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10 below starts cold week

Pete FowlerPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. The last ice age was thousands of years ago, but the temperature in Glenwood Springs dropped about 15 degrees in 24 hours, reaching 10 degrees south of the zero mark Monday morning.”We’re liable to see this cold air here through most of the week,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Meteorologist Doug Crowley said.The low Monday night was expected to be negative 5 to negative 15. NOAA predicts partly cloudy days with highs of 15 to 25 degrees throughout the week, with the weekend being slightly warmer and seeing a chance of more snow. The average temperature this time of year is a high of about 37 and a low of 10.

At Craig, temperature fell to 24 below zero Sunday night, shattering the old record of 9 below zero from 1982, according to NOAA.The storm that came through the area over the weekend brought a “cold core” of northerly air flow, which is “kind of parked in our area right now,” Crowley said. A cold, mostly dry high pressure system will remain in the area until later in the week.The lowest temperature recorded at the Eagle County Airport was 51 below zero on Jan. 12, 1963. More recently, it hit negative 35 on Feb. 7, 1989. NOAA’s closest reporting stations are in Rifle and at the Eagle County Airport. Crowley said the data from the airport represents the closest records available.

Robert Nieslanik of Carbondale knows extreme cold can cause problems for ranchers. He used to bring calving cows into his shed so newborn calves wouldn’t freeze. When temperatures start dropping below zero, calves are “just as good as dead,” Nieslanik said. He remembers winters where some of his calves froze to death. Nieslanik had operated his ranch just outside of Carbondale since 1961, but recently sold the business, he said. Other than the concern with calves, the main thing he observed with cattle is that they require a lot more feed when it’s really cold.NOAA has said this winter is likely to be warmer than average over much of the nation, yet cooler than last year’s very warm winter season. NOAA’s forecast for December, January and February projects a 2 percent warmer winter than the 30 year average but about 9 percent cooler than last year. Last year was the warmest year ever recorded, according to NOAA. So far, this winter seems to be bucking that trend.

Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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