February 04, 2009

False Spring's Pleasure and Panic

Up and down Colorado's Front Range, people are enjoying a "window" of warm weather, a "false spring."

At my house in the Wet Mountains, afternoon temperatures have bumped the 60-degree (F) point on some afternoons, and it's warm enough to sit and read on the southwest-facing front porch.

The normal reaction, of course, is to worry about snow and drought. From the blogroll, two responses:

At Pueblo Mountain Park Environmental Center, "Ranger Dave" Van Manen notes that cumulative snowfall this year has been only 43 inches compared to 63 inches last year, measured at the end of January. And most of it has melted off.

A little further west of me, at the edge of the Wet Mountain Valley, Hal Walter says don't worry: it is the high-elevation snow that matters. True enough, but he and I both depend on wells that are ultimately fed by more local snows, if my understanding of hydrology is correct.

And then there is the whole fire-danger issue. So it goes.

A couple other signs: A road-killed skunk on Colorad0 96 and M.'s sighting of a black-bear track about half a mile from the house both seem to show that some hibernating animals are up and about, although they will return to their dens if the weather gets colder. Bears used to be described as "not true hibernators" for that reason.


mdmnm said...

Yeah, and if the warm spell keeps up bulbs will come up and, even worse, a few early blooming fruit trees will blossom, only to be burnt. I'm ready for warm weather, but lets wait awhile and have a couple of more good snows, please?

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

How normal is "false spring"? It seems to happen a lot in Denver compared to my years in the Midwest, even though the latitude is almost the same, and the average temperatures are very similar.

Chas S. Clifton said...

"False spring" is common, but not inevitable. I do not recall having such a warm period in my area in 2007 or 2008. In other years, yes.

Anonymous said...

I do NOT want this weather right now! We need snow, and lots of it. It is, after all, Colorado. I keep thinking "we're going to pay for this"...a big snow must be just around the corner (wishful thinking).