Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Blizzard Coming!

by Maggie Sefton

I'm writing this blog post on Monday evening, right as a winter storm front is supposed to push down from Canada through Wyoming and into Colorado as far as Denver.  Storm fronts show up all the time, but this one is supposed to bring strong gusty winds up to 65+ mph along with lots of snow, nearly a foot in northern Colorado and a foot or more in Denver.   Those winds and that amount of snow are the reasons this Spring snowstorm is being billed a "blizzard.".  The Weather Channel is outdoing itself warning all of us in the storm's path to "Beware!  Blizzards is coming!"(Have you folks noticed how worked up the Weather Channel staff get at each potential weather event lately?)

My response to all of this?  Ho-hum.  Like many people in Colorado, we'll believe all those hyperbolic predictions when we see them proved true.  So many, many times we're told there's going to be a Big Weather Event! Only to see it turn out ordinary.  Thus, our yawns.  Believe me, we would LOVE to see a huge snowstorm and blizzard dumping tons of snow.  We're still drier than normal here in Colorado and we need all the moisture we can get---snow, rain, whatever.

So, I'm hoping the hyper WC staff is right.  But, our motto here is, "We'll believe it when we see it.". The last REAL blizzard we had in Northern Colorado was in March 2003, and it was a doozy.  It snowed two days straight, heavy snow which accumulated three feet in the central part of Fort Collins and Four feet in my backyard!  Really.  I had to dig a trench from the garage back door into the back yard so my dogs could go outside.  The city, the university, schools, stores, everything was shut down and closed because no one could get anywhere.  Even those of us with SUVs.  The snow finally stopped the second night and the third day, the sun came out.  And every neighborhood started helping each other out.  Shoveling driveways, using their Big Trucks to create a clear path on our neighborhood street all the way up to the larger connector street.  We all stood outside with cups of coffee, hot chocolate, whatever and chatted as we cheered the trucks in their snow-smashing efforts.  They were like little kids playing in a sandbox.  Fun to watch.

That blizzard came from an entirely different weather system. A far more threatening system whether it brings snowstorms in winter or tornadoes in spring and summer.  Long time residents call it and an "Albuquerque Low." The storm sweeps in off the Gulf or Western Pacific and blows through Arizona and New Mexico, then heads north into Colorado.  There, its counter-clockwise wind flow gets hung up against the foothills, so it stays in place and wrecks more weather havoc.

Now, 2003 was a Blizzzrd.  This one. . . We'll see.  We'll see.