National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

April 2018 Climate Summary for Eastern Utah and Western Colorado

*Please note that all data mentioned is collected from our automated observing stations from 10 different airports across eastern Utah and western Colorado. Some of our cooperative observers in more remote areas may have measured warmer or colder temperatures, or more or less precipitation than what was mentioned in this summary.*

 

 

April 2018 saw a couple of good disturbances move through the area. The first decent storm of the month occurred on April 7th and 8th when the second in a series of shortwave disturbances associated with a strong atmospheric river moved through western Colorado. This resulted in periods of moderate to heavy snowfall over the northern and central Colorado mountains. The mild nature of this system kept snow levels high with the bulk of accumulations falling above 9,000 feet. The northern and central Colorado mountains generally saw 4 to 12 inches of new snowfall. Travel was impacted over Interstate 70 with Vail Pass closing for over 4 hours due to multiple spun out vehicles. This same system produced heavy rainfall in many valley locations with amounts ranging from half and inch to over an inch with a peak report of 1.65 inches from a spotter in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Another moist and unseasonably cold Pacific trough produced significant to heavy late-season snowfall to the mountain areas of western Colorado with 5 to 12 inches of snow. Highway 550 from Ouray to Red Mountain Pass received 10 to 17 inches. This area also saw near blizzard-like conditions as a result of strong gusty winds. Snow drifts were up to 2 feet deep and visibility was near zero. Other areas also saw strong winds with gusts ranging from 45 to 65 mph for many valleys and exceeding 75 mph in some of the higher elevations!

 

Even though we had these storms push through eastern Utah and western Colorado in April the bulk of precipitation favored the mountains which resulted in several areas ending the month below normal. The northern valleys were an exception with the Craig, Meeker, Aspen and Rifle Airports ending April above normal, based on the data collected from our automated stations at 10 different airports. The greatest deficit occurred in the southern valleys with the Durango La-Plata County Airport sitting at 0.90 inches below normal after only receiving 0.20 inches of precipitation. Temperatures were above normal for April with mean temperatures generally ranging from 1 to 3 degrees above normal for the month. The highest reported temperature during the month from these stations was 85 degrees which occurred at the Canyonlands Airport in Moab, Utah on April 28th. The coldest temperature of 11 degrees was measured at the Aspen Airport on April 18th.
 

Grand Junction had an average monthly temperature of 54.4 degrees which was 2.7 degrees above normal. The highest temperature was 81 degrees on April 23rd and the lowest was 27 on the 18th. 0.69 inches of precipitation fell which was 0.22 inches below normal for the month. No snowfall fell which was 0.9 inches below normal.

 

Taking a quick look ahead to May, the official forecast from the Climate Prediction Center (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/) shows odds favoring warmer than normal temperatures continuing across eastern Utah and western Colorado with wetter than normal conditions, especially in northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado.

 

The preliminary climate summary for some of our automated stations can be found on the attached slide show. For more climate information from other sites, please visit our climate page on our website at http://w2.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=gjt (select the NOWDATA tab for even more sites). You can also follow us on Facebook (@NWSGrandJunction) or Twitter (@NWSGJT).