Frigid blast shocks area

Now that Mother Nature has graced the Grand Valley with several inches of snow, it appears her gift will be sticking around for a while.

And more could be on the way this weekend.

The skies cleared and a mass of cold air settled over western Colorado after the late-autumn storm moved into the Central Plains, dropping temperatures below zero and promising to keep snow on the ground for the foreseeable future.

The low Wednesday morning at Grand Junction Regional Airport plummeted to 10 degrees below zero, while the high topped out at only 12, according to National Weather Service hydrologist Bryon Lawrence. Temperatures were expected to dip below zero again this morning.

The bitter cold has allowed an inversion to set up, with a top layer of warm air trapping cold air and contaminants underneath it. But Lawrence said a storm system moving in Friday night will “help stir things up” and lift the inversion.

The system also could bring another round of snow to the valley and the higher elevations of western Colorado. Lawrence said it’s too early to tell exactly how much snow Grand Junction could receive, but that it will be “nothing like what we’ve had,” he said.

What the valley received earlier this week sent people scrambling to the hardware stores for snow shovels and snow blowers.

Dick Peterson, manager of Ace Hardware on the Redlands, said Wednesday the store sold its entire supply of shovels, about 200, Tuesday and Wednesday. Managers brought in more from Carbondale and Aspen, only to see them go out the door, too.

“Everything we had that wasn’t tied down was sold,” Peterson said, adding the store even sold shovels that employees use to clear the sidewalk in front of the store. Ace Hardware in Clifton experienced similar demand this week.

Peterson said another 200 shovels from Colorado Springs should arrive at the Redlands store today.

An employee at AutoZone, 2848 North Ave., said the extreme cold and snow brought in a steady stream of customers picking up car batteries, wiper blades, chains and “anything to do with winter.”


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