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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Phoenix dust storm

Posted by Richard on July 6, 2011

I've seen a few images like this, but they were from Saharan Africa. This is friggin' Phoenix! Scott Wood Photography has an amazing time-lapse video of Tuesday's dust storm here.

Here's a YouTube video:

[YouTube link] has some great raw footage, but their embed code isn't working. And has an extended news report, complete with a reporter whose hair has been seriously dusted.

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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. πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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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Warren on Washington weather

Posted by Richard on February 10, 2010

From Americans for Limited Government, here are a couple of William Warren cartoons that might amuse (or maybe annoy) those of you back East trying to dig out from the latest massive winter storm.

Warren cartoon - snow or irony

Warren cartoon - Capitol South
ALG Editor's Note: William Warren's award-winning cartoons published at are a free service of ALG News Bureau. They may be reused and redistributed free of charge.

Not to rub it in or anything, but the total snowfall to date in Denver this winter is less than what much of the East Coast got in the last 24 hours. Happy Snowmaggedon!

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Too cold for baseball

Posted by Richard on October 10, 2009

Tonight's Rockies-Phillies playoff game has been postponed because of weather:

Game Three of the 2009 National League Division Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Colorado has been postponed due to inclement weather, and has been rescheduled for Sunday at 8:07 p.m. mountain time.

Game Four has been moved to Monday. Those fans with tickets for Game Three will now be able to use them only for Sunday's game at 8:07 p.m. mountain time.

Those fans with tickets for Game Four will be able to use them for Monday's game.

The problem isn't precip — we have light snow falling right now, but it should end by early afternoon. The problem is the cold. The low this morning was 17° F., shattering the old record low of 25° set in 1905. At 10 AM, it's all the way up to 19°, and windy enough to make it feel considerably colder.

I doubt we'll even come close to the record low high for the date of 34°, and we'll have record cold again tonight. When the gloves feel like cinder blocks, it's not exactly baseball weather.

Global warming is like the police — it's never around when you really need it.

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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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How cold was it?

Posted by Richard on December 15, 2008

It was so cold that hundreds of school buses wouldn't start or died en route because the diesel fuel had jelled:

DENVER (AP/CBS4) ― Denver area school districts reported dozens of buses used to pick up students for class were delayed or wouldn't start at all Monday morning because of the extreme cold. About a third of the 370 buses in the state's largest school district, Jefferson County, either wouldn't start or couldn't finish their routes Monday morning because of cold-related engine and fuel problems.

The JeffCo school district saved two cents per gallon by buying diesel fuel without cold-weather additives, apparently confident that Al Gore was correct (emphasis added): 

DENVER (CBS4) ― The problem that idled or stalled an estimated 45 percent of Jefferson County School's school bus fleet on Monday could have been prevented.

As a cost saving measure, the district had been buying diesel fuel without cold weather additives.

"We never expected it to get as cold as it did," said District Spokeswoman Melissa Reeves.

No word on how paying the extra couple of pennies for 3 months would compare with the cost of today's mess, with mechanics and tow trucks running around all over and thousands of kids stranded.

So how cold did it get? Officially at the airport, -19° F., clobbering the record of -6° set in 1951. 

This afternoon, we got to 3° above zero. Woohoo!

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Arctic blast

Posted by Richard on December 15, 2008

The big storm that moved in overnight is supposed to bring 1-3 feet of snow to the mountains by tonight, but here in Denver, we've only got a couple of inches so far.

But it's -3° F. right now (1 PM), and the wind chill is -20°.

Yesterday, it hit 60° in town. Sigh… We won't be seeing that again any time soon.

UPDATE: -15° F. at 11:30 PM. Wind chill is -36°. I hope this isn't the night that my old furnace dies.

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Posted by Richard on December 5, 2008

The Denver weather roller coaster continues. On Tuesday, the official high (at the airport) was 69° F. and the low was 42°. In town, it was in the 70s. Yesterday, we only made it to 28°.

Today, it was in the teens and snowing off and on all day. Right now (11:45 PM), it's 0°, with a wind chill of -19°. 

If you're coming to town this weekend to see whether the Chiefs will face the good Broncos or the bad Broncos, don't worry about the weather. It'll be in the mid to upper 50s and sunny. So those stadium seats will be dry.

Unless the forecast changes…

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Global cooling

Posted by Richard on February 28, 2008

In several previous posts about the global warming issue, I've pointed out that we're due for an ice age and that maybe we should intensify our efforts to warm the globe in order to offset this impending catastrophe. See, for instance, this post (and the wonderful dialog I had with Fred Bortz in the comments) and especially this post, where I pointed to evidence that the cooling may come rapidly:

I knew that the last ice age ended about 12,000 years ago, and that we're about due for another. But I didn't know about the correlation between ice ages and CO2 levels:

As for that dreaded greenhouse gas, CO2, atmospheric levels of which now exceed 400 parts per million (ppm), it is important to note that paleological records show that every time CO2 levels have exceeded 300 ppm there has been an ice age. Every time — without exception.

