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Old 01-22-2011, 09:03 PM
 
265 posts, read 536,577 times
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Default Worst Colorado Winter

I have long considered relocation to the so called banana belt of Colorado. Specifically the Canon City general area. One of my considerations is the weather , especially winter weather.

I'm sure the locals will recall their experiences of the worst winter or winters in living memory. I live in Illinois so know what the worst winter is like here. Before any relocation to Colorado I just want to be sure I'm not getting myself into worse winter weather.

As a note, I have watched the weather this winter here in Illinois and also in Canon City. So far, Canon City seems to have had a mild winter. Much worse here in Illinois for both snow and cold. But that is only one winter. So a knowledge of what can be the worst winter weather is nice to have before a relocation.

So I would appreciate any comments from the locals. Specifically winters with heavy snow and long lasting snow on the ground along with sub zero temps for prolonged periods. We get that type weather here in Illinois quite a bit. Does it occur in Canon City and surrounding banana belt areas?? Thanks much for any info.

Jim
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:47 AM
 
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Reading this made me chuckle...we left Chicago in the early 90s to move to CO to get MORE SNOW, after driving all over the state we ended up in Silverthorne....and after literally digging out my entire car a couple of times, decided maybe that was to much snow, LOL.....Not wanting to leave the state entirely, after some research on a place that doesn't get buried (and had some room to roam) - headed down to Elizabeth....And it didn't get very severe weather there, until that one year in the late 90s where it piled up to nearly 5 feet and everyone was trudging thru drifts to get around....

I remember many huge snow storms in IL, a couple that were entirely paralyzing ('67 and '79)......for days.....There are 2 very big differences between IL and CO winter weather, one being the wind chill not being as brutal in CO, it's a dry different type of cold (not so numbing, at all) than what IL suffers with; and two: the sun comes out and suddenly the "winter weather" in CO changes into something entirely different....We looked pretty silly out there with mittens and scarves and the whole "IL winter gear" on for that first shoveling session, and ended up finishing it in t shirts because it was so "warm" compared to our IL experiences.....We also learned if we had waited another hour or two (after the sun came up a little higher), the majority of it would have melted.....

If there's a moral to the story, it's that no matter where you are, sometimes you get a blizzard you didn't think would happen (no matter how much research you do)....I'd rather be in a ton of snow in CO than IL just because it's easier to deal with from the cold factor aspect of it......
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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You don't merely look at which place has the most snow or the lowest temps. You also have to consider how dark the city gets. Ouray doesn't get the snow of other front range towns but it's the darkest, bleakest place I've ever seen in the winter. It gets dark there at 3:00! So consider this in your calculations.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:24 AM
 
Location: N. Colorado
341 posts, read 422,645 times
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I can't personally speak for Canon City's winters. I like that town I think it is cute, has stores, not that far from the Springs etc. But I do not like that it pretty much is a "jail city" or that there crime rate has gone up. So I had crossed them off my list. Also you are looking at daily weather, look at hourly, makes a difference here. Two weeks ago, seemed nice and sunny but by 11 pm the temps had dropped to -10.
Also March is one of our wettest months, not with rain but snow.

Worst winters I can remember here ( not Canon city) were both in the past 9 years, not sure what years. One was a March storm with heavy wet snow, drifts made it hit 6 feet. No electricity, no water ( well runs on elec) no nothing. Power company said they were working on it. Two and a half days later the power came back on. Cold, boring and stuck to me makes an bad storm

The more recent one 3 or 4 years ago? Was in Dec, snow, cold, snow again, cold, ice etc we dealt with for the month. We were stuck for a week during the first snow and could not get down the driveway, the roads were not being plowed well either. After that is snowed again, drifts made it worse. The junk did not melt for most of the month. This time thankfully we had power, heat and water. But it still was ick and cold temps, the snow did not melt and we had huge plowed piles all over that reminded me of the East Coast.

Snow is part of life here, more in some areas. If you are not scared to drive in it you get use to it. You may not like it but you can get use to it. Thankfully I come from a state were it snows and can drive in it
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:35 AM
Status: "Fall is in the air-too soon!" (set 25 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
68,609 posts, read 57,229,522 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naturegirll View Post
Reading this made me chuckle...we left Chicago in the early 90s to move to CO to get MORE SNOW, after driving all over the state we ended up in Silverthorne....and after literally digging out my entire car a couple of times, decided maybe that was to much snow, LOL.....Not wanting to leave the state entirely, after some research on a place that doesn't get buried (and had some room to roam) - headed down to Elizabeth....And it didn't get very severe weather there, until that one year in the late 90s where it piled up to nearly 5 feet and everyone was trudging thru drifts to get around....

I remember many huge snow storms in IL, a couple that were entirely paralyzing ('67 and '79)......for days.....There are 2 very big differences between IL and CO winter weather, one being the wind chill not being as brutal in CO, it's a dry different type of cold (not so numbing, at all) than what IL suffers with; and two: the sun comes out and suddenly the "winter weather" in CO changes into something entirely different....We looked pretty silly out there with mittens and scarves and the whole "IL winter gear" on for that first shoveling session, and ended up finishing it in t shirts because it was so "warm" compared to our IL experiences.....We also learned if we had waited another hour or two (after the sun came up a little higher), the majority of it would have melted.....

If there's a moral to the story, it's that no matter where you are, sometimes you get a blizzard you didn't think would happen (no matter how much research you do)....I'd rather be in a ton of snow in CO than IL just because it's easier to deal with from the cold factor aspect of it......
I remember some Ill. storms, too. Not '67; I wasn't there yet. Champaign's winters are not as severe as Chicago's, which I believe you are referring to, but they're bad enough. I was a visiting nurse in Champaign in the late 70s and remember many winters with snow on the ground for months. I remember one year the legendary weather man in Champaign, Mr. Roberts, said we wouldn't have a "bad" winter b/c we'd just had two in a row and there had never, in the history of Champaign, been three bad winters in a row. Guess what? We got another one! I believe that was 79-80.

Anyway, living first in Denver, the city; and later in Louisville, we learned some of those same things you learned. Our driveway in Denver faced north and had to be shoveled a few times, but our driveways in the two houses we've owned in Louisville face south and we rarely shovel. Frankly, I can't remember any really "bad" winters here, and I've been here 30 years.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Denver
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You can easily find graphs and charts that will tell monthly temp averages as well as rainfall and such. It is true that Colorado's dryness makes the temperatures easier to deal with. Clear skies mean cold nights but more comfortable days. Colorado has a lot of clear skies.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Colorado
488 posts, read 726,202 times
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I live in Canon City and for the most part, I really enjoy it BECAUSE of the mild winters. There have been a few exceptions to that in the past month with a nasty cold snap that broke one of my irrigation pipes!

For the most part, the weather in Canon City is very pleasant and is nowhere near the brutal winters I grew up with in Canada. So I think you will be pleased with winters in Canon City. I have only had to actually shovel snow about four times in the entire 8 years that I have been here. It doesn't snow very much, and when it does, the snow just does not stay on the ground for very long.

I have been all over Colorado looking for the mildest winter (because I hate snow & cold) and chose Canon City because I found the winters to be the most gentle.

And I live in a house that is not even insulated! It is an old, old house but I think it is a testament to the mild climate here that no past owner has added insulation in the 130 years that this house has existed!

Not that it doesn't get cold. It is Colorado afterall. But Canon City has a long history of folks migrating here from other parts of the state for the mild climate.

The prisons here are mostly a non-issue. It's not like they still do chain-gangs in the community here.
But the prisons add a really unique historical element to Canon City.

I believe the city's official slogan is:

Come and do time with us!
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Kingman AZ
15,380 posts, read 22,197,456 times
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The blizzard of 1948-49
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
2,154 posts, read 3,534,990 times
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Ouray is not the Front Range, but canyons do make for dark living.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:06 PM
 
Location: CO
2,314 posts, read 3,769,173 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmm_24 View Post
. . .
Worst winters I can remember here ( not Canon city) were both in the past 9 years, not sure what years. One was a March storm with heavy wet snow, drifts made it hit 6 feet. No electricity, no water ( well runs on elec) no nothing. Power company said they were working on it. Two and a half days later the power came back on. Cold, boring and stuck to me makes an bad storm

The more recent one 3 or 4 years ago? Was in Dec, snow, cold, snow again, cold, ice etc we dealt with for the month. We were stuck for a week during the first snow and could not get down the driveway, the roads were not being plowed well either. After that is snowed again, drifts made it worse. The junk did not melt for most of the month. This time thankfully we had power, heat and water. But it still was ick and cold temps, the snow did not melt and we had huge plowed piles all over that reminded me of the East Coast. . . .
The first storm you talk about was the March Blizzard, in March 2003. It was a record storm (2nd greatest snowfall ever in Denver). Much of the metro area was completely shut down for 5 days, many other areas for much longer. We started digging out. Then the sun came out. It was a week lost to snow. But, we had had a mild, dry winter up to that point, so overall, to me, that winter wasn't a bad one; the March Blizzard is up there for nasty storms.

The next winter you talk about was the winter of 2006-2007. I agree with you that that was one abominable snow year. We had 6 weeks and more of at least weekly snowstorms, and it was cold. The snow accumulated, and stayed. It was not fun - it's a good example of worst Colorado winters.
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