GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Old Man Winter has finally released his grip on the Grand Valley allowing temperatures to climb into the 50s but there's still a big difference from this time last year.
By 11 a.m. Monday temperatures in Grand Junction had reached 48 degrees and that had a lot of residents coming out of the woodwork to enjoy it.
"You always want to be outside, this is where it's at," says Jay Hoefling, who has been aching to get outside and play a few rounds of golf. Like many others, he's been aching for a long time. "Would have been about the 6th of December, something like that," says Hoefling.
This winter has been a harsh one, with snowcover that fell at the beginning of December and lasted until about mid–February. "That really kept a hard inversion on us and it kept temperatures well below normal," says National Weather Service Meteorologist John Kyle.
So far below, that we only reached normal one day the entire month of February. Which is a big difference from last year. "Last year it was earlier in the winter season that we broke the snow and broke the inversion," Kyle says.
Last year's February was a lot warmer, with 15 days in the 40s, 10 in the 50s and two in the 60s. "We actually hit 66 degrees on Feb. 25," says Kyle.
This February was much colder, with 20 days in the 30s, two in the 20s and only six days in the 40's. Grand Junction ever reach 50. The warmest day was Sunday, Feb. 28 at 47 degrees.
Monday was a bit warmer, with 52 for a daytime high. "Nothing compares to this, being outside, nothing," says Hoefling.
Last year's quick warm up continued well into March with the majority of the days 50 or higher, and two of the seven 70 degree days coming in the first week.
Even though 70 degree days seem out of reach for this year's first week of March, many are taking our little warm up in stride. "As long as it's like this, I'm going to be on the golf course all day," says Hoefling.