Crazy Spring Snow Storms

Blizzard then sun. Another wet snow storm then sun. Springtime in Colorado Springs has everything – snow, sun, rain, wind, more sun, then hail. Personally I love it because it tells me that summer is just around the corner. But what I don’t love is when people do not know how to drive in the snow. Sure, there are a lot of people who transfer here from warmer climates, but you would think that would make them even more cautious when driving in the snow. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

A few weeks ago we had a nasty spring snow storm that presented blizzard conditions, over 15″ of snow in some areas, and ended up with roads closing. Many business and organizations even closed early to make sure their employees and members were able to get home safely. One major road heading towards the east part of town closed due to so many vehicles sliding off the road. Sure enough – I was one of the people who got stuck on the wrong side of the closed road – but I finally made it home 6 hours later.

Then the big thaw came the next day. 65 degrees and sunny. On my way back into town I counted how many cars were stranded on the side of the road due to the storm and there were 52! It looked like some were in accidents, and some just slid off the road. I’m sure the towing companies in town had a very profitable few days.

I thought that was the final snow storm of the season, but boy was I wrong. A couple of weeks later, we had another spring snow storm that was made of wet, heavy snow. This is the type of snow perfect for making snowmen, but also the perfect type of snow to damage trees and power lines. Sure enough, as advertised, some parts of town got over 2 feet of snow. This time however, it was during the weekend so businesses were not as badly affected as the last storm. And sure enough, the next day it was 60 degrees and sunny and the snow melted as fast as it appeared.

Hopefully, this will be the last snow storm of the season. While I like the water that our lawns will suck up, I’m pretty over the snow and ready for summer to start!

Super Bowl in Denver?

First of all – congratulations are in order for the World Champion Denver Broncos who won Super Bowl 50 by beating the Carolina Panthers. It was a competitive game and probably Peyton Manning’s last. Denver has won 3 Super Bowl Championships and this last win gives Peyton Manning the opportunity to “ride off into the sunset” like his boss John Elway did after his second consecutive Super Bowl victory.

The NFL has had a long held tradition of hosting the Super Bowl in ether a warm climate city (such as Tampa, FL, San Diego, CA or Miami, FL) or in a stadium that has a dome enclosure (like Cowboys Stadium, New Orleans, etc.). However, last year the NFL decided to go against the traditional stadiums and held the Super Bowl in the New York Giants/Jets brand new stadium. Of course every cold weather stadium was very curious to see the outcome of the event hoping for some future consideration to host the Super Bowl as well.

The weather cooperated enough that the game and all the festivities that accompany it were not disturbed. The game was competitive, but more importantly, the Super Bowl event was a success. This would open the doors for many other cold weather stadiums to have a shot of hosting a Super Bowl sometime in the future.

The city of Denver and the Denver Broncos was one such city eager to see the outcome. Invesco Field at Mile High is one of the newer stadiums in the league, and the Denver Broncos is one of the best organizations in the NFL as well. The city of Denver would be big enough to handle the volume of people who would attend the Super Bowl with hotel rooms, restaurants, and activities. Not to mention world class skiing less than 1 hour away.

But people who live outside of Colorado think that the wintery weather is always snow, blizzards, ice storms, and more snow. The reality is that the average temperature in Denver in Feb is 43 degrees, and if the sun is shining, it could actually feel like it is close to 60. Of course there is a chance for a blizzard, but in my opinion, that would make for a way more fun game anyway. But that’s just me.

Maybe someday…

Football Weather

With only 3 games left in this NFL season, we have had a great ride with a spectacular finish ahead. The Denver Broncos are in the AFC Championship game with a Super Bowl berth on the line. Peyton Manning is the Broncos Hall Of Fame Quarterback who will lead the charge, along with the number 1 defense in the league.

Peyton Manning’s career started with the Indianapolis Colts, who play all their home games in a dome. They were a very dominant offense that Manning had running like a well-oiled machine. They were very consistent in making the playoffs every year, and won one Super Bowl as a result. However, Manning’s nemesis was playing outdoors in cold weather.

Since coming to the Denver Broncos, Manning has had a lot of games in cold weather. Many games he won, but he did lose some. This keeps the critics skeptical of his ability to produce winning results in cold weather. Hopefully the game this past weekend convinced them otherwise.

The NFL Divisional Playoff game was between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium in Denver. The game time temperature was 34 degrees and windy, and would drop as the sun went down behind the Rocky Mountains. The game was very close, and even seemed like the Steelers had the momentum late in the game until a fumble changed the energy for the home team. Denver went on to win the game, and onto the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots. Hopefully now the critics won’t talk too much about how Manning is unable to produce results in cold weather games. Especially if they win this next game and make it to the Super Bowl again.

But this weekend’s game is supposed to be nice. The great thing about Colorado weather is as long as the sun is out, it will be warm. Of course if there is a wind chill, then it will feel much colder, but usually in the sun, it feels much warmer than the temperature really is. We have had a few cold days lately, but yesterday and today it was warmer, but more importantly, sunny. The snow on the roads is gone, and you can tell what parts of the parking lot are in the shade because the snow and ice still remain. But with the rest of the week in the mid-40s, I’m sure the snow won’t be around for much longer. Then we will just wait for the next storm!

Wet Cold vs. Dry Cold

Which do you think is colder in the winter: Colorado Springs or San Francisco? If you said Colorado Springs, technically you would be correct. But the cold in San Francisco seems much colder that Colorado Spring s in the winter time. I’m sure it has to do with being so close to the ocean and lack of sunshine, but when the wind blows it makes it feel downright frigid.

