Apr 9, 2013 - By Steven R. PeckWintry wallop
Regardless of the month or season, periods like the past day or two are unusual here in the semi-arid Riverton Valley. We've all seen hundreds of snowy days, of course, but a 14-inch fall in a single April day is an uncommon occurrence. In April, it had happened only once before -- a 17-inch snowfall on April 1, 1979. Some older-timers will remember a rare school "snow day" at that time.
There also was a 12-inch snowfall later in April in 1923.
Of course, it all depends on where the measuring is done. There were reliable measurements of at least 14 inches in residential Riverton as of Tuesday morning, but the National Weather Service station is several miles west of the city, and at a considerably higher elevation than the Riverton Valley. The snow and temperature figures there often are quite different from the areas "down the hill" where most people live. To illustrate, the NWS office reports 3 inches of snow.
Lander experiences the same thing, depending on proximity to the mountains and other factors. A report from Hunt Field said 18.5 inches. Wow.
As for whether the snow will be recognized as a record, that could depend on how the calendar is interpreted as well. A lot of snow fell before midnight, and a lot after.
Those of us who have brains and eyes rather than keyboards and hard drives know what's what, however.
A nice thing about a winter storm in mid-April is that the worst of it can't last for long. Within a day or two the bitter cold will be gone -- but we still aren't expected to get a dramatically warmer spell for a while. At best we'll get seasonal temperatures in the 50s by Thursday.
Keep a good thought for our Fremont County stockgrowers. Weather like this is exactly what they dread most during calving and lambing season. The fragile babies can freeze to death quickly in a wet, cold storm. Know that our ag families are working around the clock to be life-savers today.
One of the 20th century's paramount leaders is dead. Today Britain mourns, and the world remembers, Margaret Thatcher.
Because of long-standing health issues, Thatcher didn't have the post-government visibility that, say, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have enjoyed after she left office in 1990. In her day, however, Britain's first and only female Prime Minister strode the globe with great prominence and impact.
We're taking a day off from The Ranger's newspaper Easter egg hunt. Today's searchers who check the clue page will see a message to that effect.
Given the extent of the storm and the treacherous condition of the roads, we're encouraging everyone to stay home from the hunt today. It's just not worth risking a fender-bender, or worse, to find a wooden Easter egg.
And the truth is, considering what just happened with the weather, nobody would have been able to find either of the eggs today, anyway. We'll rev it back up for Wednesday.
Despite the best efforts of the basketball experts, the team rated No. 1 heading into the famous "March Madness" college tournament doesn't always end up winning the whole thing. But this is a year when it did happen, as Louisville culminated a great season by beating Michigan for the title.
A very fitting moment came after the game when instead of sending the coach or a team captain up a ladder to cut down the net from the hoop in a traditional show of celebration, the basket was lowered almost to floor level so that Louisville's Kevin Ware got to cut the net from the rim.
Ware is the guy whose leg was shattered in last week's Elite Eight game against Duke in what must be the most shocking injury ever seen at a national sporting event.
Congratulations, Joe Theisman. Your broken leg on Monday Night Football is now in second place.
Grab the shovel
One of the best things you can do for you neighbors and your community on a day like this is to keep your sidewalks, driveways, business entrances and public stairways clear.
That's easier said than done when more than a foot of snow has fallen, when it's windy, when it's not even 20 degrees, and when it's still snowing, but please do your best.
Our Ranger snow shoveling crew has included numerous people all season. Tuesday morning's shovel-wielding heroes were Robert Stover, Shannon Stover, and the seemingly ageless Albert Lucero, who has helped keep our sidewalks, and those of other downtown businesses, clear for many years. Thanks to all.
What. A. Storm.
Here's to a good week.
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