Spring hasn’t sprung, but it feels like it
The calendar may say it’s winter, at least until Monday, but March temperatures have Garfield County residents feeling spring fever. Friday’s high reached 70 degrees for a second consecutive day, with a May-like overnight low of 36, according to the National Weather Service.
These aren’t record-setting highs, said NWS Meteorologist Megan Stackhouse, but they’re close.
The NWS in some areas relies on cooperative observers to report the temperature, and it uses a period of record of 30 years.
“We like to have a nice stretch of time so we can see fluctuations throughout the year,” Stackhouse said.
The Glenwood Springs site has 29 years of data and one observer. The service does not have a sensor in the area, and instead relies on the observer’s reports, which aren’t available for March.
Based on unofficial records, Stackhouse said the area’s highest temperatures have been in the low to mid-70s. Average March temperatures are usually in the upper 50s or low 60s. They may not be record-setting, but that means recent temperatures are as much as 15 degrees warmer than usual.
A ridge of high pressure has kept western Colorado warm in recent days, but it should break down this weekend, Stackhouse said. With two systems moving into the area next week, that means more cloud cover and precipitation should be on the way. Wednesday’s predicted high is 66.
“It definitely has been a really warm spring,” Stackhouse said.
She referenced the Climate Prediction Center’s updated spring outlook, available at cpc.ncep.noaa.gov. Even as temperatures cool, the center’s outlook indicates warmer-than-average days are likely.
Snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin remains well ahead of normal thanks to big storms earlier in the winter. As of Friday, that snowpack was 125 percent of normal.
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