Notorious Colorado Weather – A Photo Essay

Colorado weather is notorious for its unpredictability, but I’ve never seen anything like the superstorm that arrived this week. 2017 has been a year of the unpredictable, with the death of my brother and ceiling cave-in. I keep looking for that silver lining. It’s in my nature.

A week ago, I worried about how I would get “everything” done before floor refinishers and painters take over the house for the month of June. Part of my long list included planting annuals. Not only a couple of pots placed on tables, but at least eleven urns and four window boxes. That’s a lot of plant material.

radient flower box

Usually, I check out all of the garden centers before buying in order to save money. This year, I’m under a time crunch, so I was tempted to buy everything at one place. I vibed out and couldn’t motivate. After fighting the crowds over the warm Mother’s Day weekend, I only bought geraniums on Monday. Then I looked at the five day forecast and couldn’t believe my eyes. Tiny flakes of snow were predicted to arrive on Thursday night. I figured the snow would melt before waking.

The beginning of the storm rolled in several days early with huge hail in the form of golf ball-sized snowballs on Monday. It reminded me of a scene from The Day After Tomorrow. I’d never seen anything like it. You’ll have to trust me since they melted before I could take a picture. Thunderstorms rolled through the next two days.

Thursday, 8:30 AM:

After I blogged my Twin Peaks post, I looked up from my computer to the kitchen window. “It’s snowing!” I sprang from my chair and stared at the giant quarter-sized flakes. I figured it was a fluke and it would soon turn to rain.

9:00 AM:

It’s still snowing. Large puddles are forming on my lawn. A great day for ducks. Maybe you can see the duck in this video. Continue reading

There’s No Way to Know…

flowering apple tree

As I watch clouds gather and raindrops ripple in concentric rings on the pond, maternal instincts kick into high gear. A storm is coming.

I find it hard to suppress the urge to cover the fragile, tender buds in warm blankets to prevent them from freezing, but snow could accumulate to a couple of feet and sopping wet blankets would crush them. One mature tree would need twenty or more. I would need hundreds of blankets and a cherrypicker to cover them. I shrug my shoulders and sigh.

Just as roses and bushes have leafed out, flowering trees are at their peak and fruit trees in bud are about to emerge, a huge snowstorm was predicted to slam into Colorado. Yesterday, I rushed through the yard to take pictures while inhaling the heady fragrance of flowering trees. High clouds whispered the same news. 

Last year it snowed every Wednesday for eight weeks and froze all those fragile buds. We had nary an apple or raspberry and our springtime consisted of monotonous shades of green. 

Maybe forecasters are wrong, but it’s quiet. Too quiet. Not one leaf ruffles nor bird sings as nature stores its kinetic energy for what is to come. I can feel it deep in my vertebrate.

flowering crab

Will I hunker down and wait for Mother Nature’s fury? No way. The same forecasters are predicting two to four feet of snow in the mountains. I plan to hit I-70 before the rush and the snow becomes too deep to travel. 

I will keep my fingers crossed and hope temperatures hover above freezing down here in Boulder. They’ve been wrong before. 

I’ll keep you posted…

Do you worry about the weather or do you sing Que Sera, Sera?

Surrounded by Vivid Color

Last week, I biked outside for the first time since knee surgery. Surrounded by vivid color, I had to stop and take a few photographs. I had looked forward to riding to Hygiene, about ten miles away, but the skies threatened.

bike hike in Boulder County

It has been stormy here in Boulder County. When I rode again yesterday, I made it to the tiny town. I returned home as the skies opened up. After going out for dinner, tornadoes, torrential rain, and a lightning show like no other, made driving a challenge.

Stormy skies above Niwot

Thunderstorms rolled in early today and the landscape is muted. When the skies clear, mountain vistas will once again burst with vivid color.

Have you been spending time outside? Has the weather been stormy in your neck of the woods?

This week’s photo challenge is “Vivid.

Get Ready Before It’s Too Late!

sunrise

“Red sky at morning gives sailors first warning.” This photo was taken today!

A blustery Rocky Mountain wind pummeled our house all night and is still thrashing our trees causing their remaining leaves to tumble like autumnal rain. A change in the weather is coming.

Meteorologists have been predicting this storm like salivating dogs staring through the window of a butcher shop, or better yet, like snowbirds drooling over brochures of Mexican cruises. It was in the 70’s yesterday and we’ll plunge to a high of 15 by Wednesday. I have one more day to pick apples, close vents in unused rooms, and get acclimated to winter temps before our first significant snowfall arrives.

Five fast and easy ways to get acclimated before the arctic mass descends from the north. Continue reading

Are You Ready “to” Spring?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The bad news:

This Sunday, March 9th, marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time or what I like to call, “You Ripped Off an Hour of My Precious Sleeping Time.” We lose an hour at 2:00 AM when time springs ahead to 3:00 AM. Dawn will break an hour later and the sun won’t slide behind our mountains until 7:02 PM. It will be one of those groggy days which will oddly resemble jet lag. It will creep into Monday morning with an increase in traffic accidents and heart attacks.

I love when it ends in November and I have a whole extra hour to play, but the start-up is killer. I can’t believe one little hour can mess with our heads so much.

I wonder if anyone has ever screwed with time in order to win a war. I can imagine the enemy sneaking into camp and setting all the clocks ahead by one hour. Just think of the mayhem, friendly fire, and subsequent heart attacks.

