16 November 2015


A blizzard warning is in force for Denver and all points to the Northeast in Colorado.

Most of my professional colleagues, office mates, and apparently the Denver Public Schools folks who make decision on school closures and delays, don't seem to understand the difference between a serious winter storm with heavy snowfall, which Denver gets several times a year, and a genuine blizzard, which we haven't had in Denver once since I moved here in the spring of 1999.

The real danger of a blizzard is not that it is slippery, although it is.  Blizzards are dangerous because they can completely wipe out your visibility with the speed of a gust of wind filling the air with blinding snow.

Shortly after I moved to Oxford, Ohio as a child, in 1977, there was a blizzard.  Several college students died in it, trying to make the short several block trip from their fraternity houses to the liquor store (back when you didn't have to be twenty-one to buy 3.2 beer).  They got lost and froze to death right on High Street which runs through downtown Oxford, such as it is.

I've driven in near blizzard conditions, but it isn't something I would repeat if I could help it.  The only accidents that I've had that have involved both vehicles in motion (I've nicked parked cars a couple of times, and have been fit once while I was stopped at a stoplight on a clear day), took place is snowy, near blizzard conditions.

They are not to be messed with and I've postponed a deposition tomorrow that was supposed to start at the projected worst time for blizzard activity until the precipitation is projected to have ended in Denver (the blizzard warning ends at 2 p.m. but the weather is projected to abate from West to East).

Maybe this blizzard warning will turn out to be a false alarm.  But, I'm not about to be forewarned and rush into the situation like a fool anyway, when I don't absolutely have to do so for some reason that will seem important enough to have justified it if I or someone else is in a serious car accident as a result.

If you must drive in blizzard or near blizzard conditions, 9 News has some useful hints that you should heed which match my previous experiences driving in these conditions.


Dave Barnes said...

As Sarah Palin would say: I can't see a blizzard at my house.

andrew said...

Yeah. The meteorologists got it wrong this time. 9News reported that the last time there was a blizzard warning in Denver was in 2009, so it is very infrequent in Denver. But, you've got to plan using the best available data. I hear that there were 50 mph winds and blowing snow out by the airport and at the far eastern border of Denver.