We were just in San Francisco for the Christmas Holiday and it was cold. As a matter of fact, it was the coldest it has ever been since we started going there every year to visit friends and family. One of my friends came home after finishing his shift at 2:00am and it was 27 degrees! Even the local residents complained how the cold was bone chilling.

“Don’t let the sun fool you” was told to me many times while there. In Colorado Springs, if the sun is out, and you’re standing in it, then it is warm. Because of the high altitude, we are closer to the sun and therefore it feels stronger. But in San Francisco, even in the sun it can be cold. Not to mention, the sun seems to come up later so it takes longer for the city to warm up. And like everywhere else, when the sun goes down, it is out-and-out cold.

Normally San Francisco has a wet, rainy winter. Of course Colorado Springs has the blizzards, ice storms, and freezing temperatures, but that does not happen for the whole winter. As a matter of fact, the average temperature in Colorado Springs is 42 degrees. When you factor in the sunshine, it feels much warmer than that. But San Francisco has the wet, damp, rainy, windy weather which makes it feel much colder than Colorado Springs.

Nevertheless, San Francisco is a great city, and we will just better prepare for the cold next year. I would have looked up the weather channel on my computer prior to leaving to see how to prepare, but my computer was incapacitated and making a visit to my friends computer repair shop (http://coscomputerrepair.com) so I just relied on my cell phone – which didn’t give a complete picture. Lesson learned for next year…

Colorado Springs Weather

OK. So everyone likes to talk about the weather. Do you know why? It is the one thing that everyone has in common. When I was in Madrid, Spain in the summer time, everyone talked about how hot it was (40 degrees Celsius = 104 Fahrenheit!). When we are going through a cold spell, the popular question is “is it cold enough for ya’?” Of course when we’re having beautiful weather in the middle of winter, everyone loves to comment as such. I guess in warm climate locals, everyone would comment as soon as there is a cold spell, and heaven forbid if it snows!

The citizens in Colorado Springs are no different. Even though we enjoy 4 seasons, the coldest months of the year still average 42 degrees. During the summer, it is hot, but it is a dry heat. Spring and fall are very mild and very comfortable. But living in Colorado Springs has made it easy to take the weather for granted. That is why I enjoy the 4 seasons because as soon as I start to get tired of the winter cold, spring time is here and everything starts to warm up.

The old saying in Colorado Springs was “if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes”. Now the saying is “if you don’t like the weather, look out the other window!” We have had winter days in the 60’s and summer days with 3 inches of hail! Of course there are the winter blizzards and summer heat waves, but those are few and far between. With over 240 sunny days per year, the snow doesn’t have very much chance of sticking around very long. As a matter of fact, if the front of your house is south facing, there is a very good chance you don’t even have to shovel your driveway because the snow will melt just from the sunshine.

The sun does have a stronger than normal effect in Colorado Springs. Since we are over 6,000 feet in elevation, the sun’s rays are more intense. One of my favorite things is “beating the cold”. So even though we may be in winter, and it may only be 30 degrees, if the sun is out (and there is no wind) then it feels like 50. This is another reason the snow melts so fast.

Growing up in upstate New York, once it got cold, the snow stuck around and did not melt until spring time. This made the snow dirty and grey, and with the little amount of sunshine, it had a tendency to be dreary and gloomy. However, usually the snow doesn’t have a chance to stick around long enough to turn grey so it is usually either white, or melted. Once in a while after a big snow storm, the shopping mall parking lots will be plowed and the snow piles will take a little longer to melt. This snow will stick around and turn dirty, but all other snow will melt long before.

We just had a snow storm a couple of weeks ago. The mountains got dumped on so the ski resorts will have a great Christmas week for visitors. In Colorado Springs, we have the good fortune of seeing Pikes Peak (America’s Mountain) covered with snow that sometimes will last until August! But in the city we received just enough snow to make the morning commute messy. By lunch time, the snow was melted and the roads were just wet. Of course it help that the city has a great snow emergency plan – which I’m sure they have had a lot of practice to perfect by now.

But you still have to respect Mother Nature. There are many people who just don’t know how to drive in the snow. They go too fast, follow too close and don’t allow enough time and distance to stop. I’m not sure if it is people who have too much confidence because they believe they have all the experience they need to drive well in snowy conditions, or the people who have not driven in snow before and don’t know the difference. Either way, in both scenarios, you would think they would dive with an abundance of caution instead of recklessness. But both types of drivers  keep my friend Anthony happy because he has his own towing business (click here to find out more) so the more cars he needs to pull out so the snow, the better for his business – as long as they are not sliding into each other and causing injury!

The one thing about the Rocky Mountain snow is it is typically dry and fluffy. Therefore it is not very good for making a snowman or snowballs. Sometimes it is nice to close the car door and the rest of the snow will fall off the rest of the car. But don’t be mistaken, there is still the occasional wet snow that will bend the tree branches and weight down the power lines into dangerous positions. Of course, you still need a snow brush and ice scraper, but you can always use your credit card if you find yourself in a pinch!

The greatest snow storm I ever was a part of in Colorado Springs was the El Nino storm of 1997. At one point, it was snowing 3 inches per hour, and we ended up with a final total of 17 inches in one day. Needless to say it pretty much closed down the city for a couple of days, but as soon as the storm was over, the sun came out and started to melt everything. I remember going out to shovel snow the day after the storm was over and it was warm enough to take my shirt off and work on my tan! I think we are due for another storm like that soon.

Anyway, I’m sure there will be a lot to talk about as the winter progresses. Snow days, flight delays, closing businesses, stocking up on groceries are all part of the drill when you choose to live in Colorado Springs. This winter is supposed to be wetter than the previous years, so I’m sure we will have our share of shoveling and melting. But nevertheless, we still love living in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains… snow and all!