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Recent lack of snow over Southern Colorado prompts fire weather concerns

Colorado Springs winter snow
Southern Colorado December/January snowfall
Posted at 5:07 PM, Jan 14, 2020

It's the middle of winter, and snow has been scarce across most of Southern Colorado.

Instead of snow, our First Alert 5 weather team is busy this week tracking high wind and fire danger.

We have to look back almost a full month to December 16, 2019, the last day that both Colorado Springs and Pueblo reported snowfall of more than 1" in a single day.

Colorado Springs winter snow
Where's the winter snow Colorado Springs?

There's been a few light dustings of snow since then, but we're talking the equivalent of hundredths of an inch of liquid precipitation since mid-December.

Since December 1, 2019, we've seen a total of less than 5.0" of snow in the Springs and only about 3.5" of snow in Pueblo. Both cities are running a deficit of more than a half a foot of snow.

Southern Colorado December/January snowfall
Southern Colorado snowfall summary since December

Almost all of that snow fell from a single storm that hit Southern Colorado December 15th and 16th.

Based on climatology, January is traditionally the snowiest month for Pueblo and the third snowiest for the Springs.

The lack of normal snowfall and a prolonged period of dry and windy weather has brought fire weather back into the conversation this week.

A Red Flag Warning in effect since late Tuesday morning for Las Animas and Baca counties was allowed to expire at 5 pm.

Greg Heavener, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says that high fire danger in mid-January is fairly common across the Plains, and not as rare as one might think.

"Our fire weather season can be all months of the year. We never really stop watching fire weather conditions occur. If we get really dry any time of the year, we can have fire weather issues like we do in January."

Due to high winds and the associated high fire weather risk, an open burn ban that was in place until sunset in Pueblo County has since expired.