May 9, 2017
We have had some atypical weather these last few days. Yesterday morning walking down Montview Boulevard I imagined that someone had taken a colossal comb and raked it through the trees that line the road and then collected the debris into a monstrous Cuisinart, pulsed it five times, refrigerated the pulp overnight and then poured it onto the sidewalk. That is what a good hale storm will do in the early spring. What a lovely smell… wet rotting vegetation. It made me think we were walking in a New England forest, cold damp with last falls leaves composting underfoot. Yesterday’s Post had a photo of Coors Field under a white blanket of hail.
Sunday afternoon’s was perhaps even more intense. I took a quick photo at Loveland ski area as the storm rolled in from the west and the ski patrol chased people from the ridgeline of the Continental Divide above the Eisenhower tunnel.
Walking our neighborhood after the storm passed we took photos of the huge coniferous trees that had snapped in the wind; one had crashed on a house over on Dexter and 23rd, another had fallen neatly across a front yard conveniently landing between a house and sidewalk missing a car in the driveway by a few feet just north of 22nd where the goats live.
Here in Colorado we pride ourselves with how fast and how intensely our weather can change. There is no forgetting that we live in the center of what is called a ‘continental landmass’ far from any temperature moderating effect of either ocean or Great Lakes. Yet still this weather feels uncharacteristic. Thunderstorms and hail are summer time phenomenon at least in my memory. But who trusts their memory anymore?
I find myself wondering if the government websites that track these sorts of things are still available. The recent push to limit any acknowledgement of climate change may have advanced so quickly as to censor such information. NOAA has been targeted with budget cuts. I begin to worry how far politics and flat earth believers have crept into weather reporting. To my relief NOAA’s websites still seem intact
NOAA’s webpage on climate change and variability is still online
and it still lists the ten indicators that are tracked that indicate that the world is warming:
- sea ice
- sea surface temperature
- ocean heat content
- sea level
- temperature over oceans
- water vapor in air
- air temperature over land surfaces in troposphere
- glaciers and ice sheet
- snow cover
- air and ground temperature near surface
Their 2014 report on climate assessment is posted here: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/
A few clicks takes us to the ‘Climate Extremes Index’ page: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/cei/regional-overview
A bit of further clicking reveals that April was rather typical. We had about 2 inches of rain state wide, which is about a quarter inch more than we’ve averaged since 1901. April’s statewide average temperature was 44.2 F, about 1.7 degrees higher than the average. Average high temperature was 1.5 degrees higher than average. Not surprising given how warm the month felt.
As far as hail storms, I haven’t found a measure of what is average. After all we do live in Colorado and we do have some interesting extremes in weather.