Did you know that Ben Franklin is responsible for our abrupt and jarring time change? In 1784, he spent some time in Paris and came up with an idea to save on the cost of candles. It’s always about money and sometimes about the cost of wax.

The good news:

Here in Boulder, day lengthens by 2 minutes and 37-38 seconds every 24 hours. For all of you still in the eye of the Polar Vortex, spring will arrive on Thursday, March 20th, whether Weather likes it or not. The 4th of July is less than four months away. How can that be? Time is precise and controlled. It ticks on and on, with concise rhythm and constant meter. Weather is obstinate and unpredictable. It throws tantrums without warning. It has its way, always. It doesn’t care about Time or the season. It’s an emotional monster, a willful child, and a hormonal teenager.

On Sunday morning, when you set your clocks ahead, you’ll be one hour closer to spring. The days will lengthen, temperatures will rise, and snow will melt.

But don’t mention anything to Weather. We don’t want it to become a hot mess.

Are you for or against Daylight Saving Time?

Photo courtesy of Free Wallpaper

How to Survive the Polar Vortex

polar vortex 1

In case you haven’t heard, half the US is in a cyclonic weather pattern. It seems the center of the Polar Ice Cap has relocated somewhere between Madison, Wisconsin and Cleveland. The Polar Vortex is threatening to stick around and continue to break low temperature records all over the world. It spawned Winter Storm Leon which trounced through the South. It sprinkled the white stuff on several states which rarely see snow and wreaked havoc with highways and airports. His brother Maximus is bounding in from the west and is licking his heels. Is there no end to PV’s fury?

Noaa_current_snow_ice_canada_usa_1-6-2014Snow cover on January 6th, 2014

Looks like an ice age to me. Will spring ever arrive in our Northern states?

Breck snowstorm 2011

Here are some tips to help you survive the coldest winter on record.

  • Wear a hat to bed. Heat rises and your pillow could cause your ears to freeze off.
  • Get acclimated. Strip down and jump in the snow. Roll around and count to 10. Then hit a warm shower. Repeat this exercise a couple times a day and soon you’ll be wearing shorts and a t-shirt while picking up your newspaper from the snowy curb.
  • Quit shaving. This goes for women too. All those little hairs trap body heat. Make a waxing appointment for May or June.
  • Sleep with a friend, a lover, a neighbor or all of the above. Hey. This is serious. You have to stay warm.
  • Don’t have any friends? Buy or adopt a dog. With a record-breaking winter like this, you’ll need three of them to keep you warm. You’re a cat person? You’ll need twenty.
  • Layer up. To stay warm indoors, slip on your Lycra workout clothes and wool socks. Throw on your long undies, sweat pants, turtleneck, and wool sweater. Don’t go outdoors without a one-piece ski or snowmobile suit, hat, face mask and goggles. Wear wool gloves under your mittens. Make sure to pee before you dress.
  •  Start baking bread, buns, cakes and cookies. Leave the oven door open after you finish to help heat the room. The couple extra pounds you will gain will create a nice layer of fat to keep you warm.

Continue reading

Storm Chasing During Boulder’s 100-Year Flood

Jessica Farris -Creekside 3Photo by Jessica Farris

Drenched by torrential rain over a period of four days, creeks swelled into forceful rivers, dams burst and walls of water cascaded from the foothills all along the Front Range in Colorado. 18.44 inches of rain fell in South Boulder alone, but surrounding areas recorded 14 to 16 inches. Thousands have been evacuated to shelters. 3 died in Boulder County. Nearly 200 are unaccounted for, but many are still being rescued and don’t have access to phones. Yesterday, National Guard helicopters rescued over 550 people and the thwapping of blades could be heard overhead early this morning. Many towns are still completely cut off. Our average rainfall for the month of September is 1.63 inches. This is insane!

Living in a semi-arid state, most expect the occasional forest fire and we’ve had our share. Much of Boulder is located in a one hundred-year flood plain. Our one hundred years are up! This tops any rainfall recorded since 1864. We live on a hill.

A friend of my daughter, Jessica Farris, took these photos in her neighborhood.

Jessica Farris - 1st and Bower

1st Street and Gower in Longmont – Jessica Farris

Jessica Farris - Creekside

A family canoes in a nearby park – Jessica Farris

Jessica Farris - Creekside 2

It has become a waterpark – Jessica Farris

At first, the welcomed rain seemed like fun to many, something that wouldn’t last and should be enjoyed. College kids played in the underground walkway as water rose to their knees. Click here for video. Others went down streets and the Boulder Creek in inner tubes, but the rivers continued to swell and became violent. Boulder Police began arresting anyone in the rushing water.

I had some fun in the beginning too.

I had to retweet this!

 

Soon roads closed as rivers overflowed their banks. By Wednesday night, Boulder, parts of Longmont, Lyons and Estes Park were cut off along with many other small towns. It took my son Kelly an hour and a half to drive from Longmont to Niwot which is normally a ten minute drive. The Saint Vrain River cut Longmont in half. He drove north and east before heading south to our house. Determined to find a way back to his home in Boulder, he consulted Coloradotrip.org and navigated frontage roads and side streets with higher topography to wind his way back. It took another 90 minutes for a 20 minute drive. Continue reading