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!