Predicting Colorado weather has to be the most thankless job around.
If you’ve lived here for any length of time, you know what I mean. Whether it comes from the mountains meeting the plains, or some weird cosmic vibrations out of Boulder, or just the cumulative atmospheric effects of too many disappointing Rockies baseball seasons, Colorado weather is weird.
This is where the Four Seasons isn’t a hotel, it’s a 24-hour period. Where the morning’s T-shirt may turn into the afternoon’s parka. Where a school-closing storm can be followed by a perfect day to walk the dog.
Given that, is it any wonder that we get a little cynical at proclamations of snowy doom?
By the time this appears in print, we’ll know for sure whether the latest Snow My Goodness really was the storm of ages or just the usual shoveling and muttering of Colorado’s annual welcome to spring. This region has had some epic snows and everyone has their favorite to talk about: the Christmas Blizzard of ’82; the roof-busters of 2003; the 2006 storms that piled on like a network TV show, claiming a regular Thursday slot. But we’ve also seen enough doom-and-disaster prophecies go bust to reflexively roll our eyes anytime a TV personality uses the words “Snowmageddon” or “Snowpocalypse.”
But here’s the thing. For all the sarcasm – we still prepare. We may not believe, but we prepare.
Why? Because the potential cost of not doing it is just too darned high.
We’ve learned that from tornado warnings: head to the basement, because even if the last 12 ended harmlessly, there’s no guarantee on the 13th.
We’ve learned that from wildfires and floods: get out quick when the warning comes, because the longer you linger, the harder it becomes to leave.
And over this last year, a lot of us have learned that again and again from the pandemic.
By now, most of us can recite it like a mantra. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Keep at least six feet away. And when something slips, like a party on the Hill or a burst of Memorial Day impatience, we see the curves rise and get a fresh reminder of why it’s important.
It’s been tedious, even for the dedicated introverts among us. Constant vigilance is tiring and there’s always the temptation to say “Forget it, I’ll be OK just this once.”
But we know better. As the old adage goes, it’s better to prepare without need than to need and not prepare.
So we do what we need to do. For ourselves. For our neighbors. For our community.
Sometimes the predicted danger melts away like a seventh-inning chance at Coors Field, and we share a laugh at the hype (and maybe a quiet sigh of relief). But when the preparation and endurance pay off – that’s when we come out the other end with gratitude and another story to tell.
So whether today’s landscape looks like a typical Longmont March or a remake of “Nanook of the North,” thank you for being ready. For yesterday’s warning. For tomorrow’s. And especially for the ongoing one that we’re finally starting to push back as hope rises and the shots roll out.
That’s how we make it through. Not panicking, but not foolhardy either. Eventually, that caution and care will bring us out the other side and we can return to a slightly less stressful existence.
Well … everyone except the weather forecasters, anyway.