Inversion still around, but not as intense

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Stepping outside your door in the morning, you might have noticed a little bit of relief when it comes to the cold.

It's still literally freezing outside, but things have warmed up since the beginning of the month. It appears the record low temps set this December are behind us. The freezing air mass that moved in early this month has dispersed, and the effects from the inversion are settling down.

"Earlier in the month we had a very strong push of arctic air that associated with the storm system," said Paul Frisbie, a meteorologist with the Grand Junction National Weather Service. "Since then, the air mass has modified greatly, and is simply just not as cold."

And for those wishing for warmer weather, Frisbie says that as the snow already on the ground melts away, the reflecting power, or "albedo", lessens, causing more heat energy to be absorbed around us. That should continue as long as there isn't another big snow storm.

"Fresh snow reflects extremely well whereas, once it gets older, it does not reflect as well. So in other words, it retains more energy as opposed to when it's fresh."

Even if more snow does find its way to the ground here in western Colorado, you shouldn't expect the same kind of cold.

"It would require another strong arctic push to move into the valley to bring those kinds of temperatures back. The inversion is very much with us. It's not as intense, but it's still here."

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