Ulmer is here

Wind map from http://hint.fm/wind/

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!!

20 thoughts on “Ulmer is here

  1. OH MY GOSH!! Stay safe and warm, hopefully your power will stay on. March is definitely trying to keep us guessing weather wise!

          1. I will, my son is in Indianapolis and they’re expecting bad stuff, so I’ll be keeping an eye on his weather too. Luckily, we both have basements.

    1. No kidding. No leaves on the trees and no snow accumulation, so I’m distressed that branches are breaking. But if it’s from the pear tree … well, I was warned that they are very brittle.

  2. There has been so much horrible weather and climate change conditions this past year and these winters!
    I’m in central Florida and it concerns me this year for hurricanes again, as we’ve had a nice mild pleasant winter..makes me wonder what’s coming our way again.

    Can’t imagine dealing with your winters.

    1. This is an epic storm, even for Colorado. The winters are usually not bad at all. It doesn’t really snow that often, and when it does, it usually disappears within a day or two just because the air here is so dry. We’ve had an unusual amount of snow in the mountains this winter, but that’s great for all. The skiers love it, and it boosts the water supply for the entire state.

      I’ve been in Florida twice in my life and couldn’t stand the humidity. Also prefer snow to hurricanes any day!

        1. Oh, I get that. You certainly aren’t alone in that. But at almost 76, I find I can deal with cold better than heat. Maybe because I’m carrying so much “natural insulation.”

  3. They nailed it alright. Had ch 7 Denver on for a bit as kid was supposed to be on flight that way (canceled, but had already notified people rescheduling was in progress)
    Spring flowers ought to be lovely this year ( We’re using rain coats, there be sure but hang on to the dog today – such winds!)
    Paws crossed power stays on for you and Annie

    1. Yes, the airlines and schools were very proactive this time, much to their credit. So often they’ve waited too long.

      Hadn’t thought ahead to spring, but for sure we’ve got a lot more moisture this year than in previous springs.

      Thanks for the crossed paws. They’re working so far!

  4. I live in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California where we also get snow and a bit of rugged weather, although nothing like that of Colorado. We have lived here 18 years, and have never seen such weather as this year. Our average rainfall is 40 inches; this year, with more predicted, we have had 52 inches–27 inches last month. May you stay warm, dry, and with lights on! Blessings always.

    1. Thank you, Shirley. Yes, still warm, dry, and lights are on. Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with all the snow on my front walk that the city says must be cleared within 24 hours of any storm! You take care, too. Mountains are gorgeous but so unpredictable.

    1. It does. And we did. But today it’s mostly sunny and windy, perfect conditions for melting/evaporating snow. If I glare at my front walk long enough, it will clear itself.

... and that's my two cents