Blizzards, Ice Storms and Interruptions
The following is a list of frozen water events that I have experienced since 1958. I’ll briefly describe each one, as I have been experiencing the recent Texas winter events through the lenses of my daughter Amy and family, who live in the middle of the recent Texas winter storms.
Pueblo Blizzard of 1958 April 1 & 2—19” of record setting snow:
In 1958 I was in the 3rd grade that Spring. I remember very distinctly going to bed in what was a complete white-out. It was exciting. The next morning I awoke to my parents telling me that our electricity was out, and that school had been canceled. The snow kept coming all day. We had two fireplaces which my folks stoked up and we set up camp in the living room. The following day there was snow up to the top of our fence and the sun was shining. Game on—for sledding, snow men, and a free for all with a plethora of kids that inhabited Belmont. My friend Wayne’s genius brother Tom, even built a real igloo. That blizzard was a memory maker!!!
Labor Day Weekend Snow of 1966 —11” of snow on Sept. 5 & 6:
We only had one more snow day for my entire growing up life. It dumped on Labor Day weekend 1966—yes, the first week of September. The only reason we did not have school was that all the broken tree limbs caused a massive power outage. The snow was too slushy for sledding but great for snowball fights.
The February Oklahoma Blizzard of 1971– 23” of snow in 24 hours:
The massive Oklahoma blizzard took place when I worked as an ambulance driver along with seven other college guys. I happened to be working when that big snow hit. 24” of Oklahoma slush is the equivalent of about 40” of Colorado powder. I spent the entire week working at the ambulance service. Sliding into a snow bank, we buried an ambulance up to its roof out in the country. I delivered a baby all by myself, we pulled together with everyone to care for a paralyzed community. It was noble and fun work—which a 22 year old loved and thrived in.
The Colorado Blizzard of Christmas 1983:
In 1983 I put Matt and Amy on a plane to go back to spend Christmas with their mom in Texas. It started snowing…and did not stop. I had just started dating this lady named Mary Kay. We spent the next two weeks playing Fox and Geese, baking things, and getting to know each other. Thanks snow!!!
The Greenbay Packers/ Bronco Blizzard of October 1984:
I got my Bronco season tickets in 1984. My brother in law Joe, and I drove my little Toyota Tercel up to Mile High. The weather forecast was for 2-3 inches maybe. By the 4th quarter it had snowed 18”. Somehow we got on I-25 before they closed it. Four hours later we buried the car in a snow bank on the north end of Colorado Springs. We walked to a hotel and called home to tell them we were alive (before cell phones). The next morning Chanel 5 drove by as we were digging my car out. We got home to Pueblo just in time to see ourselves on the 5 o’clock news. The Broncos did beat the Packers.
The Colorado Blizzard of 1997 2-3” expected, 19” actually:
In October of 1997 I did my first big wedding at the historic South Broadway Christian Church. I normally save all the music in totality for just the wedding and only give snippets at the rehearsal. This night we did the whole music banana. We then headed down to Pearl Street for a nice dinner. We noticed it started snowing but there was nothing in the forecast. So much for those prognosticators—19” and no wedding at the church. We did it all at the Brown Palace, where they were staying. They thanked me for the rehearsal that gave them the whole picture.
The Denver Winter of 2006–worst since 1913:
In December of 2006, a front page story appeared in the Denver Post— “CSU climatologist says ‘Expect a dry winter’.” A few days later we got a blizzard every 3-5 days for two months. Cars were packed in ice everywhere and they did not move forever. That same Denver Post ran a story the following February “This is the worst winter since 1913”, then they showed old photos of a 43” snowfall. We had well over that, it just took two months to get there.
What happened this week in Texas has caused untold difficulties and sadness. It has also done what only weather events can do—it brought people together. That is of course, unless you would rather catch a plane to Cancun.
Onward and Upward,