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Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Denver’s flexible snow plowing policy

Posted by Richard on February 23, 2019

When we get snow in Denver, the city generally plows only main streets (those with a yellow stripe down the middle). The official policy is that residential streets only get plowed when a foot or more of snow falls. Last night’s storm dumped only about half that in my neighborhood.

But this morning, either my block experienced about a week’s worth of traffic or a plow came through. I’m pretty sure it was the latter. So what gives? Why the deviation from policy?

Oh, that’s right. The mayor is up for reelection this spring. Ain’t politics grand?

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Polar vortex update

Posted by Richard on December 17, 2016

As of 11:23 AM, the temperature in Denver has risen to 0°, with a wind chill of only -11°. There’s a good 6-7″ of fresh snow in my yard.

The “climate experts” assure me that this is due to anthropogenic global warming. So I’m going to do my part and not drive anywhere for the rest of the weekend.

UPDATE, 10:30 PM: We topped out at 3° this afternoon, a new record low high. Earlier this evening, it dropped to -15°, a new record low. But recently the wind shifted from the north to the south, so it’s “warmed up” to -3°. So I guess the worst is over.

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Denver’s February snow record is more of a record than it seems

Posted by Richard on February 28, 2015

Officially, Denver set a new record for February snowfall, but just barely. Through Friday, the official total snowfall was 22.4 inches, just edging out the previous record of 22.1 set in 1912. But wait…

Since 2008, the National Weather Service’s official recording site has been Denver International Airport, about 20 miles east of downtown. In 1912, the official site was in downtown Denver. Being so far out on the eastern plains, DIA typically gets less snow than areas farther to the west. That’s because it sees less of the upslope effect that brings heavy snowfall when winds from the east or northeast hit the mountains west of Denver and the Palmer Divide to the south.

According to KMGH-7 meteorologist Matt Makens, the old record for downtown Denver was unofficially broken a couple of days earlier (and subsequent snow no doubt pushed the total there several inches higher). The unofficial City Park recording station, just a couple or three miles from downtown, recorded over 30 inches in February.

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White Christmas in Denver

Posted by Richard on December 25, 2014

It was in the mid-40s at 9 this morning. Then the cold front moved in. We’re in the mid-20s now, and headed near 0° by morning. The snow began around mid-afternoon and is expected to continue until tomorrow afternoon or evening. It’s very lovely and Christmas-y, but I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere; the roads are a mess.

Historically, Denver has snow on Christmas 14% of the time — a one-in-seven chance. Our last white Christmas was 2007, so this year’s Christmas snowfall is right on schedule. 🙂

Merry Christmas!

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The weather is never boring in Colorado

Posted by Richard on April 2, 2012

If you like variety, you’ve gotta love Colorado weather. After the wettest and second-snowiest February on record, March was the driest and second-warmest on record. This past weekend, Denver had clear blue skies and temps in the mid to upper 80s.

Thirty-odd hours later, it’s cold and windy — and starting to snow. 7News is forecasting that Denver will get 4″ tonight and tomorrow, while areas south and west of town will get 9-12″ or more. Seventeen Colorado counties are under winter weather advisories, watches, or warnings.

I guess I got my shorts and Hawaiian shirts out too soon.

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Snow-free at last

Posted by Richard on March 15, 2012

After several days of spring-like weather, the south side of my back yard (shaded all winter by my neighbor’s fence) is finally free of snow cover for the first time since before Thanksgiving.

I blame global warming.

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Ski season is here

Posted by Richard on October 8, 2011

Wolf Creek Ski Area is opening Saturday, after getting three feet of snow earlier this week. They may have another eight inches or so by the time they open, with more snow falling throughout Saturday. This will be their earliest opening ever — by 19 days!

Here in Denver, it's going to drop to the low 30s tonight, along with rain mixed with snow, and the foothills west of town (down to about 6000 ft.) will get accumulating snow. 

I'm sure this is another sign of global warming. Somebody call Al Gore. 🙂 

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Fresh snow for summer

Posted by Richard on June 20, 2011

On Friday, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announced that they'll be open through July 4. They still have a 50" base. By Monday evening, there may be 8" of fresh snow on top of that. Most of the Colorado mountains are under a winter weather advisory from tonight through tomorrow. Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park is already closed.

It makes stories like these seem kind of silly, doesn't it? 

Oh, wait … I forgot … unusual cold and snow are also signs of global warming. Along with heat, drought, floods, tornados, hurricanes, the absence of hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, … Everything is a sign of global warming. 🙂

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Memorial Day skiing

Posted by Richard on May 27, 2011

If you're a skier or snowboarder, forget the backyard barbecue, camping trip, or beach vacation. Head for Aspen this Memorial Day weekend! They've got so much new snow, they're reopening Aspen Mountain for this weekend and for weekends in June for as long as conditions permit. I believe it's been at least 15 years since they've been open this late.

You know all those cold fronts that brought the terrible storms and tornadoes to the Midwest and Southeast over the last few weeks? Before heading east, each of them dumped up to a foot of snow on the Colorado mountains. The average snowpack level is at 247% of normal. 

Is Aspen too far for you? There are a bunch of other ski resorts open this weekend. Closer to Denver, Arapahoe Basin remains open daily (as is generally the case) through early June and maybe for weekends after that.

