Springtime arrives in Colorado: Here's what spring weather brings to Colorado

DENVER - Spring is only days away, arriving at 10:57 p.m. on March 20th!

Currently, Colorado's springtime weather outlook does not favor any major extremes - warm, cold or dry, although the state may be a bit warmer than average.

At this time of year, Colorado often climbs on the "meteorological roller coaster" with wild spring storm systems. Springtime in the Rockies can mean snow, cold, warmth and sunshine, thunderstorms, tornadoes and hail - sometimes all in the same afternoon. The early spring is often the most turbulent time of year in Colorado as the retreating chill of winter battles with increasing warmth, creating a tremendous amount of instability in our atmosphere.

Severe thunderstorms make their first appearances on the eastern plains by late April and often increase in frequency during the following four to five weeks. The peak for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and hail in Denver and over eastern Colorado comes in late May and early June.

In the past few months, Colorado has caught a few of the cold waves moving across the country, with plenty of snow in the central and northern mountains.  Loveland Ski Area has seen nearly 30 feet of snow this season and the big snows of March and April are still to come.

In Denver, less than 30 inches of snow has been recorded in the greater metro area.  The average seasonal snowfall in Denver is 60 inches, so some soggy spring storms would help bring the precipitation levels up.

The heaviest snows of the year for the Front Range usually occur in late March through early May. Some big snowstorms have dumped two to three feet of wet snow on the foothills.

On the west coast, warm and dry weather has been the main feature this winter. California and Arizona have experienced unusually low precipitation.

For the eastern seaboard, it has been a long, cold and snowy winter. The low temperatures seen by eastern U.S. states, from the Great Lakes to the Carolinas and Georgia, were due to a persistent northwest flow aloft that has steered Arctic air from northern Canada into the Mississippi Valley and New England, all the way to the Gulf Coast.

Unfortunately, the cold is not a sign that global warming has stopped or even slowed. Worldwide, this January was the fourth warmest on record. 

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