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Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedTue, 12-Dec-2017 2:25pm MST 
 

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Avalanche safety – Be prepared or die

Friday, October 20th, 2017 6:00am MST
Avalanches claim lives every year in Colorado. Before you head to the mountains, be sure you are prepared! (Wikimedia Commons)

Avalanches claim lives every year in Colorado. Before you head to the mountains, be sure you are prepared! (Wikimedia Commons)

As snow starts to fall, many Coloradoans and out of state visitors will take advantage of it and head to the mountains for a variety of outdoor activities.  Whether skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking, anyone who spends time outdoors in the high country needs to be aware of the danger avalanches present.  On average six people die in Colorado every year from avalanches and being prepared is an essential survival skill.

In this fifth in a series on Winter Weather Preparedness from the National Weather Service, ThorntonWeather.com helps you understand avalanches, where they occur, how to protect yourself and where to go for more information.  If you are headed to the high country, be sure to check out our Avalanche Information & Forecast page.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER CO
600 AM MDT FRI OCT 20 2017

Avalanches – Are you prepared?

Thousands of avalanches occur each winter in the mountains of Colorado. With the enormous popularity of winter sports in Colorado, this poses a risk to skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, and people traveling in the backcountry. On average 6 people die in Avalanches in the state of Colorado every year. Anyone who travels into the high country in the winter should be prepared for avalanches And know how to avoid them.

The most important thing to know is how to get information on current avalanche conditions. Check the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website at http://avalanche.state.co.us/ for the current avalanche forecast and the National Weather Service website http://www.weather.gov for the current weather forecast in your area. Knowing the current and future conditions will help you make good decisions in the backcountry.

A little information about avalanche safety can go a long way. Most avalanches occur during or just after snowstorms on a slopes between 30 to 45 degrees. A significant snowfall may result in an unstable snowpack. By waiting at least 36 hours after a big snow or wind storm before you go into the mountains the Snow may become more stable and less likely to avalanche. If you stay in valleys away from avalanche chutes, in stands of dense trees, or on gentle slopes you can decrease the risk of being caught in an avalanche.

If you are a skier or snowboarder at a commercial ski area the risk from avalanches is lower than in the backcountry. Ski patrols work to reduce the chance of an avalanche on open slopes. Respect the rules of the ski area, stay on open slopes, and do not stray out of bounds or into closed areas. The avalanche risk is higher outside of the ski area boundaries.

If you want to enjoy the great outdoors in areas prone to avalanches…You can reduce the danger by following a few simple rules:

  • Check the current avalanche forecast to get information on current and forecast avalanche conditions. Also check the latest weather forecast to see if conditions are likely to change while you are in the backcountry.
  • Never travel alone. Always have one or more companions. Even small avalanches can be fatal. If you are alone and get trapped, you may not be found until spring.
  • If crossing a slope that may be prone to avalanches, do it one person at a time. You want to minimize the impact on your party if an avalanche is accidentally released.
  • In avalanche country, all members of your party should carry avalanche rescue equipment including an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe pole. This increases your chances of a successful rescue and finding your friends alive.

Avalanche conditions in Colorado are monitored and forecasted by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, CAIC. You can get more information on avalanches, avalanche forecasts, avalanchesafety and request a safety class from CAIC. Go to their website…Http://www.colorado.gov/avalanche or call the center at 303-499-9650.

Winter Weather Preparedness Week continues through Saturday. Now is the time to get prepared for winter so you can safely enjoy the outdoors and travel safely when the snow flies.

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Thornton’s weekend to offer varying temperatures, some wind

Friday, October 20th, 2017 5:20am MST

A little bit of a mixed bag of weather for the three day period. We start out very mild but then a cold front cools things down quite a bit Saturday which will then be followed by a nice warmup Sunday.

For Friday look for sunny to mostly sunny skies throughout the day. Temperatures will again be quite warm with highs pushing toward the upper 70s. The afternoon may see some gusty winds. Tonight, partly cloudy skies will be above with lows dipping to the low 40s.

A fast moving cold front pushing through tonight and that will mix things up a bit for Saturday. Some cloud cover will be seen early then the afternoon should bring more sun. Temperatures will be a good bit cooler with highs in the mid to upper 50s. The bigger story tomorrow will be the winds which will be pretty breezy throughout the daytime hours. Overnight Saturday into Sunday morning skies will be mostly clear and temperatures a bit chilly with lows to the mid-30s.

Sunday rebounds quite nicely with sunny skies and calm conditions. Highs will top out right near the 70 degree mark.

Have a great weekend of course head over to http://www.thorntonweather.com/ for all the latest.

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Life threatening winter weather – Wind chill, frostbite and hypothermia

Thursday, October 19th, 2017 4:59am MST
Wind chill is a life threatening weather danger that is often ignored or underestimated. (AP Photo)

Wind chill is a life threatening weather danger that is often ignored or underestimated.

