Loose Ends: Weather chatter continues

Dolly Viscardi
We live in “far-below” country — the area that historically has below zero temperatures all winter long. If you live upriver (East of Meeker) towards the Flattops, temperatures qualify for far-far-below. Newcomers considering settling in the White River valley often ask the question every employer or rental agent dreads, “How cold is it in the winter? I mean really.”
Lots of stalling and blustering tactics are employed. Workers from the southern states try to make the long winters and cold temperatures seem appealing to family members reluctant to relocate here.
“Didn’t we tell the kids we wanted them to make a snowball or build a snowman some day?”
“Remember how much fun my Uncle Pete said he had snowmobiling that one year?”
One of the renters who lived next door during a more prosperous year and an exceptionally mild winter put it bluntly.
“My family moved with me in the fall and planned to stay the rest of the year, but they kept running into people who told them they should appreciate these warm temperatures. Heck, ten degrees above zero, isn’t tropical, you know.”
Oh, we get a few below-zero days in winter, but according to the old-timers among us, it isn’t like those old days when winter meant a couple of feet of snow piled up in the middle of the streets and long stretches of far-far-below temperatures. Name that year (citing the date of the far-below record breakers) is the game that has been played around town lately. Remembering the “winter-that-was” used to be the domain of old folks, but this year there are no age restrictions.
Conversational volleys have been held all around town recently with a wide range of record lows and unspeakably dismal highs being tossed back and forth. An impromptu contest could be declared anytime, as the winners of the lowest-of-the-low temperature recollections might be content to be declared the individual with the best bragging rights.
It is hard to cite the years of the far-far-belows as a good reason to live in this valley. There aren’t a lot of folks who are excited to see this kind of winter set in. Most years even the stalwart snowmobilers and cross-country skiers get their fill by mid-February. The plummeting temperatures across the country haven’t been reassuring that warm weather is just around the corner.
“Minus 15? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet … try – 60˚ in ‘79.”
Early last week a Denver newscaster pointed to this section of the state and said, “The record breaking
– 61˚ more than 30 years ago comes from Maybell, Colo.” That was the same day this year valley residents reported temperatures like -35˚ and -41˚. Have the far-far-belows come back to stay?