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Denver’s February snow record is more of a record than it seems

Posted by Richard on February 28, 2015

Officially, Denver set a new record for February snowfall, but just barely. Through Friday, the official total snowfall was 22.4 inches, just edging out the previous record of 22.1 set in 1912. But wait…

Since 2008, the National Weather Service’s official recording site has been Denver International Airport, about 20 miles east of downtown. In 1912, the official site was in downtown Denver. Being so far out on the eastern plains, DIA typically gets less snow than areas farther to the west. That’s because it sees less of the upslope effect that brings heavy snowfall when winds from the east or northeast hit the mountains west of Denver and the Palmer Divide to the south.

According to KMGH-7 meteorologist Matt Makens, the old record for downtown Denver was unofficially broken a couple of days earlier (and subsequent snow no doubt pushed the total there several inches higher). The unofficial City Park recording station, just a couple or three miles from downtown, recorded over 30 inches in February.

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