Brrrrr: Icy December 4th coldest on record

A cold snap in December didn’t go unnoticed by Sher Ward of Mack.

This year was the first she can remember when Canada geese on her property sought shelter in her dogs’ houses.

“I had to shoo them out. Otherwise, the dogs would eat them,” Ward said.

Ward, 37, also had to borrow a skid steer this December to move snow to open pasture for her livestock.

“I’ve got three-foot snowdrifts on property,” she said. “It’s way harder to work when it’s this cold.”

While temperatures at the west end of the Grand Valley are usually colder than the valley’s east end, no local residents were immune from December’s icy blast.

Temperatures in the Grand Valley last month were the fourth coldest on record for December, and it was the fifth snowiest December, according to the National Weather Service of Grand Junction.

Snow and ice that lingered on streets and fields helped lock in low temperatures, Weather Service hydrologist Bryon Lawrence said.

“We’ve been having cold weather for the Grand Valley,” he said. “It’s pretty impressive.”

December temperatures averaged 17.5 degrees last month. Decembers in Grand Junction normally average 28 degrees. The coldest December on record was 1919, when temperatures averaged 15.6 degrees.

Last month started off relatively warm at 48 degrees on Dec. 1, the balmiest day of the month.

The mercury plummeted from there. The coldest temperature last month was minus-16 degrees on Dec. 10. The coldest December low on record is minus-21 degrees on Dec. 26, 1924.

The cold also arrived with its snowy counterpart. The Grand Valley received 14.4 inches of snow last month, according to the National Weather Service. A record 19 inches of snow fell in December 1983.

“If you get enough snow early, it’s significant and can keep temperatures cold,” Lawrence said.


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