High Points: The weirdness of the Aspen weather
April showers bring May — flowers?
That was pretty amazing. Ten-plus inches in the valley in May? Not unprecedented, of course, but it has been a mudseason to remember. Or perhaps one to forget.
The last day of skiing, May 4, the temps climbed into the high 60s, and it looked like we might get a good blast of sunshine and warm days. Cut to a week later, and it got all snowy and cold. Must be a bear for the bears that have come out of hibernation thinking it was time to get fat again. The elk and the foals probably would like to see a little sunshine, as well.
In reality, we should be pretty thankful to get whatever moisture we can. Even after a solid winter with 300 inches of snow up and down the valley, we still are in a mode that would be more closely identified as a drought. It seems once the sun comes out for even a little bit, the vegetation around my house feels timber dry.
Look to the west and the fires in San Diego (I hope everyone’s relatives are OK), and you can see the consequences of the changing weather patterns. The chief of the Fire Department in Carlsbad said that in 20 years, he has never seen it so bad. And again, this is just in May. Longtime local L.A. weather guy Fritz Coleman said that the situation out there was akin to an October wind event coming in May. There is no question things have changed in the weather patterns. Admit it or not, stuff is strange.
I subscribe to the Aspen Weather guys at AspenWeather.net and look forward to reading Cory’s daily call for what it is going to do. This guy really feels the wind and the rain and the snow and the sun in his bones. But he lives the science, as well. He and Ryan have changed the way we get our weather forecasts here in the valley.
All winter when I get on the lifts with locals and the conversation turns to what kind of snow we are going to have for our turns that day and the next, people start to quote Cory’s email. “Well, the ambient water is at 4 G’s per kilogram,” someone will say, “and we have an upslope from the northwest, so we may get a hit. But we really need that westerly to get a dump.” Everyone nods, knowing that on the European model the so-called “westerly” is only a figment of the collective imagination.
As we move into summer — that is if there ever is a summer — Ryan and Cory have promised big changes at AspenWeather.net. There is discussion of having a flight-plan forecast, an app for iPhones and maybe even a live podcast weather segment.
All would be welcome, of course. But not as welcome as a proper mix of sun and rain. Let’s hope.
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