Weather: Winter. It’s anyone’s guess. | SkyHiNews.com
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Weather: Winter. It’s anyone’s guess.

by Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News
Byron Hetzler/Sky Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky Hi Daily News

The forecast for this winter’s snowfall is . . . (drumroll please). . .

Well, it depends on who you ask.

One popular prediction method revolves around skunk cabbage; the higher it grows, the deeper the snow.

“It’s pretty darn high,” said Granby local Patrick Brower, referring to the height of the skunk cabbage in his yard. “I think it’s going to be a good year.”

Jennifer Metz, training manager for the Ski and Ride School, said a good indicator of whether Grand County gets snow is when TV forecasters predict a “dusting” for the area. Then, “We get pounded.”

She added the possibility of snow is also directly correlated to whether the resort is hosting a race ” particularly if it’s a large event. It will dump, she said, if it’s a large, speed event.

Ron Richards, slope maintenance supervisor for the resort, had a different theory.

He based his prediction on his knees.

“My knees used to ache when it got cold and a storm was coming,” Richards said. “Now, they ache all year, so expect a long cold winter.”

Perhaps a more educated guess is in order.

Mark Heuer, a meteorologist for Day Weather, Inc. has taken the effects of La Nina into account for this winter’s forecast. La Nina, he said, has a direct role in what the weather conditions will be for the Winter Park area.

We will see warmer temperatures and near average snowfall.

“In a La Nina year, (northwestern Colorado) is generally a little warmer than the average temperature pattern,” Heuer said. “So, we can expect slightly above normal temperatures that can range on average from 1 to 3 degrees over the whole period of winter.”

In an average year, Winter Park sees 228 inches of snow from September through June.

During La Nina, the northern and central part of the country is generally in between two main weather patterns, explained Heuer. The specific northwest and northern Rockies, for example ” such as Montana, Idaho, and parts of Wyoming ” will see below average temperatures and above average precipitation. Southwestern and southern states, however, are generally warmer and drier ” such as southern Utah, New Mexico and southern Colorado.

Winter Park lies in-between those two weather patterns, which gives weather conditions across Colorado north of I-70 the probability of having mixed results, Heuer said.

“It allows for greater variance in probability, meaning we could go one way or another. We could go wetter, or drier, depending on how things develop as we get into the (winter) period.”

Heuer added he will have a more accurate prediction for this year’s temperatures and precipitation as the winter season gets on its way.

” To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail smiller@grandcountynews.com.


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