National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

March 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.*

 

March 2018 saw a couple of good disturbances move through the area. The first decent storm of the month occurred on March 4th when a cold front quickly pushed through the region under the influence of a 120 knot upper level jet. Mild temperatures ahead of this system kept snow levels high until the cold front lowered them to valley floors, generally north of Interstate 70. The northern and central mountains averaged 4 to 8 inches with this system. A larger Pacific storm system impacted eastern Utah and western Colorado on March 18th and 19th. Ample moisture, cooler air, and instability resulted in the development of some snow bands and heavier snow rates across some areas. This also drove snow levels down to valley floors with the Grand Junction Airport picking up a quick 0.2 inches of snow. The mountains averaged 4 to 10 inches with locally higher amounts of over a foot reported in the San Juan Mountains.

 

Even though we had these storms push through eastern Utah and western Colorado in March the bulk of precipitation favored the mountains which resulted in most areas ending the month below normal. The northern valleys were an exception with both the Craig and Meeker Airports ending March 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 1.15 inches below normal after only receiving 0.10 inches of precipitation. Temperatures were above normal for March, but not by much, with mean temperatures generally ranging from 0.5 to 3 degrees above normal for the month. The highest reported temperature during the month from these stations was 75 degrees which occurred at the Canyonlands Airport in Moab, Utah on March 31st. The coldest temperature of 2 degrees was measured at the Meeker Airport on March 5th.

 

Grand Junction had an average monthly temperature of 45.1 degrees which was 1.2 degrees above normal. The highest temperature was 72 degrees on March 14th and 31st and the lowest was 14 on the 6th. 0.59 inches of precipitation fell which was 0.33 inches below normal for the month. Only 0.2 inches of snow fell which was 2.4 inches below normal.

 

Taking a quick look ahead to April, 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. Drier conditions are favored to persist across much of the area, except further north where extended guidance does not favor either above or below normal precipitation at this time.

 

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).