Low clouds, intermittent fog, and intermittent freezing drizzle were the prevailing conditions for much of Friday. All ahead of a winter storm forecasted to bring heavy snow to the Colorado Front Range.
brief appearance of sun at midday Friday (JN Ranch, March 12 2021)
The forecast models, at the start of the week, suggested snowfall amounts measured in feet. By midweek, those projections were pared back into the 10-24 inch range. At week’s end, the snowfall projections were reduced slightly but largely stayed the same. The private AccuWeather® forecast for JN Ranch indicated a snowfall potential in the 10-16 inch range, with temperatures in the upper 20s to low 30s. Icing conditions are expected before the snow begins in earnest.
Preparing for the storm, this week, has been a priority. The JN Ranch, in the middle of calving season, they’ve been moving their cattle to more protected areas of their winter range. Mothers who have not given birth are moved closer to the ranch complex. While bitter cold is not expected, the heavy snowfall potential for most of today, and the potential for blizzard conditions from late tonight through early Monday morning pose the greatest risk to calves. If they become too wet, the shiver effect can become more serious than bitter cold.
At North Ranch, we are substantially less affected by the winter storm. The horses will stay indoors for the duration of the storm. Our preparations involve topping the feedstock supplies in the horse barn. After the storm, it is snow removal from two, close-in paddocks. Removing the snow minimizes the amount of ice and mud on the ground. Both pose the greatest footing hazard for horses.
How cold it will become after the storm will depend how much snow we receive. The coming week is forecasted to be much colder, with daytime temperatures in the upper 30s and the overnights in the lower 20s.