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Denver still hasn't hit the 90-degree mark yet this year

By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
June 15, 2019, 2:34:19 AM EDT

Many other places around the country have hit the milestone already this year, some far to the north of Denver -- but not the Mile High City. Yet.

The temperature in Denver has not reached the 90-degree mark so far in 2019. Typically, in Denver, the temperature has reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit on multiple days by this point in the year. Usually, the city hits its "first 90" by June 10.

Take last year, for example: In 2018, Denver had 14 days on which the mercury soared to at least 90 degrees through June 14. The highest temperature recorded in the city so far this year is 86 F. The city's average high for this time of year is 82, and temperatures have mostly been reaching the high 70s and low 80s, with a few cool days mixed in. But no 90 yet this year.

Meanwhile, at several locations in the north-central United States, temperatures were abnormally high in recent days, hitting the 90-degree mark. In Minnesota, Minneapolis rang up a 90-degree temperature on June 7 and International Falls topped out at 92 F on the same day.

"The unseasonably warm day in Minneapolis and International Falls was caused by a southwest flow of air downsloping from the Rockies into the northern Plains," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker.

But still no such heat for Denver, even though a major heat wave scorched a large swath of the western U.S. this past week.

Cities like Minneapolis and International Falls have also experienced longer periods of drier weather, in comparison to places like Kansas City and Oklahoma City, which, like Denver, also have yet to see temperatures rise into the 90s. Frequent rounds of rain and thunderstorms have made the ground wet in these cities, and that is a factor in keeping temperatures down -- even on sunny days.

"When the ground is wet, more of the sun's energy goes toward evaporating the moisture and less is available for heating the ground and the air near the ground," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

The southern Plains region has had numerous days of unsettled weather with showers and thunderstorms leading to plenty of cloud cover and lower-than-normal temperatures, Walker said.

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Another factor in Denver not reaching the 90-degree mark is the heavy late-season snowfall that pounded the area toward the end of May this year. Several locations outside of the city accumulated more than a foot of snow as late as May 21. And Denver had its snowiest May in 44 years, according to NOAA, piling up 3.9 inches of snow over the course of the month.

On June 3, the National Weather Service office in Denver shared a photo comparison of the Colorado mountains this year versus last year. According to the NWS, the Colorado mountains are experiencing one of its latest meltout rates this spring.

So when will Denver finally hit 90? Not through next week.

It will actually turn noticeably cooler through next week before more typical summer heat builds for the end of June, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda.

"A series of disturbances moving across the Rockies into the Plains this weekend and early next week will set the stage for cooler weather. High temperatures will be in the lower to middle 70s most days in Denver," Sojda said.

Denver may not hit the 90-degree mark until June 27, when a shift in the weather pattern will likely bring warmer weather. If that temperature forecast pans out, Sojda explained, that would be the latest “first 90” in Denver since 1982, when it took until June 28 for the mercury to climb that high.

"The upper-level winds will shift, directing hotter air from the Desert Southwest toward the region, as opposed to the cooler Canadian flow," Sojda said. "In the last week of June this shift will take place. Heat will build enough to bring what will likely be Denver’s first 90 degree days of the season during the middle and latter parts of that week," he added.

Sojda said the earliest the Mile High City has officially registered a 90-degree temperature at the airport was way back on April 30, 1992. And the latest "first 90" in the city's history occurred on July 21, 1967.

Normal high temperatures for the end of June in Denver are in the upper 80s, with high temperatures around 90 being normal for much of July.

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