A Winter Night

Staying warm on a cold, winter night.

The kits and pups taking in the warmth from a crackling fire in the hearth, snowflakes dance past the window. And, playing softly an old favorite on the Taylor …

And we just flow together when the lights are low
Shadows dancin’ all across the wall
Music’s playin’ so soft and slow
Rest of the world so far away and small*

 

*The old favorite, Slow Dancin’, written by Jack Tempchin. Johnny Rivers turned the song into a hit on Billboard’s Hot 100 (#10) in 1977. His live performance can be found here.

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Blizzard

Another week, another winter storm. Not exactly.

a blizzard cometh

It began as a wind-driven, cold rain before becoming a powerful blizzard working its way through Colorado. Heavy snowfall. Winds in the 40-55 mph range, gusting to 65-70 mph. Zero visibility. Temperatures dropping from the lowers 40s in the pre-dawn hours to the upper 20s at midday. The blizzard is being driven by a strong, cyclonic low-pressure system which rapidly intensified (bombogenesis) on Tuesday. The central pressure of the storm has been measured at 969 millibars, comparable to a Category 1/Category 2 hurricane. Conditions similar to this winter storm last occurred in 1972.

With calving season in progress, the JN Ranch made preparations to shield their cattle and new calves from the weather. The herd was moved into a semi-wooded area on their winter range. Along with repositioned hay and water stock tanks, bedding hay was added to supplement the ground cover to turn the area into a more sheltered, drier one.

cottonwoods bending in the wind

 

a view to the woods

Fortunately, we only received around an inch of snow, most of it wind blown. There were moments visibility was reduced to near zero. With the hospital opting to curtail operations, Laurie and Andrea had a snow day. They used the day to catch up on their homework.

Definitely, a day to stay inside.

iced over

 

A few notables

  • strongest wind gust, statewide, reported at COS airport – 97 mph
  • barometric pressure of the storm center – 969 millibars
  • I-25 between COS and Denver – closed
  • I-70 between Denver and the Kansas stateline – closed
  • I-70 westbound Denver into mountains – closed in spots; extreme avalanche danger
  • stranded on the road – too many

Arctic Week South

Not the latest offering on The Discovery Channel. Nor, The Weather Channel. But, from the Arctic North.

Beginning in the pre-dawn hours on Monday, a new deposit of snow and freezing fog, accompanied by bitter cold temperatures, it came.

hoar frost with a covering of snow (North Ranch, Feb 18 2019)

Daytime temperatures did not venture much above 20° F/-7° C, overnights hovering around 0° F/-18° C. The snow part was repeated again on Tuesday evening into Wednesday.

snow on the tall cottonwoods (North Ranch, Feb 20 2019)

On Thursday, the bitter cold relented, edging temperatures upward into the 30s during the day, mid-teens during the overnight. Friday was nice enough, though a major winter storm was bringing heavy snow across the Four Corners. Flagstaff set a new snowfall record on Thursday. In Southwest Colorado, nearly 30 inches fell from Wolf Creek Pass to areas surrounding Durango. With additional snow continuing into Friday night, authorities in Durango urged residents to rake the moisture-laden snow from their roofs.

In the late afternoon, on Friday, the storm front could be seen coming from the southwest. The snow did not begin to fall in earnest until shortly after 8:30 pm last night. The winter conditions quickly deteriorated with the wind driving the snow. Fortunately, Laurie and Andrea got home minutes before the weather worsened.

white-out conditions (North Ranch, Feb 22 2019)

The early morning revealed a new layer of snow, approximately 2-3 inches deep. Not a whole lot. And, the cold, very tolerable at 26° F/-3° C.

dried wildflowers and foxtail poking through the fresh snow (North Ranch, Feb 23 2019)

Arctic Week is now headed to the Upper Midwest as a major blizzard with significant snowfall amounts.

Warning: Blizzard Ahead

On their drive in to work, early this morning, Laurie and Andrea saw the blizzard warning on the status board. Kind of hard to turn around and come home when they were only two blocks from work. Yes, they did think about it.

