April Snow

Following a warm, dry March (usually Metro Denver's snowiest month), I returned from Missouri to find our crab apple trees in full bloom; it was April 3 and recent rain showers had greened-up the farm, making it look more like mid April.  Mild air augmented that illusion but change would come overnight.

Upslope precipitation developed late in the evening, starting off as rain and changing over to wet snow; by the morning of April 4, three inches coated the trees, shrubs, pastures and "lawns."  Since the overnight low hovered near 33 degrees F and since the snow offers some insulation for the blossoms, it appeared that our crab apple crop might survive the early April snowstorm. But while most of the snow melted yesterday afternoon, a second wave of snow moved southward through Metro Denver last evening, re-coating the landscape with another three inches.

Such is the nature of spring in Colorado.  In my 35 years of living along the Front Range, I have found that April often produces more "winter weather" than March does (though official statistics suggest otherwise).  Of course, these late blasts of snow and cold weather have more effect on more varieties of fruit trees than those that arrive in March.  No doubt, many homeowners and orchard managers are frustrated by this annual pattern but the many benefits of living in this region are products of the same geography and climate that deliver spring snowstorms.