As a local meteorologist, I get my fair share of comments and opinions on recent weather in southern Colorado. What I have been hearing a lot this winter is that "it feels like it's been really cold." I myself have thought that a time or two.
So, has it been a really cold winter in southern Colorado?
The short answer: no, not really.
The long answer:
In January, at the Colorado Springs airport, the average high temperature was 42°, which was 3 degrees below average. That is a notably colder skew in the observations. But the average low was 20.2°, about 1.7° above average. The mean temperature (average between the highs and the lows) was 31.1°.
So, the mean temperature in January in Colorado Springs was only 0.6° below average. This ranks as the 69th coldest January on record.
In Pueblo, the average high temperature was 45.9°, which was 2.5° below average. The average low was 14.5°, which was 0.9° below average. The mean temperature comes in at 30.2° for January, being 1.7° below average.
So, Pueblo's January ranks as the 61st coldest on record.
Certainly, nothing to write home about. Although, Denver had a more notable month at a mean temperature of 31.7°, which was 6.7° below average and ranks as the 17th coldest January on record.
By the way, December was 1° below average in Colorado Springs, 2.2° below average in Pueblo, and 1.9° below average in Denver.
So, while temperatures have been slightly below average in southern Colorado, they fall much closer to a normal range.
Perhaps our perception is skewed because there has been more snow on the ground. Or has there?
In Colorado Springs, the official data site is the airport. At the Colorado Springs airport, the number of days with 0.1" or more of snow on the ground was 5 in December and the 20-year average number of days is 5. In January, there were 7 days with snow on the ground, the average is again 5 days. While the exact number of days may be different where you live, the trend shows that December was normal and January has a little more than normal snow on the ground. Again, not an extreme deviation away from the norm.
Speaking of extreme, our brain tends to remember the extreme weather events of the day-to-day conditions. The notable cold snap before Christmas and at the end of January may come to the forefront of our memory when thinking about recent weather. Maybe this leads us to think it's been much colder this year.
Or perhaps we recall recent winters as our main comparison. The winter of 2021-2022 was warmer than normal, so this year feels like a contrast.
Regardless, if you are like me, and just don't prefer the cold so everything feels "way too cold", spring is right around the corner on March 20th.\
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