Remember all those stories a few years ago about how global warming was going to cripple the ski industry and dramatically shorten skiing seasons? 🙂  

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Epic snowfall in the Colorado mountains

Posted by Richard on December 22, 2010

Last week, I mentioned that this year's La Niña was bringing lots of snow to the mountains, while leaving Denver and the eastern plains mild and dry. Since then, it's been doing that in spades. The weather reports have switched from forecasting snow totals in inches to feet.

Colorado's ski resorts have received 1-3 feet or more of new snow since the weekend. And it's just getting started. The jet-stream pattern they call the "Pineapple Express" continues to funnel Pacific moisture into the Colorado mountains at a prodigious rate.

The southwestern part of the state, which had been neglected by earlier storms, has been especially favored by this one. Silverton Mountain (a.k.a. Purgatory) got almost 3 feet in a 24-hour period. In one week, the region went from a snowpack of less than 50% of normal to well over 100%.

By Christmas Eve, many locations above 9,000 ft. will have gotten 7-8 feet of new snow. Everyone's using the phrase "epic snowfall" to describe what's happening.

I don't mean to sound like the Colorado Tourism Office, but if you're a skier or boarder, you need to get your ass up there. 🙂

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Colorado weather update

Posted by Richard on December 16, 2010

For the benefit (?) of those of you back east suffering under some of the worst winter weather in ages, the low in Denver on Tuesday morning was 35°. That's 2° above Atlanta's high for the day. We reached a record high of 70°. Lest you blame my SUV, the previous record of 69° was set in the 1920s before there were SUVs.

Denver has had an extremely mild and dry winter so far, with lots of days in the 60s recently. Atlanta has had more snow so far this December than Denver. The reason isn't global warming, it's a strong La Niña. But before you Easterners get too jealous, we're about to get a change. A cold front moving in Wednesday afternoon should bring 3-6" of snow to the Denver area by Thursday morning, along with highs in the 30s.

If news of our mild weather is causing you to reconsider that ski trip, don't. The La Niña pattern, as usual, has been sending Pacific storms out of the northwest into the Rockies every few days for many weeks, and the mountain snowfalls have been epic. Steamboat had a record November, with over 90" of snow. Most of the other big destination resorts aren't far behind. The northern and central mountain resorts have been getting about a foot or so of new snow every 3 or 4 days for weeks now. 

It's the best of both worlds — awesome snow in the mountains and golfing or biking weather down here in the city. The only problem for skiers has been getting to the mountains. They have to time their drive in between I-70 closures. 🙂

UPDATE (12/16): The winter storm for Denver fizzled. No snow, just cold — so I think Atlanta's still ahead of us in December snowfall. 🙂 But the mountains got a decent dumping, and I-70 was closed for several hours. 

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Anyone can be an expert on a TV newscast

Posted by Richard on March 25, 2010

We had about 10" of wet, heavy snow yesterday and overnight — typical March storm — and all over Denver there were fallen branches and downed trees and power lines. On one of the local newscasts tonight, they talked with a "tree expert" (I think he was from the Denver Forestry Dept.) about what people should do to save their trees. He advised people to try to knock the snow off because "if it freezes overnight, it'll become twice as heavy."

Who knew that H2O was capable of such an amazing transformation? Is that what they mean by "heavy water"?

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Another nor’easter??

Posted by Richard on February 26, 2010

Jeez, you guys in the Northeast have just been hammered this winter! Are you hanging in there? Have they called out the National Guard?

Is there anything we can send? Snow shovels, sled dogs, space heaters, flashlights, Al Gore pinatas …?

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Ski season is here

Posted by Richard on October 7, 2009

On the last day of summer, amidst unusually cold weather and an early natural snowfall, Loveland Ski Area fired up its snowmaking machinery. Tomorrow morning, it opens for the season:

"We took advantage of the cold temperatures and got an early start making snow this year. Those extra days paid off and we are opening a week earlier than last season," Snowmaking and Trail Maintenance Manager Eric Johnstone said in a prepared statement. "Now we can move some equipment to other trails and try to open more terrain as quickly as possible."

Loveland will open with an 18-inch base on the opening day run, which includes three trails totaling over a mile in length.

Arapahoe Basin, which usually competes with Loveland to open first, said snowmaking is going well there and will open on Friday at 9 a.m.

It's the earliest opening in 40 years, and it follows one of the coolest summers on record (both in Colorado and nationally), with numerous low temperature records and mountain snows in late July. But that won't stop the global warming zealots from continuing to predict that Colorado's ski industry is doomed.

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Posted by Richard on April 18, 2009

Nothing says "springtime in Colorado" like prodigious amounts of snow falling from the sky amidst rumbles of thunder.

Until about an hour ago, the big winter storm that was forecast looked like a bust. What was supposed to be 5-10 inches of snow by now fell mostly as rain and wet, sloppy stuff that turned to slush on the ground. But in the past hour, well over an inch has accumulated here at my house, and it's coming down hard. Still getting the occasional thunder, too.

I bet the folks in the foothills (above 6000 ft.) are looking at big piles of white stuff.

One thing's for sure, we're getting plenty of moisture. I'll be surprised if, by the time this storm is over tomorrow, it hasn't at least doubled and maybe tripled our year-to-date precipitation. Not that that's saying much — it's been pretty dry. 

UPDATE: 30-60 inches in the foothills and mountain towns to the west (6000-9000 ft.). Denver missed having an epic snowfall by about 3 or 4°.

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