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We missed the view.

Six shows in seven weeks has a way of doing that. A magnificent sunset last night, a bright sunrise this morning. Colorado blue for most of the day, fair weather clouds late this afternoon.

Beginning the day with a run of 5½ miles, it has been a day of catching up. The girls, it was a spa day. Nails and hair done. Tomorrow, they will begin preparing for their next two shows after the morning run. For myself, finishing the homework I did on the road and a little visiting.

It’s good to be home.

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Late Winter Storm

The weather can be fast-changing, particularly during the spring and fall seasons, in Colorado. The culprit, more often than not, is snow.

Late winter storms and blizzards are not out of the ordinary at this time of the year. They become fewer, and generally less intense, through springtime. How much snowfall they can carry is more indeterminate. In years past, we’ve received four inches of 20% chance of snow. Technology and improved forecast models have made preparing for these kind of storms better. Timing and track are the remaining unpredictable elements. The components, which make for a storm, one arriving too early or too late can reduce the overall strength. Similarly, a storm traveling too fast or too slowly can impact its strength. The track is the geographic influence. A few miles difference off the favorable track can affect storm impact, particularly over a populated area.

falling snow: three inches in 30 minutes (North Ranch, Apr 30 2019)

butterfly bush: snowed under (North Ranch, Apr 30 2019)

While today seemed wintry, the temperatures were not terribly cold. By mid-afternoon, the skies were clearing nicely. The sun shone brightly in the late afternoon. The snow, all melted away.

Tomorrow’s forecast, mixed. Pockets of morning fog, followed by cloudy skies. Temperatures, cool in the upper 40s to low 50s. Snow … maybe, maybe not.

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.

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.