David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

Like what you see? Then be sure to visit the Allenspark Wind website here, and think about subscribing.

About Me:

You are here:

About Me/

Writing

Click on the links below to learn more...

Read My Latest Column

Weather

 

From 1949 until 1985 Bill Waite lived just off Big Owl Road about half a mile south of us but we didn’t know him very well; we weren’t here much of the time and he kept to himself a good deal. The last couple of years he was here, though, I spent a number of summer evenings with him, sitting on the bench outside his tiny cabin. He was a fascinating man; he liked to talk about his experiences in railroading and ranching and he was very well read. And of course, we often talked about the weather, which he kept track of on scraps of paper which he carefully filed away.

In his 91st year, his eyesight failed and he moved to Denver, leaving me with the weather records he’d amassed in all those years. I wasn’t sure what I should do with them, but recently, with the availability of a computer database, I’ve been putting them together so they can be connected up in some sort of meaningful way.

There are some surprising things in all these numbers, and some that reinforce what we’ve suspected all along. For example, we’ve always thought that after a snow storm, as soon as it clears, the bottom drops out of the temperature? Well, according to Bill’s records, that’s correct. That’s what happens.

And how cold does it get? It dropped to 36 degrees below zero on January 12th, 1963, after snowing 3 inches on the 10th and 11th.

How late in the year does it get cold? It was 6 degrees below zero on April 23rd, 1968. Bill’s twenty year record between 1949 and 1969 shows that, on the average, there are 17 days below zero every year and that, at his house near the junction of Cabin Creek and Big Owl Roads, there is an average of 105.5 inches of snow every year.

I haven’t worked out the rainfall 20 year average yet, but it’s going to be right around 10 inches a year. 1969 was the big year: between April 12th and September 16th he recorded 22.9 inches of rain, including a 5.7 inch gully-washer on May 7th! That’s the most rain he ever recorded in a 24 hour period. Your own figures, as the saying goes, may vary.

Bill also kept track of the date the snow melted away in the trough of Mt. Meeker. For those of us who live in front of that mountain, that patch of snow is the most visible sign we have of the passing of the summer. Between 1952 and 1981, the earliest date was July 1st in 1981 and the latest was September 10th in 1979. 1980, by the way, was a very average year: August 17th.

The least snowfall for a winter while Bill was keeping records was in 1976, when he recorded only 76 inches, while the high was 181 inches in 1979. I guess that’s why the snow stayed in the trough so long. There were 30 inches of snow in May alone that year.

I’m not sure why people keep weather records. I’ve always been interested in weather and I suppose I talk about it as much as anyone, but I don’t keep any records. There was a time when I had to keep weather records as part of my job and now that I don’t have to, I don’t. Still, I’m glad Bill Waite did and sometimes I feel a little guilty about not continuing his work.

When I look at his numbers, scrawled on scraps of paper, the back of calendars and just about anything else he had handy, I see much more than just the numbers on the paper. I see Bill in his WW I hat (you know the kind; it looked like a ranger’s hat) checking his thermometer, squinting at his rain gauge, admiring the view and considering the weather. He’s been gone for four years now, but I still miss him.

 

 

Columns

© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:

Introduction

Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]

Electricity

Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]

Hiking

Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders

Elevators

The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]

Visitors

Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird

Garbage

A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]

Weather

Fences

Commuting

Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac

June

Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer

Visitors

Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon

“Whiteout”

The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley

Infestations

On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]

Walking

Rumors About a Visit by the Pope

Progress?

More About Fences

Woodpeckers

The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government

Risks

Airports

Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke

 

The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983

Carpentry

Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House

Waving

The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?

Dogs

Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving

Garbage

Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”

Spring

An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins

Summer

The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI

 

 

Jump to these pages

Contact me

 

Did you find a factual error or a typo or want to voice an opinion? Drop me a note here

 

Home

About Me

Contact