Posts Tagged ‘Colorado’

Records fall with the snow across metro Denver

February 6, 2012 Comments off

Snow tapered off in the Denver area Saturday morning and gave way to sunshine, leaving mounds of powder drooping from rooftops in the Stapleton neighborhood.

 More than two centuries of Denver snowfall records were broken as more than a foot of snow clobbered the metro area in just three days.

Sunshine broke through Saturday afternoon as the storm, which began Thursday, moved east, said Jim Kalina, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Boulder.

The previous record for heaviest snowfall in 24 hours in February was 9½ inches, set on Feb. 22, 1909, Kalina said. Friday’s total snowfall of 12½ inches broke the 103-year-old record by 3 inches.

Friday’s snowfall also shattered the 80-year-old record for most snowfall on Feb. 3. The previous record was Read more…


Some earthquakes expected along Rio Grande Rift in Colorado and New Mexico, new study says

January 12, 2012 Comments off

Click to Enlarge

( — The Rio Grande Rift, a thinning and stretching of Earth’s surface that extends from Colorado’s central Rocky Mountains to Mexico, is not dead but geologically alive and active, according to a new study involving scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.  

“We don’t expect to see a lot of earthquakes, or big ones, but we will have some earthquakes,” said CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Anne Sheehan, also a fellow at CIRES. The study also involved collaborators from the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, Utah State University and the Boulder-headquartered UNAVCO. The Rio Grande Rift follows the path of the Rio Grande River from central roughly to El Paso before turning southeast toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Sheehan was not too surprised when a 5.3 magnitude struck about 9 miles west of Trinidad, Colo., in the vicinity of the Rio Grande Rift on Aug. 23, 2011.  The quake was the largest in Read more…

Colorado: Midnight earthquake felt in Springs, largest in state since ’73

August 23, 2011 Comments off


Map showing earthquakes-Colorado

GOLDEN — A magnitude 5.3 earthquake shook southern Colorado late Monday, waking some people up and startling hundreds of others, including some in Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs residents reported feeling the temblor about 11:49 pm Monday on Twitter at @csgazette.

The USGS link online confirmed the tweets’ accuracy.

The magnitude 5.3 earthquake was recorded at about 11:46 p.m. MDT Monday about nine miles southwest of Trinidad, and about 135 miles south of Colorado Springs, according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden. The quake followed two smaller ones that hit the area earlier in the day.

The quake is the largest in Colorado since a magnitude 5.7 was recorded in 1973, U.S. Geological Service geophysicist Amy Vaughn said. That one was centered in the northwestern part of the state — about 50 miles north of Read more…


Supersize Dust Storms Could Become Southwest Norm

July 13, 2011 1 comment


The massive dust storm that engulfed Phoenix last week was unusual for the 20th century, but could become more common in the 21st.

The storm resulted from thunderstorm-cooled air plummeting into the ground like mist pouring from an open freezer, only exponentially more powerful. Combine those winds with extremely dry conditions, and the result was a wall of dust 100 miles wide and 5,000 feet high.

Dust storms are common in the U.S. southwest, but not storms this big. No formal records are kept, but meteorologists said it was the largest such storm in at least 30 years. It was on par with storms seen in China’s Gobi desert and Australia. Some commentators invoked the apocalyptic storms of the 1930’s Dust Bowl.


As dry as it’s been in the southwest this year, with precipitation 50 percent below mid-20th century levels, there’s reason to think that extra-dry conditions will Read more…


Water shortages in the West: ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’

June 14, 2011 Comments off


An extraordinary set of circumstances produced the Colorado River Compact of 1922. The question now is whether the compact and other laws and treaties collectively called the Law of the River are sufficiently resilient to prevent teeth-barring among the seven states of the basin in circumstances that during the 21st century may be even more extraordinary.

For the most part, speakers at a recent conference sponsored by the University of Colorado Natural Resources Law Center agreed that there’s no need to start over even if future circumstances will require states of the Southwest to “bend the hell out of it,” in the words of law professor Douglas Kenney.

Kenney, director of the law school’s Western Water Policy Program, last winter released the first part of a several-tiered study of challenges to administration of the river. Obscured by drought that had left Lake Mead, near Las Vegas, reduced to its lowest level since 1938, demand had quietly crept up and overtaken supply during the last decade, he said.

Despite occasional wet years such as the current one, climate-change projections foresee significantly hotter temperatures and perhaps a 9 percent decline in water volume during coming decades, according to the newest study issued this spring by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

DeBecque Canyon on the Colorado River near Palisade (Best)

Some people believe earlier spring, warmer temperatures, and the extended drought of the last decade are harbingersof Read more…


Endless winter: days away from summer and snow still falling over Colorado Mountains

May 27, 2011 Comments off

May 27, 2011COLORADO – It is nearly June and Colorado’s mountains still look as though we’re at the beginning of March. “This is what it looks like all winter out here,” Pat Randall, a store owner in Grand Lake, said. The snow that has kept falling in the high country has made for a different spring. Independence Pass opened Thursday, but Mt. Evans Road is only halfway open and Trail Ridge Road is still closed because of all the late snow. Arapahoe Basin and Aspen are still open for skiers. “It is a pretty big weekend in the scheme of things, definitely,” Randall said. The snow is certainly not what Randall and his family were hoping for this holiday weekend. They need customers, lots and lots of customers, to kick off the summer season. “They call it ‘the kick-off to the summer’ here,” Randall said. But the snow is kicking that idea to the curb. “I think we’re going to lose a lot of campers,” Randall said. With Trail Ridge Road closed, some figure Grand Lake will lose out on hundreds, if not thousands, of usual holiday visitors. “I think we’ll lose a lot of folks from Northern Colorado. They’re not going to want to drive all the way through Denver and come back up,” Randall said. –9News

Fires and Drought Trouble Texas and Other US Plains States

April 12, 2011 Comments off


A volunteer firefighter fights a fire which began outside Marfa, Texas, and was carried by winds to nearby Fort Davis, April 9, 2011

Photo: Alberto Tomas Halpern

A volunteer firefighter fights a fire which began outside Marfa, Texas, and was carried by winds to nearby Fort Davis, April 9, 2011

Drought conditions and high winds have fueled destructive wildfires in northern Mexico and the southern U.S. plains states, especially Texas, where dozens of homes have burned in recent days.  The dry weather is also having an impact on agriculture that is likely to cause some food prices to rise.

Fast-moving wildfires scorched around 32,000 hectares of land in the west Texas ranch country around Fort Davis on Saturday and Sunday, killing cattle and horses, and leaving pastures charred and smoky.  The fires reached populated areas near Fort Read more…