Weather is great, wish you were here

This is the glorious time for those of us who live in the Grand Valley.

Mid-September through the end of November is typically some of the best weather this region has to offer: sunny days that aren’t too hot; cool nights; nearby mountains that become awash in colors; and vistas that beckon outdoor enthusiasts from the high country to the desert.

But, while this may be a favorite time for many locals, the truth is that the Grand Valley has much to brag about year-round when it comes to weather.

It may be time for this community to begin stressing that weather advantage more in marketing the area to tourists and businesses.

No, we don’t quite reach that mythical figure of 300 days of sunshine a year. But, according to several sources, we do have 245 days a year that are sunny or partly sunny, well above the national average of 205 days. And, our 137 clear days a year — days when there are no clouds or insignificant cloud cover — puts us No. 1 in the state.

Weather, of course, has been on the minds of many folks the past week and a half as we dealt with rains here and learned of the devastation caused by unimaginably heavy rains and flooding on the Front Range. But weather becomes an issue in some part of the country nearly every week. And, by an accident of nature, this small corner of western Colorado has been largely immune to the worst weather attacks.

No hurricanes strike the Grand Valley, and only nine tornadoes have been reported in Mesa County in the past 60 years. Heavy rains occur that occasionally flood streets and damage homes, but it is nothing like the flooding that occurs in other parts of the nation.

Winter can sometimes be brisk, as was the case last year. And inversions can leave the valley gloomy for weeks at a time. But the blizzards that strike the high country are usually moderate snowstorms here, and the white stuff generally doesn’t remain long. Moreover, just as frequently, we have bright sunny days in winter, days on which one can honestly ski in the morning at Powderhorn and hit the links at one of the valley’s golf courses in the afternoon.

We don’t mean to suggest that Grand Junction is in some climatological Shangri-La, where the weather is always perfect. We have droughts and wet spells, bone-chilling cold and unpleasant heat. But every other spot in the world has its own weather problems.

And we have mountains that surround us and block the worst of the bad storms, a relatively temperate climate to begin with and lots of sunshine. As a result, we have fewer weather problems than most parts of the country. Our invitation to people living in those other communities should be, “The weather is great. Wish you were here.”


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