January 06, 2007

Pueblo man takes blame for blizzard

My wrists are tired from shoveling snow from the latest 10-inch dump.

Colorado life is all about the snowpack, and right now it looks pretty good.

December's weather contributed to a dramatic shift in snowpack patterns across the state. Usually snowpack is highest in the mountains, but recent storms boosted snowpack to high levels on the Eastern Plains, while the figures taper off to below average across the mountains of Western Colorado. In addition, the lower elevations of the Rio Grande, Arkansas and South Platte basins show greater snowpack than the mountainous headwater regions.

"Lower elevations . . . of the Arkansas." That means our wells here on Hardscrabble Creek, with any luck.

But here is the hidden truth. This last snowstorm is the fault of a Pueblo contractor with the initials S.M. He has been working on our rental house, and the last job to do is to install a new, forest fire-resistant, metal roof.

Rather than put if off to spring, he wanted to charge right ahead and get it done. So he hired a neighbor of ours to come in with a front loader and clean out the snow around the house that piled up during the December storms, in order that he could set up his ladders.

One day later, whoomp! Today he has been over there with a brand-new Troy-Bilt snowblower trying to re-do the job, while I dug out the buried metal panels with a shovel and otherwise did what the blower could not reach. I will try to nibble away more at the big drift on the north side tomorrow.

He admits that scheduling a roofing job in early January may have affected the weather. It's like washing your car to make it rain.

But with the Arkansas drainage snowpack at 118 percent for this time of year, maybe S.M. should get at least some of the credit.

On a slightly related note, Dave Hardy passes along a more stoic response to blizzards. No FEMA trailers. No $2,000 cash cards. No celebrities arriving by helicopter. How can those people survive?

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