The blizzard began last night. First, it started as rain before 11:00 pm. With a strong north wind blowing, the temperature dropped rapidly from 40°F/4°C to 28°F/-2°C in less than 10 minutes. The rain turned to snow, and anything wet likely flash froze into ice. The snow began falling heavily.

overhead security light (North Ranch, Jan 21 2019)

barn security light (North Ranch, Jan 21 2019)

For about an hour, it had every appearance of a very dangerous blizzard. The visibility from the wind-driven snowfall was reduced to a few feet.

Just before midnight, the heavy snowfall eased. The wind, though, continued into this morning and early afternoon. Our total snowfall from this storm, about two inches.

Two nights, two displays of nature. Tonight’s feature, cold temperatures around 5-10°F/-15 to -12°C.

Hidden By Winter

Snow and dense fog arrived with the new winter storm in the pre-dawn hours. The snowfall, 2-4 inches. Pockets of dense fog added a glazing of ice and invisibility.

North Ranch: draped in snow, cloaked in fog

foggy aura

Throughout the day, our invisibility would slip away, but roll back in a couple of hours later. Tonight, the fog will persist and may become more dense. The barnyard lights will provide an eerie glow.

Most definitely, it will be a night to stay in with a nice fire in the hearth.

 

Side Note

Megan, who’s renting our house in the old neighborhood, she’s been waiting for snow for most of the day. A winter aficionado, Megan rescheduled her day. To say she was disappointed, well, Megan was disappointed. She’s suggested new weather guessers may be needed.

Winter On The Range

Snow. More snow. And, more snow.

It began snowing in the pre-dawn darkness, Wednesday morning. Three days of light snow. Not terribly much in accumulation, perhaps 3-4 inches by late Thursday afternoon. The cold, not too bitter, staying around 5° F/-15° C during the overnight, around 25° F/- 4° C during the daytime. The skies were partly cloudy at sunrise, this morning. Within a couple of hours, the clouds filled back in and began snowing again.

It does make for some pretty.

Wednesday morning: line shack weathering the snow (JN Ranch/North Ranch, Dec 26 2018)

returning home: wintry, foggy drive into the JN Valley (Dec 27 2018)

Christmastime: candles in the window (North Ranch, Dec 28 2018)

The snow is forecasted to end during the overnight, before returning on New Year’s Eve. The cold is expected to continue for another week.

Christmas Night

A slower, relaxed day. Not really.

It began early as any other day. Laurie had rounds, with three of her patients spending their holidays in the hospital. While she could have tasked it to one of her residents, Laurie said it was the least she could do. One had come into her care in a bad way; the other two, they couldn’t wait until after Christmas, let alone after New Year’s, for their procedures. When she was a young resident, Laurie often drew the short straw for rounds. Her supervising doc said taking on the rounds during the holidays would make her better. If he could see her today, he would be proud of Laurie leading her four residents on rounds – teaching them the finer points of dedication.

Once home, Laurie donned her chocolatier hat. The girls, back from the barn, warmed themselves by the fire. Once warmed, they poked around the kitchen for a quick breakfast. Andrea was giving her older sis, Madelyn, a walking tour of the house. The pups, Will and Jasmine, they were ready for their walks. A fast cup of coffee, and we would be away on the walk. Just another day at home.

Our dinner table was much more manageable this Christmas. My dad and Madelyn were our guests. Tara asked if we, the ‘rents, were wearing the Christmas socks she had gotten us. I said we were. Elizabeth said, “Don’t trust them, Tara.” It didn’t take long for us ne’er-do-wells to be off to the races when Tara checked to see. Madelyn said the three of us were bad.

With the glow of the crackling fire, our home was quieting. “Another great Christmas,” Andrea said softly. Laurie and I nodded in agreement. We continued to watch the dancing flames a little longer. “Hey, you are wearing your Christmas socks,” Andrea said smilingly.

“Aren’t you?” I replied.  Andrea showed us the red socks she was wearing. No Christmas designs, no winter designs.

We hope everyone had a blest Christmas.