Friday, March 25, 2016
Denver March 2016 Blizzard
On March 23rd, the metro Denver area received a "surprise" blizzard. In Castle Rock my car was buried under 12-14 inches of snow, drifts were up to my waist, schools and the library were closed. The wind was howling above 55 MPH in gusts. Driving was nearly impossible. I-25 south of town was closed just like I-70 at Denver and I-25 north to Wyoming. The eastern plains were battered too. Most of Colorado was under a Winter Storm Warning that became a blizzard warning as the day progressed. At one time 130,000 people were without electrical power. Temperatures were below 30 degrees. All in all, not a good day for hiking or doing anything outdoors.
That's a spring storm. Spring Storms sneak up on you and change quickly, especially in the mountains. I prefer hiking in the fall because those storms move slower and are not as severe as the spring storms can be. The same goes for hiking in the eastern US too. In the spring, beware of sneaky, strong storms that can catch you off guard. They won't show up in the forecast as anything more than cold weather, or maybe a light snow and then, bam! You find yourself stranded on an Interstate highway with dozens of other drivers worrying you have enough gas to keep the heater going or spending the night on a cot in a noisy emergency shelter, calling family and telling them not to worry.
My short video above was shot from inside my home looking out of my balcony. I was thankfully off work today and didn't have to commute into town. Remember to always pack a blanket or two in the car for winter and spring trips, plus snacks and water to drink. If you live in the inter-mountain west, or far north, never leave home without a warm jacket, gloves and a hat until well into May.