , but i noticed in the forecasts of the next systems to come through, these have the description of what use to occur here in - late April, temps in the high 30's to near 50, with any precipt below 7000 ft mostly rain, not accumalating snow.. warming for sure, i think the times of March & April producing large snows in this city are gone.. this is an entirely new or different climatic trend that will necessitate a whole new set of normal averages, no more big snows for Mar & Apr, but rains already, notice even wide spread T-storms expected out east of here.. snows in higher mts.. it sure appears that temps in Mar will not go much lower than perhaps mid 20's anymore, use to get even to zero briefly during intense systems in Mar. so are you ready for putting out potted catuses on your patios ? seems that is what is coming here. jon
  • by shawn Location: 80923 on Mar 5, 2010 at 04:30 PM
    hot dry summer??? Ive been here since 1992 and have never seen one of those...short warm summer maybe...go anywhere else in the country if you want to see a hot i will stick to the nice pleasant summers where you dont even need an air conditioner if your in the shade.....
  • by shawn Location: 80923 on Mar 5, 2010 at 04:26 PM
    Seriously Brian... is there really such thing as an albuquerque low? I think it might be a tall tale at this point... Every storm ive seen the last how many years has shorted the springs and pueblo...except for 1 freak blizzard...
  • by John on Mar 5, 2010 at 11:41 AM
    I welcome the HOT DRY SUMMER!!!! I love summer time. Besides maybe it will be like last year and rain alot and there is our miosture.
  • by Ed Location: No Snow, Colorado on Mar 5, 2010 at 07:22 AM
    Wow. I'm shocked. The "strong" and "intenste" storm that is coming our way on Sunday/Monday is going to miss us. Actually we're going to get shafted because of the north, northwest winds. Face it folks, it isn't in the cards for us this year. Despite March being our snowiest month (yeah, 10 years ago maybe...)everything is so warm, the snow, if it ever comes our way, will never stick to anything here. And now I hear La Nina is back for next year - great another year of below average snowfall. Oh, nothing different about that though. I hope I win the lottery so I can move to Monument and see a flake or two. Bye bye winter! Hello HOT DRY SUMMER!!!
  • by Julio Location: 80907 on Mar 3, 2010 at 08:00 PM
    Ah...there they are. In the latest forecast (3/3) I see the big storm headed are way will likely be affected by the north winds....meaning very little snow AGAIN for the springs. I hate seeing those words - but there they are. Oh well... I was psyched up for a day or two.
  • by jon Location: strattonmeadows/ southgate on Mar 2, 2010 at 08:50 PM
    52 for the high today; 1st time drove around with windows partly down.. amazing that 52 could feel as warm as it did, usually this would still be little too cold for down windows, but after such a presistant cold winter, this felt like a warm day.. sun noticably higher in sky. i suppose the sun being up higher angle, would mean a better chance for increased instability in any clouds that would make for precipitation, hence more cumulus type, more showery, some locally heavy though spotty, rather than just widespread light stuff.. in the past, i remember a very 'quick ' 14 incher that dumped on us on Easter Sun ' 1974 in just !! 3.5 hrs !! it did have some lightning/thunder that was a very fast heavy snow, occuring during a forecast period that called for a 30% chance of snow showers, wish i could look up the what the map showed for that one... jon
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