Here’s a couple of pictures for you! The snowy one was taken this morning, but guess how long ago was the other taken? Mousing-over the pics will give you weather conditions for the same time of day for those pictures.
As I type, the intensity of the snow fall is constant.
Although this may not be a surprise to those who live around here, but it may do to those back home in the UK… but the two photos above are only 2 days apart! The temperature around 9am on Saturday was 19°C/66°F with low humidity, and 9am today (Monday) it is 0°C/32°F.
Yesterday (Sunday) we had a family outings at a mini farm fair (more on that later), the park, and Oktoberfest. It was lovely and warm, as you can tell from the pics, but around 5:30pm when chowing on our Oktoberfest grub, the organiser on the pavilion stage announced that they are going to get the last band on stage and the pitches wound down early to not get caught out by the coming “snow storm!”
When we left Oktoberfest yesterday at about 6pm to start winding the kids down for the day, you can see from the graphs above that that was when the weather conditions started to change pretty rapidly. Temperature decreased, and pressure and wind speed rose. Winds which were calm became more strong from the north. This was all due to a cold front passing over the state of Colorado. The temperature map below with a front line superimposed on top shows the impact of the cold front on temperature very nicely.
One of my favourite websites to help me both understand and teach about weather is Windy.com. Anyone who teaches weather and climate must have this website bookmarked without a shadow of a doubt! It is quite hypnotic too!
A still screenshot doesn’t do it justice. This is a temperature map with the lines (which are in animation) showing wind strength and direction. When in animation, you can see that behind the cold front, wind is coming from the north drawing cold air down into Colorado and also over it’s mountains, creating snow. Whereas ahead of the cold front on the warm side, air is pushing up from the south over Texas, Louisiana etc.
In the UK, we have the moderating effect of being an island, where sea breezes off the Atlantic Ocean keeps us cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. So fronts don’t usually bring about such rapid and contrasting changes in conditions. But in Colorado, not only do they not have this moderating effect, but they have the added complication of having mountains and plains.
I will admit myself that despite all my knowledge and understanding, it’s taking me a bit of effort to get my head around Colorado’s complex climate. While on a global scale, climate patterns are relatively simple, when you go to the regional and local scale they can be a little more challenging! Here, you have mediterranean and sub-tropical climate types alongside sub-arctic and desert climate types.
If you look up a relief map of Colorado, you’ll see there’s a strong match between the that and the climate map above.
If you want to read deeper into Colorado’s climate, I’ll leave that to you! 🙂 You can check out websites like this. In the meantime, a certain 3 year old is getting cranky that we haven’t yet gone out and played in the snow… Best remedy that!