I also didn't know that the current interglacial warm period might end quite suddenly:

In 1979, Genevieve Woillard, a pollen specialist in France, concluded from detailed studies that the shift from a warm, interglacial climate to ice age conditions at the beginning of the last ice age, some 100,000 years ago, took "less than 20 years."  …

As I noted in a comment to the first post linked above, "A hundred years from now, as the ice sheets begin edging southward, people living north of the Mason-Dixon line may wish we'd cranked out more carbon dioxide." Now, there is preliminary evidence that we may not even have to wait a hundred years.

The Earth actually stopped warming around the turn of the century. And now, the people tracking global temperatures all agree that the Earth has cooled dramatically in the past year (emphasis added):

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile — the list goes on and on.

No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

A compiled list of all the sources can be seen here. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to wipe out most of the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year's time. For all four sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.

Check out the fine commentary by Mike at Monkey Tennis Centre and by Doug Ross, who offered a slightly snarky speculation:

And I wonder how long Al Gore's carbon-offset bunko scam is going to last when penguins start freezing to death.

BTW, speaking of anecdotal evidence: Those of you inclined toward skiing and snowboarding might want to know that the anecdotal evidence in Colorado is pretty interesting, too. Most of the major ski resorts are at or near record snowfall levels, ranging from 25 to 41 feet. Don't miss it, book your spring ski trip now — just in case I'm wrong, the new data's wrong, Gore's right, and it never happens again. πŸ˜‰

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Wine industry hurt by insufficient global warming

Posted by Richard on January 3, 2008

Recently, as we approached the end of an unusually cold and snowy December, I scoffed at earlier scare stories about global warming destroying the Colorado ski industry. According to The Rocky Mountain News, another Colorado industry is suffering due to global warming — oh wait, it's due to not enough warming:

Unusually cold weather in late 2006 and the spring of 2007 wreaked havoc on Colorado's grape harvest, especially in Delta County. Vineyards there are planted at elevations as high as 7,100 feet.

The larger grape-growing area around Palisade and Grand Junction in Mesa County – which accounts for about 85 percent of the grapes produced – suffered losses, too.

Experts estimate the damage slashed the state's wine grape harvest by 40 percent to 50 percent last year from 2006's record harvest of 1,515 tons. A final tally will be compiled within a few months. But industry officials agreed the grape harvest took a big hit.

Yeah, I know that one cold year in one place proves nothing about global climate change — but whenever some region is temporarily hotter (or wetter… or drier…) than normal, Al Gore and his acolytes always cite it as evidence for their faith (I mean, scientific theory), so I can't resist turning the same tactic back on them.

Colorado's vintners — who produce some excellent white wines (and OK reds) — should hope the IPCC predictions come true, so that the Earth warms back up to about where it was during the Medieval Warm Period, when grain crops were grown in Greenland and wine grapes were cultivated as far north as Scotland and Nova Scotia.

The proponents of anthropogenic global warming theory dismiss the Medieval Warm Period as a "local" European phenomenon (despite a wealth of evidence that it was global). But they can't have it both ways. If they insist that the retreat of Greenland's ice fields a thousand years ago had nothing to do with global climate change, then they shouldn't point to a similar retreat in recent years as evidence of global warming today.

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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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Record cold

Posted by Richard on June 9, 2007

When I got up this morning (a few minutes after 6), my furnace was cranking away. After grabbing the paper from the porch, I decided to forget the Hawaiian shirt I was planning to wear and dig out something long-sleeved instead. It felt downright nippy.

Tonight, I learned that my perception and my furnace were right. Denver's official low this morning was 31° F. That's not only a new record for the date, but it makes this the latest freeze ever recorded in Denver. Take that, Algore!

(In case you're wondering, the latest snow in Denver was on June 11, way back in 1947.)

Of course, that 31° was at the airport; here in town, it was a few degrees warmer. Still, temps in the 30s don't really mix well with Hawaiian shirts. The freeze capped off an interesting several days, coming after a strong storm front moved through the state. Colorado didn't get the strong thunderstorms that the front spawned after it moved farther east, but the mountains got up to 6" of snow, and the winds were something.

Wednesday and Thursday, gusts hit 50 mph here in Denver and 90+ mph in Boulder and various foothill and mountain locations. One of my neighbors lost about a third of a 50-foot maple — one of three main limbs, easily as big around as my waist, ended up in the front yard. I was spared any new tree attacks

The saying in Colorado is if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes. Well, we literally had to wait just a few hours today. By late afternoon, it was sunny and 75° — Hawaiian shirt weather. Back into the 80s for the weekend. If you get bored in Denver, it won't be because of the weather. 

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