Denver weather: Frigid temperatures could snap a 148-year-old record

Denver has been keeping weather records continuously since 1872, meaning there are 148 Octobers that are now in the city’s history books. Each day in those 148 Octobers, the thermometer has never failed to reach at least 18 degrees. That streak could be frozen today.

The current record for Denver’s coldest high temperature on Oct. 26 is a “balmy” 31 degrees, set back in 1923. With today’s high temperature struggling to escape the teens, this record is going to be obliterated. If the mercury does not rise above 17 degrees, it will set a new record for the coldest October high temperature ever recorded in Denver.

A fresh snowpack is the main ingredient in the recipe for a record cold afternoon. The brightness of the snow reflects a lot of the incoming sunlight back out to space, which does not leave much energy to warm us up. Additionally, the air mass that has been dropping out of the Arctic and making inroads into the northwestern United States for the past several days is among the coldest to be observed so early in the season.

For some context, this is approximately two months ahead of schedule to see an afternoon high this cold. Denver’s average first date for a high in the teens is Dec. 23, and there have been a handful of years where it has never even happened at all during the entire winter season.

The records won’t stop this afternoon. Fresh snow underneath a clearing sky will allow for temperatures to plunge once again into early Tuesday morning. Subzero readings are likely in the higher terrain and low-lying areas of the Plains, with single digits elsewhere.

The current record low temperature in Denver for Oct. 27 is 11 degrees. That record is also going to get smashed, as temperatures at Denver International Airport could flirt with zero early Tuesday morning. That would mark three consecutive days with single-digit lows in the metro, which is a very impressive feat for October standards. In fact, it only happened one other time — Oct. 29 to Oct. 31 of last year.

Ben Reppert is a meteorologist with WeatherNation TV.

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