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Old 08-29-2007, 09:32 PM
mdz mdz started this thread
 
Location: Near West Burbs, IL
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As many posters end up asking the same question about the weather in CO, I think it's reasonable to make this a sticky thread. Suggested to me by pittnurse.

So maybe some of the local talent can start us off by giving the overview (again, hopefully for the last time )
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:26 AM
 
Location: in the southwest
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Mdz,good idea.
My two cents, as one who lived in Colorado 1969-2005:
I am one of those people who thinks Denver's weather--in general--is beautiful, because I love the abundant sunshine and going outside no matter what the season.
But I am also one of those frustrated gardeners who finds the early and late freezes/snows a real slog to get through. Yeah, you'll get your occasional balmy 68 degrees in January, but don't forget about those grim May snowfalls.
In more than one spring, I have seen crabapple trees, covered with blossoms, in pieces on the snow-covered ground.
So keep those windshield scrapers handy, folks.
Denver Snow and Freeze Statistics: Earliest and Latest
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Highlands Ranch, CO
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As the saying goes in Colorado, if you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes and it will change. A bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. I remember people sunbathing on the CU Boulder campus one day and 6 inches of snow was on the ground the next. I remember one January where temps got into the 80's and I remember snow in June. So, basically, the weather can be unpredictable, but bad weather does not stay around for long.

You will hear often that CO gets lots of sunshine, more than "sunny" locations like Florida and San Diego. That is very true and not an exaggeration. This makes CO very desireable for those that like to be outdoors. We do have the healthiest and thinnest population in the US. Since there is less atmosphere, due to our altitude, you do need to be more careful about using sunscreen.

In the summer time we can quite often (sometimes seems like every day) get afternoon thunderstorms. They can be quite spectacular. The mornings will be just beautiful and then the black clouds will roll in, dump some rain, and then roll out. At times we can get hail, sometimes damaging hail. We do not often get tornaodes. That is more common further out on the plains to the east of Denver (but still nothing like the frequency of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas). Temp wise, it can get into the 80's and 90's and occassionally the lower 100's. Some of these CO real estate agents will tell you that you do not need an air conditioner, don't believe them.

Humidity here is very low, especially in the winter. It leads to dry skin, chapped lips, dry mouth if you sleep with clogged sinuses, and you will find yourself being more thirsty. I tend to get more frequent nosebleeds, but not too often. Having a humidifier around helps. Even better would be a whole house humidifier.

CO is a 4 season state, so no one should be surprised that we get snow and cold. Typically, we get a few inches of snow and it is gone within a few days. This last winter was not typical, due to the big blizzard we had in January and snow storms that rolled in every week after that. Temps can be in the 30's and 40's, generally. We can get some subzero temps, but not usually for long periods. When the temp is in the 40's and the sun is out with no wind, you can see people out in t-shirts (my daughter would also be in flip-flops). With the low humidity, the temperature does not feel as bad as the thermometer reads. We can get blizzards that will shut down the city, but not very frequently (a few years between typically). The biggest blizzard that I was here for was the Christmas Eve blizzard of '82. We still made it out and about the day after the blizzard. I have never had cabin fever here.

If you have a long driveway and sidewalks, you may want to invest in a snow thrower. They are especially nice to have with the big snows and the wet (thus heavy) snows that can happen in spring and fall. When we do get those wet snows, you do have to be careful for your trees, if they still have leaves on them. The wet heavy snow can easily break branches, so it is good to beat the snow off of them. We had neighbors that lost entire trees due to wet snow (one even snapped right at the trunk base). In the spring, my wife also covers up her flowers to keep their stems from getting bent and broken. If you have a driveway that faces north, be prepared to have a perpetual ice dam in your gutter and you will likely shovel more snow than those across the street from you since they can let the sun melt some of it away.

The road crews generally do a good job of keeping the roads plowed. Residential streets have lowest priority. It is always adviseable to slow down when there is snow and ice on the road. That should not be a surprise, but people get over confident and then end up in a ditch. Snow tires are not really necessary in the metro area. A good set of all weather tires will do. FWD, AWD, 4WD vehicles are much better around here than RWD. Though, some people think that 4WD or AWD means that you will have 4 wheel stop. That is not the case, so again, go slow.

I think I covered the basics of CO weather. Really, CO has quite pleasant weather compared to the other 4 season states. Though, if you can't deal with occasional cold ("hot house" flowers as I call them), then you should not move to CO; otherwise, I think you will like it here.

Last edited by gpraceman; 08-30-2007 at 11:08 AM..
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Denver
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Thank you so much for this information. I am really excited for my upcoming move to Denver and escaping the terrible bone chilling winters in Chicago!

I cannot wait for winter and snowboard season to begin!
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:56 PM
 
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I'm still confused and maybe I always will be unless I spend some time in the Denver area but I look up averages for temperatures in the Denver area and they do not look very attractive to me. I am from the Louisville, KY area and I want to get away from the winters here-- they are cloudy and gray all of the time, often cold for months at a time, and I find myself staying inside the house all of the time. From the temperatures alone, Denver is colder than Louisville every month of the year. The daytime temperatures are probably about the same but Denver gets much cooler at night. I have heard a lot of people say they love it but I like being able to walk outside at 10 or 11pm and it still be warm May-August. In April it usually warms up into the 70s here but at night it drops probably into the 50s and sometimes 40s and it's cold. I don't like that. Denver seems like the night time low is usually below 60 except in the summer time. It can be in the 80s during the day in May but 50s at night. Is it just a different kind of cold there or what? As far as I'm concerned cold is cold but I have heard a lot of people say it can be in the 40s and 50s and still not feel cold in Denver ... Can anyone who has lived in the Denver area and also the Louisville area or somewhere in this region describe the differences? On paper it looks like Denver is colder than it is here but maybe the way it actually feels is different.

