News Letter: Winter 2006

Winter Storms & the Persistent Drought ...

heavy snow

*WINTER* has struck here in Colorado!!!!
Written in early January: 4th, bitter cold, and snow storm later this afternoon. We have had over 60 inches of snow, with another 12 inches or more expected in the next 48 hours. Highs in the next four days: 10 degrees ... lows at -9 degrees (or lower).

The sheep and I are sick of this!!!! You can take this winter and shove it! Shoving it here, shoving it there, until there's no place left to shove any more snow. When it stays cold it doesn't melt, it just piles up and up.

more snow

Another View of Snow

November 21, 2006 21 inches snow
December 21, 2006 30 inches snow
December 28, 2006 18 inches snow
January 5, 2007 12 inches snow

Wind speeds (January 7th thru 8th morning)
72 mph @ 7:55 pm
78 mph @ 8:23 pm
Sustained 45 mph
72 mph @ 9:03 pm
74 mph @ 9:26 pm
82 mph @ 9:34 pm
75 mph @ 9:35 pm
79 mph @ 9:54 pm
74 mph @ 10:01 pm
88 mph @ 3:04 am

January 13, 2007 6 inches snow
January 13, 2007 81 mph winds

January 20, 2007 5 inches snow
January 27, 2007 3 inches snow
January 28, 2007 5 inches snow
January 31, 2007 5 inches snow
February 1, 2007 -18 degrees at night, -49 degrees wind chill

Snow total for 69 days = 105 inches of snow

snow drifts snow drifts

You can see what happens when you have snow, and then the wind moves it. Great drifts, and bare ground.

You would think that all of this snow is just the greatest thing to help the drought? When the ground is frozen down to 5 feet deep, and the wind blows the snow into deep drifts, leaving bare ground exposed ... somehow there's not any net gain for the water in the ground.

There are two types of wind in Colorado: the Chinook, which is a warm, down sloping wind, know as the "snow eater".

Then there is the Bora wind, which is out of the north, northwest and is a cold wind. The winds in the above stats are all Bora winds. Finger freezing, relentless cold winds.

snow drifts in the feedbunks snow drifts in the barn

Not a day has gone past during this time that we didn't spend some hours, sometimes whole days, moving snow by hand with shovels, trying to keep the barn and outlying huts clear of snow. It doesn't take but about three inches of snow, and a 45 mph wind to drift up the snow into a pile where you don't need for it to be.
Not that we didn't use the blade on the tractor to dig out the car and truck. Three times we had to ask the neighbor with the skid-steer to clear enough of the snow to get down the driveway.
The above photos were of one of the heavier snows with 70 mph winds to move it.

Its just now the beginning of lambing season for us ... March 21 to April something. The snow HAS finally gone away ... flowing out and away in the Little Thompson river. You can't tell we've had any moisture, and again we really need some rain. (Same mantra as the past eight years.)
I wish I could say something good about the past winter, but nothing comes to mind?

Spring will come and I put my hope in that!

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