Are snowy Mays the new normal? I’m beginning to think so.
We’re only three days into the month of May, and we’ve already had almost 12 inches of snow. Now in any given year, you could chalk that up to an aberration of weather for that year. But in the eight years we’ve lived in Nederland, we have had signficiant snowfall the last four years.
Mother’s Day in Nederland has become a day to take Mom skiing rather than take her out for brunch. And last May we had a 3-foot snowstorm on May 19.
I’m not the only one to have noticed. As I stopped for coffee this morning at the train car in Nederland, we chatted about it.
“Lots of snow today, huh?”
“Yeah, it’s like May is the new April. In fact, winters are feeling like everything is pushed back by one month. March is like February, April is like March, and May feels like April in terms of snowfall.”
I thought about what he said, and it does feel like winter is extending longer in the mountains of Colorado. But why? Is it a function of climate change or just a weird weather trend?
Visitors from out of state are often surprised to see blinking signs along I-70 reminding truckers that it is mandatory to carry chains through May 31. But one look at I-70 today reminds you that indeed, you must be prepared for winter driving conditions even though the calendar would say otherwise.
Last year, I made the premature decision to take my snow tires off the car the second week of May. The weather and had been warm and sunny, and I thought it was safe to do so. One week later, I greatly regretted that decision. As I tried to make my way out of our neighborhood, my car started fishtailing and I found myself in a ditch.
The thing with these May snowstorms is that the snow is usually heavy and wet, creating slippery road surfaces. The other problem is that all that heavy, wet snow frequently takes down power lines. As I lay in bed this morning, and realized that the lights had gone out. With no power outages all winter, I had become quite lax and had forgotten to fire up the generator recently. I would pay the price for that, finding a dead battery when I tried to get it started this morning.
Even the wildlife have to cope with the difficulties of the snowy and cold weather. The hummingbirds had already made their trek back from Central America, appearing in the neighborhood. Today, they found frozen flowers instead of tasty nectar. No worries, this is Colorado, and by tomorrow, spring will return to melt all the snow.
Someone felt happy with the snow — the three ski resorts still spinning lifts. Both Loveland Ski Resort and Mary Jane maxed out their snow stakes today with over 18 inches of snow falling in 24 hours. Who says you can’t get a little powder rush in May?