NewsCovering Colorado


The Palmer Divide, a strong influence on local weather

Posted at 8:51 PM, Nov 17, 2022

EL PASO COUNTY — The distance from the north end of Colorado Springs to the south end of Denver is less than 45 miles.

Yet several times over the past couple of weeks Denver’s gotten snow on the ground while Colorado Springs was cold but dry.

“The terrain in Colorado is everything for our weather,” said News 5 Meteorologist, Alex O’Brien.

In the area between Colorado Springs and Denver there is east/west visually subtle geography that is a big weather factor.

It is called the Palmer Divide.

On the south side of the divide in El Paso County from the city of Fountain up to the town of Monument where the Palmer Divide begins you rise close to two thousand feet in elevation.

When you get to the other side of the divide near Denver the elevation drops.

If you have this massive low pressure system that's throughout the entire atmosphere, Denver and Colorado Springs will get snow,“ said O’Brien, “But if you have a more subtle storm system that's mostly driven by surface winds, then we have totally different conditions.”

Depending on how a storm moves in and the direction of wind it can keep snow on one side or the other of the divide.

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