Caitlin Row
crow@gjfreepress

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January 10, 2013
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Cold-weather snap to continue in the valley

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Brrrrrr, it's cold in Grand Junction these days. And with a cold front all set to hit this morning (Friday, Jan. 11), even more snow is on the horizon. That means Grand Valley residents will likely see little respite from below-freezing temperatures for the very near future.

Here's a fun fact: Grand Junction's cold-weather snap has kept temperatures below 32 degrees since Dec. 18. And, as of Thursday, Grand Junction residents have experienced 22 consecutive days of freezing temperatures.

That means lots of frozen pipes, new mittens and hot cocoa.

It also means GJ is in the running to beat the record number of consecutive days below freezing on the books.

"We're now in fourth place with 22 days in a row," said Joe Ramey, meteorologist with National Weather Service in Grand Junction, on Thursday.

And if weather stays below 32 degrees through next Friday, Ramey said Grand Junction may have a good chance of setting a new record. The record to beat was set in the winter of 1924-25, with 28 days of below-freezing temperatures starting in December.

"We need six more days to tie and seven to break," Ramey said Thursday.

Snowfall in the 2012-13 winter season is also up, too.

According to Matthew Aleksa, another meteorologist with National Weather Service in Grand Junction, snowfall in Grand Junction has reached 13.1 inches so far (as of Monday, Jan. 7).

"Last year, at this time we had 2.1 inches of snow," Aleksa said. "Our normal is 8.6 inches. A lot of that had to do with an active December, with system after system coming through. ... In the whole month of December, we had a total of 10.5 inches of snow."

Aleksa said a strong, persistent inversion layer has been trapping cold air in the valley.

"These inversions happen when snow accumulates," Aleksa said. "With snow on the ground, it causes polar air to be trapped in the valley. Higher up, the air is actually warmer."

With an inversion present, Powderhorn Mountain Resort sees warmer temperatures than in the valley below, Aleksa confirmed. (We at the Free Press suggest warming up with some fun, downhill turns.)

The inversion began when 4.6 inches of snow fell in Grand Junction Dec. 18-19, and it will break with today's cold front, Aleksa noted.

However, meteorologists predict another inversion forming after today's snowfall.

"The inversion break would likely be temporary," Aleksa said. "Additional snowfall will and add to the snow on the ground. Saturday, the inversion will be setting up again."


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The Post Independent Updated Jan 10, 2013 05:10PM Published Jan 10, 2013 05:07PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.