Winter Makes Final Stand

Photo by Woodland Park Underground

~ by Rick Langenberg ~

Forget about an early summer in the high country, with postcards scenes of golf, baseball and picnic activities at local playing fields and parks. Instead, bring on the cross-country skis and sleds.     

Winter took a final stand, with temperatures plunging by 30-plus degrees on Friday evening and throughout Saturday. In fact, more than a foot of snow blanketed parts of Teller County, bringing commerce to a standstill.  The conditions began to deteriorate by Friday evening, with snow bombarding the lower Ute Pass and Teller County areas until late Saturday morning. The wet storm, capped by blowing snow and high winds, produced hazardous driving conditions. But most motorists weren’t fooled by the well-predicted winter invasion. Teller, El Paso and Pueblo counties were placed under a winter storm warning for several days.

Warning signs were placed along Hwy. 24, advising motorists to prepare for the worse. Officials also made it clear that quickly falling snow and plunging temperatures could produce deteriorating road conditions and damaged trees, resulting in outages. For the most part, the region didn’t experience that many serious accidents and didn’t face conditions as bad as parts of southern Colorado, and even Denver. The timing of the storm also didn’t affect any local school districts or Friday morning commutes.

The main impact consisted of another bad blow for local businesses and casinos that rely on weekend traffic. It also temporarily ended play at the Shining Mountain Golf Course, which has had its share of bad weather since reopening for the season. Several key baseball games also were put on hold. In fact, even a massive protest rally against the Trump administration’s climate change policies, scheduled in many cities across the country, including Denver and Colorado Springs, was postponed until later in the weekend.   

It may take the area several days to fully rebound from the weekend’s snow bombardment.  

On the upside, the storm will help with the region’s ultra- dry fire conditions, following a record dry March. With the extra moisture, a Stage One fire ban in Teller County was lifted