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Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Tony Snow, R.I.P.

Posted by Richard on July 12, 2008

This morning, Tony Snow lost his battle with cancer. I'm greatly saddened by this. Snow was one of the good guys — intelligent, articulate, passionate but never abrasive or mean-spirited, full of optimism and joy and good humor. When he was host of Fox News Sunday, I looked forward to that show every week and watched it religiously. When he became White House press secretary, I cheered.

President George W. Bush:

"America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character," Bush said in a statement.

"It was a joy to watch Tony at the podium each day. He brought wit, grace, and a great love of country to his work. His colleagues will cherish memories of his energetic personality and relentless good humor," Bush said.

"All of us here at the White House will miss Tony, as will the millions of Americans he inspired with his brave struggle against cancer," he said.

Former President George H. W. Bush: 

"He won the respect of even those who violently disagree with the president's proposals and policies. For that I think he'll be remembered. He brought a certain civility to this very contentious job," he said.

I'm very sorry that Tony Snow had only 53 short years on this Earth.

And I can't help but think that the Bush Administration would have been far, far more effective at communications and public relations if Tony Snow had been there from the beginning, instead of the inept and disloyal Scott McClellan.  

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Christmas was white, and it’s getting whiter

Posted by Richard on December 28, 2007

Why, yes, we did have a White Christmas in Denver. Not only did it snow Christmas Day (which only happens about once every nine years), it was the biggest Christmas Day snow in over a century — about 8". But Old Man Winter was just warming up (a figure of speech bearing no relationship to literal truth). We're getting another 8" or so today. I'm glad I don't have to go to work this week. I'm just going to hole up and work my way through a bunch of the Christmas goodies I got. 

BTW, remember the stories a couple of months ago about how global warming was destroying Colorado's ski industry? If you're a skier or boarder from the Midwest, South, or East, I hope that nonsense didn't discourage you from planning a Colorado ski vacation this winter — you're missing some phenomenal snow. So far in December, most of the resorts have gotten 7 or 8 feet of snowfall, and the perennial big-snow mountains, Monarch and Wolf Creek, have topped 10 feet.

UPDATE: I only got another 4-5", so there's about a foot out there. At 11 pm, the sky's starting to clear, so soon you'll be able to count the number of degrees on one hand.  

 

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Snow cover streak ends

Posted by Richard on February 20, 2007

For the first time since December 20, Denver officially has no snow cover this morning. The streak ended just a couple of days short of the all-time record:

There will be no snow cover record for Denver. Tuesday’s measurement brought the record watch to an end. The city ended up with 61 days in a row with 1" of snow or more on the ground.

But there was only a trace on the ground Tuesday, so we fell two days short of tying the record.

Measurements are taken at the National Weather Service station at the old Stapleton Airport at 6:00 a.m. each day. Snow is measured in a number of different places, and the depth of those readings is averaged to come up with the official figure.

This winter’s 61-day streak sits in second place, just ahead of the 60-day streak in 1913-14. The 63-day record was set my first winter in Colorado, 1983-84. Five of Denver’s ten longest snow cover streaks have occurred since 1983.
 

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Another weather milestone

Posted by Richard on February 8, 2007

Today was the 49th day on which Denver officially had at least one inch of snow on the ground. That puts this streak into third place for longest continuous snow cover. The streak began on December 21, the day after our pre-Christmas blizzard began. The official measurement (which still takes place at the old Stapleton Airport location) is made once each day in the morning, so the foot or more that fell during the day on the 20th doesn’t count.

We’ve still got 8 inches on the ground, and it’s getting colder again, so the streak continues for now. But we’ll probably need some fresh snow soon if we’re going to get to first or second place — 63 and 60 days, respectively.

Of course, our little streak probably just merits a chuckle from folks in western New York, where the lake effect snows have dumped 5+ feet in the last few days. I imagine it will take a while for that to melt, and it will probably be refreshed from time to time. But folks there are used to it, right?
 

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Winter of our discontent, episode seven

Posted by Richard on February 2, 2007

Why, yes, we do have another snowstorm in Denver. In fact, it’s 13° and snowing to beat the band. Last week, our regularly scheduled Friday snow didn’t arrive until Saturday. This week, Old Man Winter decided to compensate by bringing it on early. In plenty of time for today’s evening rush hour.

Why, yes, it was slow going. My usual 25-35 minute afternoon commute took over an hour and a half. In first gear for the last 10 or 12 miles. I’m seriously thinking of having a couple or three hot buttered rums for dinner.

Boat drinks. Boys in the band ordered boat drinks.
Visitors just scored on the home rink.
Everything seems to be wrong.

