Living in a Winter Wonderland
Many Boulderites were happy to see the snow this week. I ponder how many “well” days were taken on Wednesday and Thursday as the 8 inches of snow on my porch grew hour after hour. I took a “home day” myself. Working via computer is an amazing gift to the two wheel drive vehicle owners out there on a day like Wednesday. As I sat in my warm home, drinking tea, I wondered about our precious snow fall, when it comes, and what big storms have hit us. I’ve remembered some big snows in my fifteen years here in Boulder.
NOAA’s shows over the last ten years the earliest date of first snowfall as September 3rd, 1961 and the latest date of first snowfall as November 21, 1934. We actually had our first mini snow a couple weeks ago, but the snow we got on Tuesday / Wednesday is what I call WINTER. Even though winter doesn’t technically begin until Winter Solstice, December 21st, 2014. The tables on NOAA’s site show anytime after Oct. 1st and no later than Thanksgiving are generally when Boulder, and Colorado’s winter begins.
The greatest season snowfall in Colorado’s history is 118.7 inches in the 1908 – 1909 and least season snowfall of 21.3 inches in 1888 – 1889. The biggest Denver snow storm was December 1 – 5, 1913 just before the first world war, with the second March 17 – 19th, 2003. I was in that one. I remember not being able to get my car out to a main road for 3 days, the snow was so high.
Do you have a Colorado snowfall story? Anyone out there stuck in their car over night or stuck in the mountains for a week? Could happen any day now, so make sure you have an emergency kit in your car. Weather.com suggests:
- Blanket: If you are stuck with a car that won’t start, or that has conked out, and have to wait in cold weather for help, you will want a decent warm blanket as an extra layer.
- Snow shovel: Get a short-handled shovel, probably a coal-type shovel, to stow in the trunk in case you need to remove snow from around the wheels of your vehicle. You can buy plastic ones, but you may want to opt for a metal one in case you also need to chip at some ice or compacted snow.
- Flashlight: Self explanatory. Keep a good-sized, water-proof flashlight with fresh batteries in case your breakdown is at night. Pack emergency candles too, as a back-up.
- Hand warmers: Available at camping stores. Smash the bag and the chemical reaction inside creates warmth to defrost fingers that may be trying to change a tire or fiddle with an engine.
- Matches: You never know when you will have to manufacture heat. It’s better than rubbing tow cld, snowy sticks together, hoping for the best.
- Bottle of water and a few protein, snack bars. You hear of people surviving on ketchup packets that have fallen between the seats, but some planning will yield a better menu under emergency conditions.
- Syphon Pump: If being out of gas is your problem, and you get offered help by a good samaritan, you want t be able to get a gallon or two of gas out of another gas tank to get you going quickly.
- Lightsticks: These cost almost nothing at a dollar store and can be used either as a iight source or to wear in case you are shoveling snow around your wheels at night.
- Flares: These should be in your trunk in all seasons for putting next to your car if you are pulled over in distress.
- Whistle: It can be used to either signal for help to someone who can’t hear you yell, or to scare someone who may be trying to take advantage of your distress.
The prediction is this winter will be a big one. I think I need a four wheel vehicle. Drive safe out there.
OH, and Eldora officially opens for the 2014-2015 season on November 21st, 2014. That is in one week.
For more info about famous Colorado weather and winter storms check out: