I was just wondering how we will face the weather as forecast by the Durango Herald. Here’s my screen grab from this morning (Thursday, March 22): While the -48 low tonight seems chilly, on Saturday things get interesting at -102. But then on Tuesday, the weather warms up to 105. I guess it all averages out. – Bob Krantz
Should anyone still deny climate change, this forecast will offer irrefutable proof of impending meteorological mayhem.
It also means we need to change the adage, “March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion.”
How about this?
“March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a recalcitrant, rabid and dyspeptic hyena with its mane on fire and paws frozen in liquid nitrogen.”
Action Line has never seen a dire prognostication quite like the one from DarkSky.net, the Herald’s online weather provider.
Oh sure. We all josh about Durango’s extreme environment.
For example, Durango’s record local low was -30 in December 1963; the record high was 102 in July 1989.
And who hasn’t uttered this cliché: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes.”
But in this case, stick around Durango for four days and you’ll experience a bone-crushing 200-degree swing, with a low of -102 followed by a high of 105.
By the way, those temps are in Fahrenheit, not Celsius.
Celsius is logical and easy to understand, like the metric system. This is why most of the world uses Celsius and metric, but not America.
Americans won’t budge on inch on centimeters.
“I’ll give you my yardstick when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”
By the way, your hands would be around 24 degrees Celsius.
But let’s get back to the weather.
Suppose Durango has a low of -102 and a high of 105. Those readings would be remarkable but not record-setting for planet Earth.
In 1983, the Vostock Station in Antarctica hit a low of -128.6. Meanwhile, the hottest inhabited place on Earth was 134 in Death Valley, Calif., in 2013.
Which is all quite interesting.
But what should weather-wary La Plata County gardeners do when facing late March lows of -48, -102, -73 and -18?
Should we cover our cool-season vegetable crops with a frost blanket?
“You should be planting frozen peas,” advises our good friend Darrin Parmenter, director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.
That would be followed by everyone in Durango sweating and wearing thongs in 105-degree heat.
How the heck does a Southwest Colorado forecast go so far south?
Action Line contacted DarkSky.net to shed some light on dim prospects for a bright spring break.
“The root cause of the strange temperature forecasts was a single faulty forecast server that was generating wacky results,” Adam Abrutyn, a company founder, said in an email from his Cambridge, Massachusetts, headquarters.
“Normally, this would be caught by our monitoring and not make it into our published data, but the issue somehow made it through our checks. Fortunately, we were able to fix it, and improve the checks to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
We can now embrace our normally unsettled and blustery mud season, which looks positively delightful in comparison to last week’s augury of angst.
Email questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if your feelings for weather reports run hot and cold.