I am debating moving to the Denver, Dallas, or maybe Phoenix metro areas. I'm not much of a cold weather fan but I don't mind some cold-- just not months and months at a time of cold with no light at the end of the tunnel until you get to April. Based on my climate preferences Denver isn't looking good but I don't want to give up on it just yet. I just find it hard to believe that you can comfortably wear a t-shirt in 50 degree weather.
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Old 08-30-2007, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Highlands Ranch, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSL63087 View Post
As far as I'm concerned cold is cold but I have heard a lot of people say it can be in the 40s and 50s and still not feel cold in Denver ...
...
I just find it hard to believe that you can comfortably wear a t-shirt in 50 degree weather.
It's all about the low humidity and lots of sunshine. We get over 300 days of sunshine a year. The humidity level is usually in the 30% range. The lack of moisture on your skin does make it feel warmer. Then add the warmth of the sun and you can be wearing t-shirts when it is in the 40's. We have the healthiest and thinnest population in the US, so the winters do not keep people from doing lots of outdoors stuff.

Also, with my kids, being raised in SoCal, you would think they would have trouble with the cold. That is not the case. My teenage daughter often wears t-shirts and even flip-flops to school. Check out the photos that I posted in the Colorado forum, Colorado Pics. Those show pictures from our December blizzard. Notice the pictures of my daughter and son and what they are wearing.
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Old 08-30-2007, 01:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpraceman View Post
It's all about the low humidity and lots of sunshine. We get over 300 days of sunshine a year. The humidity level is usually in the 30% range. The lack of moisture on your skin does make it feel warmer. Then add the warmth of the sun and you can be wearing t-shirts when it is in the 40's. We have the healthiest and thinnest population in the US, so the winters do not keep people from doing lots of outdoors stuff.

Also, with my kids, being raised in SoCal, you would think they would have trouble with the cold. That is not the case. My teenage daughter often wears t-shirts and even flip-flops to school. Check out the photos that I posted in the Colorado forum, Colorado Pics. Those show pictures from our December blizzard. Notice the pictures of my daughter and son and what they are wearing.
What about at night?... I mentioned in my first post that I wasn't a big fan of cold nights. I know it's obviously cold at night in winter probably every day but what about as you start getting into May the night temperatures are in the 40s and 50s in a lot of cases. Here it's probably mid-upper 60s so it's nice at night in late spring. Are those 40 and 50 degree nights still comfortable since the sun isn't out? Here lows at night of 40 or 50 are not comfortable at all.
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Old 08-30-2007, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Highlands Ranch, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSL63087 View Post
Are those 40 and 50 degree nights still comfortable since the sun isn't out? Here lows at night of 40 or 50 are not comfortable at all.
What's the humidty level like there? Without the sun, of course, it will feel colder, but with the lower humidity here, it will not be a bone chilling cold like you would feel with more moisture in the air.

If cold is that much of a concern to you, than maybe Dallas or Phoenix would be a better fit. However, you will than have to deal with the heat and humidity of Dallas, and the sweltering heat of Phoenix. Personally, I can tolerate cold much better than heat. Some people do better in the heat.
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Old 08-30-2007, 01:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpraceman View Post
What's the humidty level like there? Without the sun, of course, it will feel colder, but with the lower humidity here, it will not be a bone chilling cold like you would feel with more moisture in the air.
60% range I think at night. It's usually low-mid 40% during the day and 60-70% at night I think.

Say you are at a Rockies game in May. Game time is 7:00 or whatever and the high that day was 75F let's say. With a high of 75 the low in Denver is usually low 50s at least according to the temperatures on the NWS site. By 9:30 when it's completely dark and dropping down into the 50s, will you need to have a jacket to wear or could you still go with a t-shirt comfortably? Basically I don't want to live somewhere that I'd need to carry a jacket around all of the time even in May or June so I'd have it for when it was colder at night.
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Old 08-30-2007, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Highlands Ranch, CO
615 posts, read 2,832,134 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSL63087 View Post
60% range I think at night. It's usually low-mid 40% during the day and 60-70% at night I think.

Say you are at a Rockies game in May. Game time is 7:00 or whatever and the high that day was 75F let's say. With a high of 75 the low in Denver is usually low 50s at least according to the temperatures on the NWS site. By 9:30 when it's completely dark and dropping down into the 50s, will you need to have a jacket to wear or could you still go with a t-shirt comfortably? Basically I don't want to live somewhere that I'd need to carry a jacket around all of the time even in May or June so I'd have it for when it was colder at night.
That is significantly higher humidity than here. In Fall and early Spring, you usually do need to have a light jacket or sweatshirt handy. I don't know that you'd really need one in June.

Just remember, there is no "perfect" climate. Not even San Diego, where I lived for 16 years before moving back here. You will make tradeoffs whereever you go. It is all about what you are willing to put up with.
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