From My Window… 2014 warmer than 2013; gas prices becoming local issue again

I enjoy facts and figures regarding the weather. Maybe it is because I have been exposed to both extremes in my life. While I did basically grow up in Colorado Springs and Boulder, which are mild areas of heat and cold, I have lived in the more extreme climates.

When I lived in Wyoming, Casper was a cold and windy place with one fun story, but the extreme I experienced in that state was minus-40 degrees living in Worland and minus-42 experienced on New Year’s Eve in Jackson (Jackson Hole, if you prefer).
In Arizona, the extremes went the other way. I drove through Phoenix one day on my way to the summer state press convention in Sedona to hear on the radio that it was 122 degrees, and that had tied a city record for all-time high in the state capital.
After moving to the west side of the state, it was not uncommon to be in Bullhead City, alongside the Colorado River and across the river from Laughlin, Nev., or be in Lake Havasu City, also along the Colorado River about an hour south of Bullhead.
The “unofficial high” felt in both cities was 127 on a couple of difference occasions, but there was always the whispering that the extremes were not accurate because there was no official thermometer that could read temperatures any higher than that.
Meeker has some pretty mild temperatures compared to those extremes, but the highs, lows and averages in the area during 2014 are fairly interesting.
There are a lot of “unofficial” facts about Rio Blanco County as the National Climatic Data Center has not undergone final and official control checks on those figures, but the unofficial results still provide some interesting information.
It also must be stated that these figures are from Meeker Airport, the only “officiail” National Weather Service reporting station in Rio Blanco County.
The highest reported temperature for 2014 was 95 degrees, reported July 23. It is the same extreme high for 2013, reported on June 28 that year.
The coldest reported temperature for 2014 was minus-27 degrees on Dec. 31, which was warmer than 2013’s extreme cold of minus-34 on Jan. 14, 2013.
The mean (average) high for the year was 60.1 degrees compared to 56.9 in 2013.
The mean low for 2014 was 30.1 degrees compared to 27.0 in 2013.
You could say then that 2014 was slightly warmer by about 3 degrees than it was in 2013.
The mean (combination of highs and lows) was 45.1 in 2014; it was 41.9 in 2013.
In 2014, there were nine days above 90 degrees; 18 days in 2013. There were were 34 days in 2014 when the high temperatures reached below 32 degrees compared to 61 in 2013; there were 190 days in 2014 when the low was below 32 degrees compared to 213 days in 2013; and there were 24 days when the temperatures fell below zero in 2014, and there 47 such days in 2013.
Precipitation recorded in 2014 was 18.62 inches compared to 17.94 inches in 2013. There were 10 days in both years where more than one inch of precipitation fell in the area. There were 111 days when precipitation was more than .01 (one one-hundreth of an inch) in 2014 and 126 days in 2013.
The average wind speed in 2014 was 5.6 miles per hour and the highest wind speed was 48 miles per hour on June 10.
One of Colorado’s claims to fame is the state offers at least 300 days of sun each year.
Well, the Rio Blanco Couny report states that there were 219 “fair” days, when one can assume that the sun shone through at some time. There were 86 “partly cloudy” days, when it can again be assumed that the sun shone through at some point. That equals 305 days of at least partial or temporary sunshine. The report also states there were 58 days that were cloudy, and one may not assume that the sun appeared on those days.
Together, those numbers add up to 363 days. I am not certain, nor does the report explain what happened the other two days of the year. So much for 100 percent accuracy.
The report also states that the average relative humidity was 57 percent.
Lastly is the county’s list of days when certain weather conditions existed. This, naturally, will equal in excess of the 365 days because different weather conditions can be experienced on the same day.
Days of thunderstorms: 57; days with heavy rain: 28; days with light rain: 120; days with light freezing rain: 3; days with heavy snow: 15; days with light snow: 72; days with fog: 101; days with haze: 41; and days with fog with visibility less than one-quarter mile: 25.
There you have it…

I am starting to get phone calls again (18 as of Tuesday) asking if there is any way the Herald Times can do something again this year about the price differences in gasoline costs throughout the area.
Last year at this time, gasoline in Rangely and Meeker had long lingered at $3.89 per gallon. Soon after I wrote about gas being at $2.90 per gallon in Denver, the prices started to drop in Rio Blanco County.
After a little battle back and forth with the gas station owners and two very upset owners in Meeker, one could see some success in the prices going lower.
I wrote that I am no longer going to write a negative word about the price differences in the area because it is up to the customers of these dealerships to complain to the dealership owners about the prices. It is not up to the newspaper.
But with prices now below $2 in Rifle, I am hearing more and more people complaining once again.
I’m still not going to say anything because of the newspaper’s belief in the free enterprise system that a business owner can demand whatever price they want and whatever the load will bear.
It is also up to the consumers to either pay those prices, go somewhere else or to voice their unhappiness to the owner of the more-expensive products.
So be it.
Gasoline prices in Rio Blanco, quite frankly, are a little high, but as of Wednesday (yesterday), they were not out of whack.
Rangely gas prices at the three stations there were $2.19, $2.19 and $2.15 for regular. In Meeker on Wednesday, prices were $2.24, $2.21, $2.09 and $2.09. Those are a far cry from a year ago, when they were $1.65 higher than the most expensive now, and current rates are within reason.
Consumers, you can remain silent or you can say something. The choice is yours.
We’re watching the prices, and it appears the local dealers are catching the drift.