Denver finally saw its first snowfall of the season on Friday, shattering an 87-year-old record for the latest first snow.
It wasn’t much: The official measurement at the Denver International Airport was three-tenths of an inch (7.6 millimeters), according to Jim Kalina, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder.
Before Friday, the Mile High City’s latest first snow was on Nov. 21, 1934.
Kalina said the Denver metro region is experiencing extended La Nina weather patterns which tend to produce drier weather. And much of the U.S. West is experiencing a megadrought that studies link to human-caused climate change.
Climate scientists and meteorologists warn that the prolonged drought and lack of snow could threaten water supply and agriculture.
In Utah, where Salt Lake City went snowless through November for only the second time since 1976, the first snowstorm hit this week to ensure the city didn’t match the record for the latest snowfall on record. That was set twice on Christmas Day in 1939 and 1943.
As the winter storms start dumping snow, states may see the effects of a lack of snowplow drivers due to the nationwide labor shortage.