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Denver's big snowstorm: A rare, great beast

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Posted at 1:11 AM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-03 11:53:19-05

Denver’s biggest snowstorm of the season spanned four days, spawned high winds that shut down two major interstates, and brought snow totals in the double digits. A storm like this only hits our area about twice a year on average.

Denver averages 7.7 inches of snow for the month of February, but this year, topped that mark in the first two days, with 11.6 inches recorded at the official weather station, at Denver International Airport.

It seems that Denver has a reputation for big snowstorms, but really, that is far from the truth. Over the past five years, Denver has only had ten storms resulting in more than 6 inches of snow. This week's storm is the second biggest storm to hit Denver in five years with a storm total of 12.6 inches.

Meteorologically, you can separate the storm into 3 separate storms, but it is generally accepted to consider a streak of consecutive days of snow accumulation, as one storm. So .2 inches on Saturday night, .8 inches on Sunday, 6.9 inches on Monday, and 4.7 inches on Tuesday morning, equals 12.6 inches storm total.

The city -- and most of the metro area -- typically gets more snow than the airport, but that is where our official weather station has been since the airport was moved from Stapleton in 1995. Some argue that location does not represent the weather of most Denverites, but that is were the weather data is centered.

That is why some locals may be surprised about how few, 6 inch or greater snowstorms, Denver actually has. With the amount of snow that the whole Denver area has had in the 2015-16 snow season, it should come as no surprise that Denver has above average snowfall in 3 out of 4 months.

It’s a little odd that both November and December finished up with 11.3 inches of snow, and a late morning measurement Tuesday revealed 11.3 inches for this February. DIA did pick up an additional .3 inches through the afternoon, to officially end up with 11.6 inches for the month so far.

Odds are pretty low that there will be no more snow for the rest of February 2016. There are no major snowstorms forecast for the next seven days in Denver, although there is a chance for some flurries on Friday and Sunday.

It will take another huge storm in Denver to make a run at the snowiest February ever. That is 22.4 inches which was set just last year.

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