Ugh. You know things are bad when there is a fire ban in place on Halloween. You know it’s really bad when people are walking around in shorts and flip flops, and November begins twenty-four hours from now. October has come and gone with one day of seasonably cold weather and a scant two inches of snow.
Some perspective here. Average snowfall for the month of October is close to 10 inches. In October, 2009, they had a storm that dropped three feet of snow.
It’s not just the lack of snow, it’s the lack of temperatures even remotely feeling fall-like. The warm, sunny day with blue skies just seem endless — a picture-perfect summer’s day, except the calendar says October 31.
Not only have we not run our wood stove, we continue to open the windows at night as temperatures rarely sink below the forties. Up and down the block, mountainous piles of freshly chopped woods are stacked, but not a wisp of smoke can be seen coming from anyone’s chimney. In fact, the other morning as I walked the dogs before work, the temperature was already a balmy 53 degrees at 7:30 a.m. right after sunrise.
Last night I was awakened by the strong winds blowing, not something out of the ordinary here in Nederland. But my reaction given the time of year was out of the ordinary. I flashed straight to, god I hope no one started an illegal campfire this past weekend… Because we are screwed if another fire starts right now with how dry it’s been and these winds.
Joel Gratz of OpenSnow, powder forecaster extraordinaire, is preaching to the masses – DO NOT PANIC!! It’s hard not to panic if you work in the ski resort business right now in Colorado. Not only is there no snow falling from the sky, it’s not even getting cold enough to make snow. Even if they make snow during the colder night time temperatures, the sun and 50 degree temperatures are melting it as soon as they make it.
Most ski resorts aim for a mid-November opening preceding Thanksgiving. I signed up to teach my first ski class November 21, three weeks from today. And at this moment, there is no snow on the ground. Yikes! I guess it’s time to resort to Plan B for work…
So why is Mother Nature taunting us ski enthusiasts in this cruel way? It’s all about high pressure baby…A very resilient ridge of high pressure has entrenched itself over much of the country, with storms tracking well to our north, where Whistler Ski Resort and the Pacific Northwest are getting snow. This high pressure ridge is keeping the jet stream well to the north of Colorado resulting in high and dry conditions.
We’ve seen this before in prior years, and yes, at some point that ridge of high pressure eventually breaks down. But will it break down in time to save our ski season? Missing out on Thanksgiving skiing is one thing. But if it doesn’t start snowing in copious amounts by early December, the Christmas/New Year’s season may be wrecked.
Having worked in the ski resort industry for eight years, I know am at the whim of the weather. It can giveth and taketh away. Right now, it’s not giving much. Here’s hoping for a pattern change, and can you make it soon?