In the past there’s been a lot of eye rolling when the local meteorologists get excited about an incoming storm. But this time they nailed it. Winter Storm Ulmer is here.
As predicted, the wind and rain began early this morning and after listening to it for a half hour or so, I rolled out of bed around 9 am (yes, I’m a real go-getter). By 9:30, right on schedule, the rain changed to snow. It’s coming in almost horizontally, riding wind gusts of 20-30 mph. Fortunately my one-story house is surrounded by two-story homes, so I’ve got a bit of a buffer.
Normally the snow stays closer to the mountains and is much lighter here, several miles east of I-25. But this time it’s supposed to be worse here and father east, out on the plains. Ranchers out east will face 80 mph winds across their pastures full of new calves. Predictions are for winds equivalent to a Cat 2 hurricane. Looks like a hurricane on the wind map, doesn’t it? (Click on it to see the live map.)
And to think I was out walking the dog yesterday in sunny 58° weather.
But at the same time, around 4 pm, school closures were being announced for today, flights were being cancelled at DIA, and businesses all over the area were urging employees to stay home today. I’ve lived here for about 12 years and school closures usually aren’t announced until early the day of the closure.
Local media haven’t produced a lot of good still shots yet, but Ulmer is supposed to roar into the evening, so I’m sure they will be forthcoming.
Meantime, I’m warm and cozy indoors, hoping my power doesn’t go out. (Already 30,000 outages in my county.) And contemplating my trash can in the street, on its side. It may be out there for a while, along with all the others up and down the block.
Uh oh. I just let the dog out for a minute and there’s now a branch (or tree top?) lying in my yard. I have several relatively young trees out there. I hope one of them didn’t just get topped. They never look right again if they get topped.
My favorite Denver webcam normally looks like this:
Right now it looks like this:
Those of you in the path of this storm, batten down the hatches. Ulmer’s for real.
12:11 pm: DIA just reported an 80 mph gust.
1 pm: Guess I’m a wimp. The trash collectors made their regular rounds here, despite the storm, and the neighbor across the street has already taken his bin back inside.
2:30 pm: Just dragged the trash bin up from the street. Figured it would be easier now than after another 6″ of snow fall on my driveway — and in the overturned bin.
3 pm: This is from the colorful whole earth wind map at earth.nullschool.net:
6 pm: Looks like the snow has stopped and the wind is dying down.
2 pm, March 14: Finally took a deep breath, suited up, and ventured out to clear my front walk, per city ordinances. Thank goodness the sunshine and light winds had worked their magic and there was very little left to do but push some remaining slush into the street. To get to the sidewalk, I cleared a shovel-width strip down the driveway and quickly learned this was a very heavy wet snow (aka “California Concrete” or “Sierra Cement”). But it’s melting fast, as is customary. I did discover that the backyard gate, already in very bad shape, had blown open. The bolts holding the bottom hinge were pulled completely out of the wood. It had to have happened sometime yesterday, and yet my dog Annie, who was in and out at least a dozen times, never left the yard. Good girl!!