How about this weather?

Ryan Hoffman

I am still learning to love the weather, which is interesting because since moving to Colorado I have talked about few things more than the weather.

It has become my go-to conversation topic with strangers and with friends, although I have yet to adopt the “if you don’t like it wait five minutes” Colorado catchphrase. It’s a subject universally stereotyped as mundane, the thing you talk about when you have run out of things to talk about. I find myself talking about the weather not because of boredom, but because I am still baffled by it.

Before continuing, I should clarify that this is not a complaint. Anyone who has spent a summer in the Midwest knows that it is inconceivable to complain about Colorado’s climate when you’ve suffocated in the heartland’s humidity.

The most recent example of my troubled relationship with the weather happened Saturday, when I woke up to the sight of what I thought was sunshine sneaking through my blinds. A quick check of the weather the night before said it would be cloudy with a high temperature in the low 50s, so I thought the weather gods were giving me an opportunity to finally get out and hike. I was wrong, and I cursed as the snow accumulated in my front yard.

I have not welcomed the sight of snow since it stopped passing as a reasonable excuse to stay in bed and neglect any and all responsibilities for a day. Truthfully, snow represented only the need to wear more clothing and make time for a longer commute. I hated it then, and I still hate it now, but last November I learned that people out West have a different opinion of snow, and for good reason.

As reported last Friday by the Post Independent, the year-round flow in some of the region’s streams could become infrequent — bad news for the already endangered Upper Colorado River Basin. The story noted that many people depend on water from the Colorado River, and the demand is only likely to increase. The wet snow that fell this past weekend amounted to more than an inch of precipitation in Rifle and even more at higher elevations — a nice dusting but not even close to what is needed.

Data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service shows this year’s snowpack for the Upper Colorado River Basin, as of April 21, is only 57 percent of last year and 67 percent of the average. It would take more than 6 inches of snow/water equivalent to get the basin to average snowpack. A dusting is nice but we need a deluge. While I won’t like it, and I certainly won’t love it, I’m praying for it.

Ryan Hoffman is editor of The Citizen Telegram. He can be reached at

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