Aspen springs back to winter temperatures |

Aspen springs back to winter temperatures

Aspen remains frosty to this whole summer thing.Night temperatures of late have been colder than a witch’s … well, you get the idea. Sunday night, on the edge of June, the thermometer fell to 27 degrees at the Aspen airport, according to the National Weather Service.It was the coldest temperature in Aspen for that date since 1954, when Aspenites shivered in 22-degree temperatures, longtime Aspenite and weather savant Jim Markalunas said.The cold snap surprised even him.”Last week I just set my geraniums out. Of course [Sunday] night I was cussing myself,” he said. “I, of all people, should know better.”Out for a walk with his dog Monday morning, Markalunas noticed heavy frost on the Aspen Center for Physics’ roof.”But we’ve had it before. We’ve had snow on Memorial Day,” he said.The coldest day in May in Aspen came in 1962 when the thermometer read 14. But that might have been early in the month, Markalunas said.Michael Meyers, science and operations officer at the weather service’s Grand Junction office, said a vigorous weather system is moving through the area.”And we had some pretty cold air behind it,” he said.The system was cold and dry, “which allowed temperatures to drop down to near-record or record-breaking temperatures,” Meyers said.Springtime on the Western Slope occasionally includes cold snaps. But “the thing about this system was it was pretty widespread. We had cold temperatures all across western Colorado.”Late frosts in the upper Roaring Fork Valley are possible into June, Meyers added.In fact, on June 30, 1973, the temperature dropped to 23 degrees and froze the new growth of scrub oak, Markalunas said.”The scrub oak looked like cooked spinach,” he said.The temperature Monday night was again forecast for the 20s. But summer could finally make an appearance later this week when temperatures are predicted to rise.”There was definitely frost” Monday morning, Markalunas said. “I can’t say it was frost on the pumpkin, but I’ll have to say it was frost on the dandelions.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is

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