Lately, newspaper mentioned cheap airfare.
I’ve got to fly to Saint Somewhere.
I’m close to bodily harm.

UPDATE: Got just another couple of inches overnight, but the arctic air arrived. The low set a record for the date: -18° F., with a wind chill of -37°. By the time I headed for work, the air temperature had risen to -11° (-25° wind chill).

Boat drinks.
Waitress, I need two more boat drinks.
Then I’m headin south ‘fore my dream shrinks.
I gotta where it’s warm.

 

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Weather oddity

Posted by Richard on January 27, 2007

Denver’s official weather reporting station is at Denver International Airport, so the Denver high, low, and snowfall* numbers you’re likely to see are actually for a windswept high plain well east of town. Usually, it only makes a few degrees difference (although the snowfall differences are frequently large). But on Thursday, we had quite a contrast.

The official high temperature at the airport was 36° F. But 24 miles east* west, at the 9News studio near downtown, it was 60° — 24 miles, 24° difference. A weather forecaster’s job isn’t easy in Denver.

The warm spell isn’t going to last. An arctic front moves in tonight, and we’re getting a little more snow Saturday. This will be the sixth weekend in a row with snow. The phrase  "winter of our discontent" seems increasingly apt.

* Errors corrected thanks to Anon. See comments.
 

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A snow-free Friday

Posted by Richard on January 19, 2007

The streak is coming to an end! Hooray! Denver’s had snowfall on each of the past four Fridays, going back to the pre-Christmas blizzard. This Friday, we break out of the cycle. It’s going to be clear and sunny all day. We may even be a few degrees above freezing.

Of course, we’ve still got four weeks’ worth of accumulated snow and ice, up to five inches thick on some streets. I heard one TV weather person opine that it could take weeks for all the snow to melt.

Oh, yeah, and that snowfall that’s not coming Friday? It’s expected Saturday afternoon.

If Al Gore showed his face around here droning on about greenhouse gases and polar bears, I’d punch him out.

I suspect there’d be a line.
 

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Caring about cattle

Posted by Richard on January 5, 2007

As the third sizable snowstorm in just over two weeks slams into eastern Colorado (Denver’s expecting about 7" today), it looks like a cattle catastrophe has been averted in southeastern Colorado, where the New Year’s Eve eve storm dumped up to 48" of snow, with 10-15′ drifts. For the past week, ranchers and volunteers, with help from National Guard planes and helicopters, struggled mightily to get feed and water to the stranded cattle. Officials initially predicted tens of thousands might die, but so far the toll is much lower than feared:

About 3,500 cattle are believed dead, a relatively small fraction of the 300,000 cattle snowbound in six southeastern Colorado counties, according to estimates by experts at the state Department of Agriculture.

In regional feedlots, another 1,000 cattle deaths were confirmed by veterinarian Bill Bennett, homeland security director for the state Agriculture Department.

The toll may rise due to this latest storm, but because of the wind, not heavy snow. Here’s a fascinating fact I bet you didn’t know:

Bennett expressed less concern about snow accumulation with this storm than the anticipated driving winds that may cause cows to suffocate. …

"If it’s blowing when it snows, cattle start inhaling so much snow that it gets in their lungs and they literally drown," explained state veterinarian John Maulsby.

Meanwhile, a couple of Denver radio jocks contacted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals about helping to save the cattle, antelope, and elk facing a grim, cold death in that area. PETA basically said, "Who cares? They’re going to die anyway." The Center for Consumer Freedom is all over the story, and has links to the audio:

The dustup started when KRFX morning hosts Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax (yes, that’s his real name) called PETA to ask if the group would help feed and rescue the snowbound herds. PETA spokeswoman Reannon Peterson took the call, and bluntly replied: "You’re going to save them, and then in six months they’re going to be killed and end up on someone’s plate. So I don’t know that it’s really the most noble cause." [click to listen].

Peterson also put the blame on ranchers, criticizing them for "leaving [the cattle] outside" in bad weather. Mind you, this is the same group that rails against "imprisoning" animals in pens or barns.

Peterson added that wild animals caught in the blizzard’s wake — the same animals PETA routinely criticizes hunters for bagging — also weren’t worth spending PETA’s money to save. "It’s an act of God," she said. "There’s really nothing to be done" [click to listen].

She’s right, of course — animals dying in storms and being eaten by predators are part of nature and the "cycle of life." The irony is that this is PETA, a group that works tirelessly to promote the Bambi / Peaceable Kingdom fantasy about animals, that mourns every animal eaten by a human, and that sheds tears over the dashed dreams and lost liberties of lobsters.

