Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Westward into Winter

Heading back to our Colorado farm yesterday morning, we left Columbia under hazy skies; the temperature at dawn was 71 degrees F and the dew point was nearly as high.  Just west of Topeka, Kansas, we crossed the cold front of the massive storm system that pummeled the Southern Plains and Midwest with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes over the past few days.

After driving through a heavy band of rain, studded with lightning, we emerged on the back side  of the front and the temperature began to fall.  Through central and western Kansas, strong northwest winds rocked our pickup as we sliced through a chilly mist and, by the time we reached the Colorado line, the temperature had fallen into the upper thirties (of course, the wind chill was significantly lower).

The first pockets of snow appeared along the highway in eastern Colorado, increasing in extent as we approached the Palmer Divide, north of Limon.  Though up to 8 inches had fallen in parts of Metro Denver, most had melted under the potent May sun by the time we reached our Littleton farm; there, the temperature was 37 degrees, to be followed by an overnight low in the mid twenties.  May upslope snowstorms are not uncommon along the Colorado Front Range, generally occurring every 3-4 years; while the heavy, wet snow smashes flower beds and often takes down tree limbs; it doesn't last long.  We'll be back in the fifties today and in the eighties by this weekend.