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Weather forecasting and analysis, space and historic events, climate information

12:10 PM | What a difference a year makes in terms of nationwide snow and cold

Paul Dorian


The starting game time temperature yesterday in Denver, Colorado in an afternoon game between the Rockies and Braves was only 23 degrees which made it the coldest temperature ever at the start of a game in major league baseball history. The normal high temperature this time of year in Denver is 63 degrees. In fact, the only reason they were playing a make-up game in Denver on Tuesday afternoon was due to the fact that several inches of snow postponed the Monday night game. This type of springtime cold and snow has been the rule, and not the exception, for the last several weeks across the region from the southern Rockies to the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, and it is an amazing turnaround compared to one year ago.

According to NOAA snow cover data, 91.9% of the Upper Midwest is currently covered by snow and this contrasts with just 0.4% at the same time one year ago. The dramatic turnaround in snow and cold has not just been confined to the month of April and to the Upper Midwest only. On a nationwide basis, there have been 3303 cold weather records set in the last week as compared with 608 warm records according to National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) statistics. Since the beginning of 2013, there have been 10,795 cold weather records set (6493 low max, 4302 low min) as compared with 2285 set last year by this same time according to NCDC. As far as snowfall is concerned, there have been 5606 snow records set this year nationwide as compared to 2538 records set last year including 170 stations that have set monthly records for April and 23 stations that have set daily records for snow accumulations.

Looking ahead, there are definite signs that the brutal springtime cold and snow is now winding down for the southern Rockies and Northern Plains and Upper Midwest as an overall nationwide pattern change is now underway that should bring about much more normal springtime conditions. In fact, Denver, Colorado, which bottomed out in the teens yesterday morning, will likely climb to 70+ degrees by the upcoming weekend.