Winter weather can not only be trying on the mind and soul, it also presents very real dangers to the human body.  Extreme wind chills can be deadly and bring on the outset of frostbite and hypothermia.  Here in Colorado, all residents should be aware of these hazards and be prepared to deal with them.

In this fourth in a series on Winter Weather Preparedness from the National Weather Service, ThorntonWeather.com helps you understand wind chill and how to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER/BOULDER CO
ISSUED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GOODLAND KS
600 AM MDT THU OCT 19 2017

Extreme wind chill – Potentially life-threatening and often overlooked

Extremely cold air comes every winter in at least part of the country and affects millions of people across the United States. The arctic air, combined with brisk winds, can lead to dangerously cold wind chill values. The Wind Chill Index helps you determine when dangerous conditions develop that could lead to frostbite or hypothermia. It takes into account heat loss from the human body to its surroundings during cold and windy weather. The calculation utilizes wind speed in miles per hour and temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. For example, a temperature of minus 5 degrees occurring with a 20 mph wind gives a wind chill near minus 30 degrees. This means that your body will lose heat at the same rate as it would if the air temperature were minus 30 degrees with no wind. Wind Chill values near minus 25 degrees mean that frostbite is possible within 15 minutes.

  • How does the wind affect wind chill?  See the chart below.

Frostbite is the freezing of skin and the body tissue just beneath it. It first affects exposed body tissue where blood circulation may be limited such as your fingers, toes, nose and ears. To minimize frostbite, make sure all body parts are well covered. When frostbite starts, feeling is lost in the affected area and the frozen tissue will take on a white or pale appearance. If you suspect you are experiencing frostbite, hold the frostbitten area closely against warm skin to return blood flow and warmth to the affected area.

Hypothermia is a dangerously low body temperature and is the most common winter weather killer. When you hear of a hiker, climber, hunter or a stranded traveler perishing from cold weather exposure, hypothermia was the cause. Most people are surprised to learn that hypothermia deaths can occur with temperatures between 30 and 50 degrees. If you or your clothing are wet, then hypothermia becomes even more likely.

Warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Immediate medical attention should be given to victims suspected of suffering from hypothermia. If no help is available, the victim should be warmed slowly with warm liquids along with dry clothing and blankets.

The National Weather Service will issue wind chill advisories and warnings when a deadly combination of wind and cold air threaten. To learn more about wind chill, visit the national weather service internet site using lower case letters:  http://weather.gov/om/windchill.

When cold weather threatens, follow these tips for survival:

Stay dry, wet clothing results in much faster heat loss from your body. Wear waterproof insulated boots.

Stay covered, wear mittens or gloves and wear a hat. At least half of your body heat is lost if your head is not covered.

Dress layered, trapped air between loose fitting clothing helps to insulate.

Stay informed, have a portable NOAA weather radio nearby to keep you up-to-date with the latest forecasts and warnings. Use wind chill temperatures to guide you in dressing properly for the outdoors. On very cold days, minimize your exposure to the outdoors if possible.

Wind Chill Chart

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Another very mild, dry day for Thornton’s Thursday

Thursday, October 19th, 2017 4:46am MST

We continue our streak of unseasonably warm days with another today. We will see a few more clouds than yesterday but temperatures should push to nearly 15 degrees above normal.

Clear skies start things off then with some moisture aloft, a few clouds will arrive later in the morning. They won’t be numerous enough to be particularly intrusive however. Winds will be light and out of the south, no precipitation will be seen. In terms of temperatures highs will push into the upper 70s. Average for the date is 64 degrees.

Tonight, partly cloudy skies will be above with lows in the mid-40s.

Keep an eye on current conditions here.

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High winds a major threat in Colorado during the winter

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 6:00am MST
Winter winds can not only make it miserable to be outside, they can also be dangerous.

Winter winds can not only make it miserable to be outside, they can also be dangerous.

As we often experience, high winds in Colorado can cause conditions to deteriorate rapidly.  They present a very real danger to life and property, especially when coupled with other winter conditions like snow.

Why does it seem like we get so much wind in the winter?  What causes this?  How can you prepare and protect yourself and your property?

In this third in a series on winter weather preparedness from the National Weather Service, ThorntonWeather.com helps you understand why we receive so much wind and how to prepare for it.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
ISSUED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT WED OCT 18 2017

…WIDESPREAD HIGH WINDS VISIT COLORADO DURING THE WINTER…

This week through October 21st is Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Colorado.

The two main causes of high winds in Colorado during the cold season are the air pressure difference between strong low pressure and cold high pressure systems, and Chinook winds developing across the Front Range and other eastern mountain ranges.

» Click here to read the rest of High winds a major threat in Colorado during the winter

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More clouds Wednesday but temperatures remain unseasonably warm

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 5:00am MST

Not much of a change in the pleasant weather we have been enjoying. Temperatures will continue to be well above normal today but we will have some cloud cover for at least the first part of the day.

