Katy bar the door

mountain stormfront

See that wall of white? That’s what a serious mountain storm looks like. In the high country and on the far side of those mountains the wind is blowing 70-80 mph, with gusts to 100 mph. Heavy snow is falling and in places will drift 10-12 feet high. Travel is impossible.

Interestingly, Boulder Valley, seen in this webcam shot, will get no snow. The skies will remain sunny and blue. The temperature is expected to be in the 60s. Skiers will be gleefully waxing their skis in anticipation of a foot or more of fresh “pow” by morning. But today there’s a high wind warning across the valley and paralleling the foothills north to Wyoming and south almost to New Mexico. Those storm winds will come roaring down the slopes and blasting out of the canyons at speeds of 90-100 mph. Unwary cars and trucks will be blown off north-south highways. Windows in homes will be blown out by the pressure or shattered by flying patio paraphernalia. Trees will be damaged and power lines may be downed. In short, it gives new meaning to “Katy bar the door” and amends it to “Bar the door and tie down the kids.”

Here at home, I’ll just be an observer. Extreme mountain winds die quickly on the plains and by the time they’ve traveled some fifteen miles east to my house, they’ll be little more than annoying gusts. At least, that’s what the weatherman said.



Categories: Green

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8 replies

  1. That is beautiful! What I’ve caught on the news has me a bit confused though. They seem to be predicting heavy snow and above “tropical storm” strength winds, but they’re not calling that a blizzard. What the hell is a “blizzard” then? 😀

    • I’m not sure how the experts make the distinction, but one weatherman last night drew a circle on the map nestled against the west (windward) side of the mountains and said that’s where there would be blizzard conditions. I think a blizzard has to be sustained winds (for some hours) above a certain speed, with heavy snowfall creating low visibility and lots of drifting. The rest of the warning area is more likely to have very high but intermittent, not sustained, winds. Wind is freaky in the mountains, gusting, swirling, and very much affected by the local terrain. It can be roaring in one valley, and dead calm just over the ridge, and change in an instant.

      Definition from the National Weather Service:
      Blizzard
      (abbrev. BLZD)- A blizzard means that the following conditions are expected to prevail for a period of 3 hours or longer:

      Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater; and
      Considerable falling and/or blowing snow (i.e., reducing visibility frequently to less than ¼ mile)

  2. Gosh, you look out at those mountains every day? Gorgeous shot and wonderful post (you know how we Brits love our weather reports).

    • No, I can’t see them from my house, unfortunately. Except for a glimpse between houses when the trees are bare. As long as I’m at home, I have to settle for just knowing they are there and looking at them several times a day via webcams.

  3. When we were young we lived on Oahu for three years. It was fabulous – for about 6 months. After that, believe it or not, it got really old. The weather hardly changes. The highs would sometimes be in the 60’s in the “winter” and everyone would gripe about trying to find a sweater! Go figure.

    I’ll take seasons anytime. Nice post.

"Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance." ~ Plato

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