I suspect that many PETA members are secretly glad to see cattle die in a way that prevents humans from benefitting from their deaths. Like the environmentalists who’d rather see a forest consumed by fire (contributing to particulate pollution, greenhouse gases, and global warming) than cut by loggers, the animal rights crowd is largely motivated by antipathy toward humans (at its root, their own self-loathing). They’ve long reminded me of Macauley’s observation about the motivation of Puritans: "The Puritan hated bearbaiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators."
 

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Send snow shovels!

Posted by Richard on December 28, 2006

We were just about over last week’s big storm (see my pictures here). Tuesday and Wednesday, Denver and the state Dept. of Transportation made visible progress. Some of the previously-unplowed lanes were finally cleared, and the interstate entrances and exits were much improved. Delivery trucks were having an easier time, grocery shelves were being refilled, and the Postal Service had almost caught up.

Then the next storm started.

It started snowing about 11 AM today, and it’s coming down heavily now. Depending on which forecast is right, it won’t be over until Saturday morning, Saturday evening, or Sunday morning, and Denver will get somewhere between 10 and 24 inches. Right now, there’s not much wind, but that’s supposed to change later tonight. Blizzard conditions east of Denver are likely, and maybe in Denver, too.

There’s not a snow shovel to be had in the entire metro area. Last night and this morning, people poured into the grocery stores and carted off all the milk, eggs, bread, meat, and the like that they could carry.

Contact FEMA, and have them start emergency deliveries of snow shovels. And rye bread. For some reason, there’s no rye bread!

OK, parrotheads, sing it with me!

Boat drinks. Boys in the band ordered boat drinks.
Visitors just scored on the home rink.
Everything seems to be wrong.

Lately, newspaper mentioned cheap airfare.
I’ve got to fly to Saint Somewhere.
I’m close to bodily harm.

Chorus
Twenty degrees and the hockey games on.
Nobody cares; they are way too far gone,
screamin’ "Boat drinks," somethin’
to keep them all warm.
This morning I shot six holes in my freezer.
I think I got cabin fever.
Somebody sound the alarm.
I’d like to go where the pace or life’s slow.
Could you beam me somewhere, Mister Scott?
Any old place here on Earth or in space.
You pick the century and I’ll pick the spot.

I know I should be leaving this climate.
I got a verse but can’t rhyme it.
I gotta go where it’s warm.

Boat drinks.
Waitress, I need two more boat drinks.
Then I’m headin south ‘fore my dream shrinks.
I gotta where it’s warm.

I gotta go where it’s warm.
I gotta go where it’s warm.
I gotta go where there ain’t any snow,
where there ain’t any blow,
’cause my fin sinks so low.
I gotta go where it’s warm.

— "Boat Drinks" by Jimmy Buffett, from Volcano (1979)
 

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A bit more snow for Christmas

Posted by Richard on December 25, 2006

If you watched the Broncos squeak past the Bengals by the skin of their teeth (24-23, thanks to a bad snap on the potentially tying PAT), you saw the big fat flakes coming down, at times heavily. Yes, we got a little fresh snow today.

It looked more intense on TV than it really was — at least here at my house, where it amounted to less than half an inch.

Nonetheless, it cheered me to see it. For one thing, it just looked pretty and White-Christmasy. For another, it "freshened up" all the snow left from the blizzard, which had begun to take on that dingy, dirty "used snow" look. Now it’s all clean and spruced up for Christmas.

Speaking of which, I hope you all have a very merry one. If you’re not a Christian, do what I do and celebrate anyway! Any holiday on which people exchange gifts, eat, drink, and make merry deserves to be celebrated, don’t you think?

Images courtesy of CatStuff — all the cat graphics you need.
 

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After the storm — update with photos

Posted by Richard on December 24, 2006

In the aftermath of Denver’s holiday blizzard, three people died from shoveling snow. I’m not one of them — although I think I came closer than I’d like. I went through a lot of ibuprofen after clearing my sidewalk and digging my car out. I haven’t even tried to get out the back door to shovel the long walk to the alley.

Driving isn’t too bad on the main roads, except that the right-hand lane occasionally disappears because the plow drivers, for no apparent reason, swerved to the left. The entrance ramps on the interstate are a bit of a problem. Many are still somewhat snow-packed, and the "acceleration lane" is plowed clear for at most 30-50 yards. That makes merging into 60-mph traffic a bit of a challenge. Some of the exits are problematic, too. I saw a guy blocking an exit ramp completely. He’d obviously tried to exit too fast, lost it on the snow and ice, and buried the nose of his car into a 4-foot wall of snow.

