February Snow (?)

We were, as I’m sure (by now) you’re not surprised to hear, forecast to receive around four feet of snow between Monday and today (Thursday). Instead, we got seventy-two knot winds (per my gauge, which records peak gusts and an hourly average, in 24 1-hour increments), night time temps in the high 30s – and a lot of rain. Below, my roof, which, for the first time in it’s existence, has no snow on it in February.


We seem to be bouncing from one extreme to another, yet the overall temps so far this winter are shockingly warm. Steamboat Springs, which advertises Champaign Powder, has Solidifying Cement on it’s slopes right now, after several days approaching 50F – and rain. My next door neighbor is a coach for the US Ski Team, and he’s in Europe right now, doing his thing (taking a wrong turn, ending up in the Czech Republic at two in the morning); his snow reports have been interesting. They were last year, too. I hear the FIS is trying to schedule more events near the arctic circle, but there aren’t many mountains up there with adequate slopes, so if the FIS ends up going that route, there won’t be much variety on the World Cup circuit anymore.

I bring this up as climate change denialists seem to be stirring up a phantom menace in Washington this week (misinterpreting reports, blaming scientists for all kinds of evil plots), so I offer a simple suggestion to our illustrious luddites in the Republicrat Party: get out of your offices and into your Gulfstreams and take a look around. Pack a thermometer. It’s happening, no matter what your buddies at Halliburton and ExxonMobil pay you to think. Okay? A picture’s worth a thousand words? Ever heard that one before? It applies to “experience,” as well. Get out there and smell the roses. They’re blooming in Denver right now, by the way.

Oh. Speaking of roof rakes…I use that black one (in the image) to chip away ice dams, snow that freezes to the roof, etc., but my ‘power tool’ is that blue & orange thing resting on the snow. It’s called the Avalanche Snow Removal System (check out the demo video here). If you need to get snow off a roof – fast – this is your baby.


So. The Coffee Cantata is not quite there yet. It was around 40 pages when v1.0 posted; I think it’s around 80 pages now – but it feels like I’m digging a real deep hole. I may finish this weekend, but I’m using the term loosely. More like a stopping point, then a sit back and revise point. Then a drown my MacBook in the bathtub point.

This story is steeped in archetypes, of course, and I mean that in the Jungian sense. So was Mr Christian, and quite a few of my earlier stories (both Backroads and In Places on the Run, especially so), but this story could easily get needlessly complex. I think when a story becomes (so) complex, it begins to lose something vital, most notably readability, so…I may be deep in a rewrite before this one gets close to posting. It’s hard to tell until I read through for continuity, but I smell something odd here. (That means something stinks)

Another thing in the pipeline: the Predators series. Reading over comments at Lit I see some interest in where this story might go next, so I’m working on that one now too.

Anyway. Time to change a few shear bolts on the blower. Oh, what fun we’ll have…

Hasta later… Aa


19 thoughts on “February Snow (?)

  1. There do seem to be more big temperature swings in winters these days, but then again, I’m not a meteorologist, I just enjoy looking at the cute weather girls. I don’t know about Colorado winters, but I seem to remember there being a correlation in New England winters with the warmer winters having more snow than the really cold ones (something about the lack of moisture in really cold air?). I remember one bitterly cold New Hampshire winter with next to no snowfall, but it seemed like every day was sub zero.


    • My son is living in Berkeley (of course he is!) and he puts on SCUBA gear to walk to his car these days, or surfs down the street to go to the grocery store. To hear him tell it, Noah and Co Ark Builders are doing a record business. What’s relevant is that the storms that hit there have been tracking here, but this time it fell apart over the Wasatch. A warm SW flow intercepted and 1) dried it out and 2) made the air much too warm. That’s what happened last year, too. It started raining in late Feb / early March. Ruined the spring ski season, we had an early melt, then weird, wet, heavy snow thereafter. Looks like that’s happening again, but last year resulted from a lingering el niño; this year…hard to say. One year is a fluke, two cause for worry, three constitutes a change in weather patterns? Hard to say, but it was hot here almost until Thanksgiving, then the bottom fell out. Now, it’s warming early, again. I mean, weird warm. Way too warm, way too early. We’ll be okay if it rains, but wildfires in the mountains are very not fun.