We start out the day with mostly to partly sunny skies courtesy of a wave cloud. That should break down by late morning giving us clearer skies above. Conditions will remain calm and dry. High temperatures today will top out in the mid-70s.

Tonight, mostly clear skies will be above and lows should drop to the low to mid-40s.

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Dog Hailed as Hero After Refusing to Leave Goats Alone in Wildfires

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 12:43pm MST

As Robert Handel and his family drove away from their burning neighborhood, they were certain that their beloved dog Odin and their 8 goats would also fall prey to the wildfires. So imagine their surprise – and relief – when they returned the next day to find Odin and the goats were safe and sound. » Click here to read the rest of Dog Hailed as Hero After Refusing to Leave Goats Alone in Wildfires

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Winter weather – What does that weather warning mean?

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 5:00am MST
You have seen and heard the warnings but do you know what they really mean?

You have seen and heard the warnings but do you know what they really mean?

We all are familiar with the crawls on the TV screen or the announcements on the radio for winter weather advisories such as Winter Storm Watch, Blizzard Warning, Freeze Warning and more. But, how many of us really know what those mean? There is very specific criteria the National Weather Service follows in issuing these watches and warnings and there are important differences between all of them.

In this second in a series on Winter Weather Preparedness from the National Weather Service, ThorntonWeather.com helps you understand what all of these mean so you can be better prepared.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM TUE OCT 17 2017

From the National Weather Service:

What does that warning mean?

When a warning is issued during the winter season, will you know what it means, and will you know how to respond? During this Colorado Winter Weather Preparedness Week, please become familiar with our list of potentially life-saving winter weather products.

This statement contains warning and advisory criteria for Colorado east of the continental divide. Criteria west of the divide will be provided today in a separate issuance by the Grand Junction forecast office.

Outlooks

A Hazardous Weather Outlook is issued daily by each National Weather Service office serving Colorado. The outlook provides information on potentially hazardous weather out to 7 days into the future. Also, the Weather Story, a graphic of expected hazardous weather, is posted daily on National Weather Service web sites serving Colorado.

Watches and Warnings

A Winter Storm Watch is issued when hazardous winter storm conditions are possible within the next 3 to 4 days, but the timing, intensity, or occurrence may still be uncertain.

In contrast, a Winter Storm Warning is issued for potentially life-threatening winter storm conditions, such as heavy snowfall or a combination of snowfall and blowing snow, which are likely to occur within the next 1 to 2 days.

Warning criteria for heavy snow is defined by the following amounts.

  • For the mountains – 8 inches of snow accumulation in 12 hours or 12 or more inches in 24 hours.
  • For the lower elevations – 6 inches of snow accumulation in 12 hours or 8 or more inches in 24 hours.

A Blizzard Warning is issued when the following conditions are expected to occur for at least 3 hours:

  • Sustained winds of 35 mph or greater.
  • Considerable falling and/or drifting snow lowering
  • Visibilities to less than a quarter mile.

A high wind warning is issued:

  • Mountains…sustained winds 50 mph or more, or gusts of at least 75 mph.
  • Lower Elevations…sustained winds of 40 mph or more, or gusts of at least 58 mph

A Wind Chill Warning will be issued for the following wind chill temperatures:

  • Mountains…minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.
  • Lower Elevations…minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

A Dust Storm Warning will be issued for the following conditions:

  • Visibility reduced to 1/4 mile or less in blowing dust and sustained winds of 25 mph or greater for at least one hour.

Advisories

Advisories for winter weather are issued for potentially hazardous conditions which are considered more of a nuisance than a life-threatening situation. However, if caution is not taken the advisory events could become life-threatening

This week is Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Colorado. Public information statements will be issued throughout the week to give safety information and help you know how to respond when winter weather threatens.

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Clear skies, calm conditions and lots of sun for Thornton’s Tuesday

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 4:56am MST

Days like we are experiencing this week are what we should have been seeing back in September when it was so cold and wet. Well, no matter when they arrive, they are welcome for sure.

We start out the day with clear skies and should be sunny throughout the day today other than a few high clouds here and there. We start out with a bit of a chill in the air but then will warm nicely with highs pushing close to the 80 degree mark. Winds will be light and out of the south, conditions dry.

Tonight skies will remain mostly clear with lows around 43 degrees.

Enjoy the mild weather!

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Thornton’s workweek starts off with sun, mild temps

Monday, October 16th, 2017 5:05am MST

We are looking to have a string of days with fantastic weather. A high pressure ridge has built up and that will bring us unseasonably warm temperatures lasting through the workweek.

For today, sunny skies start us off and there may be a cloud here and there through the day but nothing that will block the light for any amount of time. Conditions will be calm and dry. Temperatures will be topping out in the mid-70s, about 10 degrees above normal for the date. Tonight skies remain clear with lows dipping to the low 40s.

As for the rest of the week, look for similar conditions to last through Friday. On Saturday the ridge breaks down and a trough moves through leading to cooler temps and perhaps a chance for rain. More details in the extended forecast here.

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