Ned Weather

Ah, the wind is back...

By: MrMixon, 8:08 PM GMT on April 27, 2011

This was the first morning since April 19th that we did not wake up to a fresh batch of snow on the ground. For over a week (8 days) we had overnight showers leaving at least a dusting of snow on the ground in Nederland, with a few days boasting up to 1-3" of snow in that time.

Snow in April is quite common up in Ned, but to get snow every day for a stretch of 8 days is, I think, somewhat unusual. In my relatively short experience (11 years in Boulder County), I've found that spring snows usually come in quick pulses which are broken up by stretches of sunny, clear weather. But the stubborn weather pattern which has persisted over the U.S. for about a week and has brought terrible flooding and tornadoes to the middle part of the U.S. has brought us gentle, but persistent snowfall.

It looks like the weather is finally breaking today, with the return of sun and wind to Nederland. The radar shows a few showers out on the plains, heading almost due south due to the counter-clockwise spin around a massive low pressure system sitting over the middle part of the country.

Am hopeful that the past week's precipitation will lead to some improvement to the drought monitor map. It has looked pretty much like this for the past few weeks:



As I mentioned before, our spring snows generally come in pulses, but those pulses tend to be upslope systems which dump large amounts of snow at once (i.e. 5 inches or more) and tend to deposit that snow from the plains (i.e. Lafayette) all the way up to the Divide. The daily snowfalls hitting Nederland for the past week never dropped more than a couple inches and the snow tapered off quickly as you moved down the Canyon, leaving the lowlands to compete for very scattered and brief showers. As a result, most of Boulder County is experiencing at least some level of drought, from "abnormally dry" near the Continental Divide, to "Severe Drought" down on the plains near the Weld County border.

If we don't get a good upslope system in the next few weeks I expect to see that small zone of severe drought in the southeastern part of state continue its expansion towards the Front Range metro area (that small "severe" zone has expanded during each of the last three weekly drought monitor updates).

The Western Slope and higher mountains are in good shape, but unless things improve down on the plains I'm afraid we will see a lot of grass fires and forest fires in the lower foothills this year.

Updated: 4:18 AM GMT on April 28, 2011

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5 days and counting...

By: MrMixon, 4:04 PM GMT on April 23, 2011

This morning marks the fifth morning in a row that we've woken up to at least a dusting of snow on the ground, and also marks the biggest snowfall we've gotten so far this week (about 2 inches so far). The snow has lightened somewhat, but it's still coming down. The forecast is calling for continue chance of snow for the next three days, with our first chance at a break coming next Wednesday.

We can definitely use the moisture, but I've been hearing some grumbling around town about the daily snow...

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Green & white

By: MrMixon, 3:12 PM GMT on April 21, 2011

A band of showers passed through early this morning, making this the third morning in a row that Nederland has woken up to a dusting on the ground and flurries or light snow in the air. This comes on the heels of our biggest precipitation event of 2011, which occurred last Wednesday night into Thursday. This spring storm dumped 16-18" of badly needed snow on Nederland and, though it blessed us with moisture, the same system went on to wreak havoc across the Midwestern and Southern states.



The new coating of white each morning is contrasting pleasantly with the ever-expanding green of the grasses, shrubs and trees up in Ned. Our flowers haven't started popping yet and our aspens don't have leaves, but things are definitely starting to wake up (I think I saw the first green blade of grass maybe two weeks ago, and the by now the mountain valleys are starting to take on a greenish cast when the snow melts off).

This is a quickie, rather boring post (mostly for me) that I may flesh out later today or tomorrow. I just wanted to get the dates and amounts down "on paper" so to speak, so I wouldn't forget.

It's surely nice to get moisture on our parched Front Range mountains, but it hasn't pulled us out of our drought quite yet...




Updated: 3:18 PM GMT on April 21, 2011

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May flowers are banking on some April showers

By: MrMixon, 1:22 PM GMT on April 08, 2011

It wasn't your usual March in Colorado's Front Range this year, as is well summarized in this article in the Daily Camera.

Some excerpts from the article:

"Average March snowfall since 1970 is nearly 20 inches. Every once in a while, a stinker will come along, like 1991's 2 inches, but nothing in the last 100 years compares with this March.

March 2011 had just 0.7 inch of snow and 0.33 inch of moisture. It was also 6 degrees warmer than normal.

High winds and very low relative humidity combined to fuel nearly 30 wildfires, which is 10 times the March average.

Incident commander Rowdy Muir said this is the earliest his federal team has been mobilized. Colorado could be in for a repeat of the 2002 season, when the largest wildfire in state history, the Hayman Fire, destroyed 133 homes and 138,000 acres of forest. A total of 515 square miles burned statewide that year."



Here's the latest image from the US Drought monitor. Nederland lies in southwestern Boulder county, roughly on the border between the D0 (Abnormally Dry) and D1 (Moderate Drought) zones.



I plan to add to this post late....

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Fog

By: MrMixon, 3:35 PM GMT on April 06, 2011

Nederland woke up to thick fog this morning. It was definitely worth giving up the sunshine to have calm winds, as winds have been pretty ferocious the past couple days (gusts in the Canyon yesterday were strong enough to pelt the car with pea-sized gravel). The fog was thick enough through the top half of the canyon to impede visibility, and though the road was a little wet, the temperatures are warm enough to prevent ice. The fog gave way to overcast skies somewhere around Boulder Falls (about half-way down the Canyon). I had the wipers on all the way from Nederland to Louisville due to mist and very light rain.

Weather down in Louisville right now is cloudy, misty, with a gentle breeze out of the northeast. Most of the state has a decent chance for precipitation today, but once again the Western Slope is set to get the brunt of the moisture. Tonight is our best chance for moisture along the Front Range, but it doesn't look like this will be a significant precip event. Well, at least we get a break from the record high temperatures and drying winds...

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Fire & Ice

By: MrMixon, 2:51 PM GMT on April 04, 2011

This weekend Nederland sat near the border between two severe weather alert zones... above us in the higher mountains was a winter storm watch and below us in the lower foothills and plains was a fire weather watch.

There's still enough moisture in the mountains immediately surrounding town that fire wasn't a significant danger (though, not impossible either). However, the 4000+ acre Crystal Fire has resulted in the first reported loss of homes for Colorado this season, with at least 15 homes destroyed. It's a little nerve-wracking to be losing homes in early April, but I suspect it's not unprecedented.

Meanwhile, there was ice in the middle part of Boulder Canyon this morning. We got some flurries off and on yesterday, but most of it melted as it came down. However, a band swept through early this morning and deposited a quick half-inch at middle elevations, producing dangerous driving conditions in the Canyon (some of the nastiest accidents occur on mornings like this one... where roads near the top and bottom of the Canyon are clear, but roads in shady spots near the middle of the canyon are icy).

Be careful out there folks... there's ice on the roads and fire in the forests.

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Big Springs Subdivision
Nederland, CO
Elevation: 8400 ft
Temperature: 36.0 °F
Dew Point: 31.3 °F
Humidity: 83%
Wind: 3.0 mph from the South
Wind Gust: 7.0 mph
Updated: 11:21 PM MDT on April 19, 2014

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