    • In my experience it can be too cold to snow. Adrian can probably explain it better, but precipitation occurs most easily at the “Dew Point”, the temperature at which moisture is released from the air forming rain, ice, snow, etc. High humidity, and temps in the low 20s to low 30s are ideal for snow. Pilots pay attention to Dew Point to avoid icing and other nasty phenomena because it can be dangerous and impossible to see.
      If the weather channels are correct, NH is in for some pretty severe weather this weekend.


      • Dew point is that point in time when your King Air is in a deep stall, and your co-pilot asks “Gee, did we forget to turn on the de-icing boots?” That’s the extent of my knowledge.
        I, on the other hand, am becoming familiar with gray wolves. One came out of the woodwork this morning, from under one of my decks, and Heidi (being the prudent, smart one) howled and beat feet back into the house – leaving me face to face with a juvenile fella who, all things considered, didn’t look all that pleased to see me.
        Ah, Colorado.


  2. It fell apart for you, but Eastern Mass and Southern NH are getting somewhere between 18-44 inches right now (how’s that for a prediction range?)


    • Yup, but that’s emerging as a change in pattern too, isn’t it? Warm, then a massive storm rolls through, then warm and a horrible melt. Boston two years ago? That brutal storm, then a melt. A near repeat last year? I wonder how the temps compare in those storms over a three year period? Warmer, the same, colder?
      It’s getting interesting from an observational POV, if nothing else.


  3. My father was saying that the average temperature for their winters has been about the same, but that the average is hiding the story of the swings between warm and cold.


      • Which is reliant on good data. But the further you go back in time, the less reliable the data becomes. And, of course, there is the error inherent in any model, and the assumptions used. My gut tells me something is going on, but the trick is figuring out how much is natural cycles, and how much is caused by man, and what we can do about the man made piece.


  4. 40′ of snow has closed the road between Ketchum and Stanley, Sun Valley is closed due to snow storm, and Jackson Hole is closed after extreme snow and windstorm knocks out power to the mountain (and lodges). 16 miles of I-86 is under water. Not a good Western slope winter weekend.


      • a 16 mile stretch through a narrow canyon is known as avalanche alley. Bare rock walls can only hold the snow for so long before it comes sliding down.
        “Transportation department crews are working to clear snow and debris from a section of Idaho 21, two days after a large avalanche covered the road, ITD said on Wednesday.”
        “The department posted photos of the slide on Twitter Wednesday morning, saying the snow is 40 feet deep and “several hundred feet long across the road.”
        This much heavy wet snow is a blessing and a curse. Two weeks ago we were in the single digits, last week we had lots of snow (yes from the SSW) and today it is already 59. Perfect for flooding. It is coming off the hills way too early. They are already talking about opening the irrigation canals to disperse the run off.


      • In Steamboat an hour ago, 58 degrees, strong SSW wind. Winter Carnival weekend, too. Coming up my driveway a few minutes ago, an 18″ flow of mud coming down the pavement. I could barely make it up in 4-wheel low. This has never happened, not even in deepest mud season, i.e. in May-June.
        40 ft drifts were common on I80/Donner Pass back in the 60s, especially the old Southern Pacific route that loosely paralleled 80. I think they got slammed this week, too.
        I just hope no one got trapped up there. Might take a while for the Hwy Dept to dig their way through, reopen the highway.
        We’re not far from the headwaters of the Colorado River; this should be an epic year for water levels. The Elk River in my backyard is already running high, the ice never got thick this year, almost all gone now, big runoff. And another winter storm due this weekend? Wild…


  5. I watched that video on the Avalanche. With that steep, standing seam roof, I wouldn’t think you would have that much snow sticking around on it.


    • Two weeks ago there was four feet on the lower portion of the steep part, dammed up by the early January dump on the porch section. Then the Avalanche and I got to work. About 4 inches of ice remained – then the warm rain hit. It all came down two nights ago, around 2 in the morning. Front porch knee deep in shattered ice sheets. 30 minutes with a pick-axe later, fresh ice for margaritas…
      That rake is a godsend. Can’t recommend it enough if you have to deal with snow.


  6. I can remember Hanover schools remaining open, but suspending bus service. Not that it mattered to us kids form Lyme, since there was no bus from Lyme anyways.


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