Grand Junction tied for second for snow cover

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - While the rest of the country is still talking about the record snow fall that hit the mid–Atlantic states, back here on the Western Slope, we're approaching records of our own.

The sun was out Monday and it was the first time in a while our skies weren't dreary and gray. We started the winter season early with a late fall snowstorm that dumped a little more than nine inches of the snow on the Grand Valley, two weeks before winter officially started. Add to that, the fifth coldest December on record and you have the making for an unusually harsh winter season.

For residents of the Grand Valley, this winter has been a bad one. "It's been a while since we've had one this extreme," says Chris Barnes.

"The inversions and all the gray days, I'm wanting to drink more coffee," says Sally DeBeque-Smith.

"We're starting to approach some serious records," says John Kyle.

Kyle is in charge of recording data for the National Weather Service and he's been keeping track of the snow this season. "Today is our 63rd consecutive day with measurable snow on the ground," says Kyle. According to his records,we officially still have three inches.

That puts this winter in second place for consecutive days with snow cover and it seems to be snowballing every year. "They're getting worse every year," says DeBeque-Smith. "They just seem to be getting worse every year, more snow, more cold, like it used to be 20 years ago," Barnes says.

You would have to go back quite a bit further than 20 years to find a winter with more snow cover, more like 30. "Back in the winter of 1978 we had consecutive days of snow on the ground that actually exceeded what we have currently," says Kyle. That winter was a lot worse. It snowed in early December, like this year, but that snow cover hung around for 94 days, well into March.

While this year is not record breaking, it is a morale breaker. "I can't take it, I'm at my breaking point," says DeBeque-Smith.

But there is some good news on a horizon. "The inversion will break and we will mix the atmosphere and get warmer temps in the atmosphere," says Kyle. That news is coming a little too late for some. "We're looking for property in Arizona to become snow birds," says DeBeque-Smith.

Another bit of good news. While three records were broken in December for the bitter cold, none have been broken so far this year. Hopefully that's a sign of good things to come.

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