November in Aspen was chilly, snowy
December 14, 2010
ASPEN – This week’s unseasonably balmy temperatures in Aspen may dim the memory of November, but just for the record, it was colder than average and boasted the most snow in the past decade, with 33 inches, according to the city.
The high for the month was 63.5 degrees while the low was 13 below. The overall average temperature for November was 28.5 degrees, significantly cooler than the average of 35.3 degrees a year ago, in November 2009.
While snowfall at the water plant measured 33 inches in November, the average for the past 76 years is 22.2 inches, according to the city.
“This November was a couple of degrees cooler than the average for November, considering the last 19 years of data,” said Lee Cassin, director of the city Environmental Health Department, in a press release. “November has been warming faster than any other month in Aspen. This was a welcome departure from that trend.”
While Aspen was cooler, that wasn’t the case for the rest of the country. The Northeast had the warmest November to date on record, and the continental United States as a whole was slightly warmer than normal in November, according to the press release. Several states had some of their wettest falls on record, while other areas were extremely dry. Lamar, Colo. for example, had its driest November on record with no precipitation.
Particulate air pollution, or PM-10, in Aspen was about average in November, except for a Nov. 18-19 spike that followed several days of snow. Warm temperatures after the snow dried the streets out and traffic kicked dirt from the sanded streets into the air, Cassin explained. PM-10 levels are measured from a rooftop device on the Pitkin County Library.
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So far in December, Aspen has enjoyed snow interspersed with spring-like temperatures. There have been no sub-zero readings yet this month, according to the Water Department data, and the average overall temperature was 27.3 as of Monday.
There were two 45-degree days early in December, and highs in the 40s were expected Monday and Tuesday, but snow is forecast Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Snowmass has received 21 inches of snow so far this month – about half of the average for December, which is 43 inches, according to the Aspen Skiing Co. At the water plant, about 7 inches has fallen so far this month.
In November, the upper slopes of Snowmass collected 36 inches of snow, 10 inches more than a year ago.
According to Water Department records, December 2009 was a chilly month, with an average temperature of 18 degrees, though it did hit 47 degrees on Dec. 1, 2009. The lowest temperature for the month last year was 9 below on Dec. 9; the low temperature dropped below zero on 11 days and hit zero on a couple of others in December 2009.
December snowfall last year totaled 25.8 inches at water plant, edging above the average for the month of 24.9 inches.