It’s not a good time to go grocery shopping. The parking lots are a disaster. Inside, the shelves are a disaster, too. The supermarket I went to today had had its produce section practically stripped bare, and the milk coolers held just a few forlorn cartons of fat-free, 2%, and soy milk. Couldn’t find any egg nog at all, dammit.

Enough bitching. Here are some snapshots. Apologies to those of you on dial-up — but I tried to keep the file sizes reasonable (~30-40KB each).

2006 blizzard - neighbor shoveling driveway
As soon as the snow slacked off, my neighbor began shoveling her driveway. It took her all afternoon.
2006 blizzard - snow cornice on Pathfinder
The snow cornice on the back of my Pathfinder is evidence of the strong winds.

2006 blizzard - yardstick measuring snow depth
Here’s the depth in the middle of my front yard, under a big maple tree. It’s probably a bit deeper in the back.

2006 blizzard - deck
Looking out the back door at my deck. There are three steps under the snowdrift at bottom center.

2006 blizzard - back yard
Looking across my back yard to the alley. At some point, I’ll have to shovel a path to the dumpster.

2006 blizzard - side yard
It drifted up against the gate a bit in the side yard.

2006 blizzard - shoveling walk
The neighbor kid shoveling the walk. He wasn’t very good, but maybe I should have tried to hire him.
That’s enough — you get the idea. Hope your Christmas is merry, but not quite as white!

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October snowstorm pictures

Posted by Richard on October 27, 2006

So, you saw the national news stories about the snowstorm in Colorado and want to see more snowy scenes? A couple of Denver TV stations have pretty sizable collections of viewer-submitted digital photos you can peruse.

First, take a look at the slideshows at CBS4Denver.com — they have thumbnails you can scroll through and click on if you don’t want to look through a whole long slideshow. Then, check out the big 9News.com slideshow — no thumbnails here, just titles/descriptions to help you pick and choose among the 119 images. Some titles are pretty descriptive — Coyotes at play (19 KB); others not so much — Bailey 09 (27 KB). But showing the file sizes is a nice touch.

The biggest snowfall totals were south and west of Denver. Since it was 70° F. Wednesday, much of what fell melted when it hit the warm ground. Nevertheless, we had about 3-5" on the ground in town. Here’s a shot (from 9News) of Washington Park, about 3/4 mile from my house:

October snow in Washington Park

If you drive south from my house down Broadway about 7 or 8 miles, you hit the suburb of Highlands Ranch. It piled up about 10-15" around there. Here’s what somebody’s deck looked like by mid-morning (from CBS4Denver):

October snow on Highlands Ranch deck

Further south and in the mountains, some places got two feet or more. Actually, the mountains have been pounded every few days for the last couple or three weeks. If you’re a skier, start making plans for a great season. At least two of the big destination resorts are opening on Nov. 3 (Copper and Keystone; rumor has it Winter Park will, too), and they have beaucoup snow already!

Meanwhile, in Denver it will all be just a memory by the weekend — the forecast says sunny and near 70°. You could go up to Loveland in the morning for a half-day of skiing, and then come back to town and play a round of golf or take a bike ride in the afternoon. 🙂

 

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Summer snow

Posted by Richard on September 22, 2006

Summer isn’t officially over until this evening, but for all intents and purposes, it ended decisively yesterday in the Colorado mountains, with lows in the teens and heavy snow. Many places had over a foot of accumulation by this morning, and the northern mountains are expecting another foot or two before the storm clears out Saturday. Travel in the high country was — and is — problematic:

Blowing snow and icy roads in the high country forced the overnight closure of part of Interstate 70 Thursday into Friday, stranding some travelers with forecasts calling for up to 16 inches of snow through Friday night in the Rocky Mountains.

The highway reopened to traffic just before 6 a.m. on Friday morning.

Eastbound I-70 was closed from Vail to Georgetown late Thursday, although officials began letting drivers who were stuck at Silverthorne between the two cities continue traveling. Westbound traffic was being allowed to travel past Georgetown in stages, said Ryan Drake of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

A winter storm warning was issued through 6 a.m. Saturday for areas including Rabbit Ears Pass, Breckenridge, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 that passes underneath the Continental Divide.

The winter-like driving conditions sent many drivers hunting for rooms Thursday night.

This Colorado weather report is provided as a public service to all you Texas skiers. They’re making snow at the resorts, Mother Nature is helping out in a big way, and there’s already talk about what a great early season it’s going to be — it’s time to start planning your first ski trip.

Skier-snowman at Keystone
Skier-snowman at Keystone Resort. See more snow pix at CBS4Denver.

 

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