Prepare! Winter is coming!

Caitlyn Dieckmann 

cdieckma@uccs.edu 

     Goodbye summer, welcome fall. See you later shorts, hello endless hoodie collection. Peace out blistering heat and come on in with the … snow?  

     For those of us who are Colorado natives, we have been walking on eggshells since the beginning of September, wondering when the random first snow of the season is going to hit. Given the forecast last year, early September was an option. But now that we are in the middle of October, it’s only a matter of time.  

     Needless to say, I am prepared for all weather, especially snow! But are you?  

     From one UCCS student to another, I offer everything you need to know as the temperature continues to drop and we move deeper into the fall.  

Driving is rough, and even if you think you’re a pro, you aren’t. 

     First things first — when the snow hits, the roads become an icy battlefield of metal and headlights, and everyone is created equal, even the most seasoned truck drivers and state troopers. The Colorado Department of Transportation offers great resources to combat the winter elements.  

     Whether you are traveling up into the mountains to catch the fresh “pow” on the ski slopes or road-tripping home for the holiday season, make sure you know Colorado laws. Your best bet is to learn how to put chains on your tires, and always have them with you.  

     Even if your weather app tells you no snowfall is on the radar, never trust it. Learn from my experience: I visited my sister last year at her college in Gunnison and thought there was no snow in the forecast. However, I woke up to a sudden drop in temperature and my car buried six inches deep.  

     If you are driving around Springs, I argue that it is even more dangerous to take a trip to Target with ice on the roads than driving through Monarch Pass during a winter storm. CDOT gives you tips for driving in the snow. Some of my personal favorites and ones that have saved my life a time or two are: slow down, look ahead, plan ahead and always wear a seatbelt. 

     Oh, and never forget your windshield scraper! 

Hi, out-of-state students. Welcome, but go buy a heavy jacket ASAP. 

     One thing that cracks me up every year is witnessing freshman students trying to make it to class through the surprise storm of the year, wearing shorts and a light hoodie or jacket.  

     The excuses aren’t much better either. They thought they would have time to go home and bring back their winter clothes during break. They honestly didn’t think the weather was that unpredictable here in Colorado. It was hot last week, who knew it would freeze over this week? I forgot to buy a jacket. It’s not even ski season yet.  

     Whatever it is, please make sure your wardrobe is ready.  

     If you are unsure what you need, have no fear. The Pikes Peak Region blog gives you a pretty comprehensive, must-have list for winter in Colorado.  

     Some important bits would be layering up until you’re 20 lbs. heavier, finding the correct socks to protect your toe beans, and hats (specifically, beanies) to ensure your ears don’t fall off.  

So, when is that pesky first snow supposed to be here anyway? 

     Good question. An ancient question really. Our best weather people have been pondering it every year since the beginning of time. Legend says if you guess it correctly, the winter elves bring you a pot of gold from Cripple Creek’s Double Eagle casino.  

     No winners yet, unfortunately.  

     My personal predictions follow the Farmer’s Almanac, but I take liberties with it and always move the snow up a week. So, it looks like the last week in November? But maybe not.  

     According to the National Weather Service, the median date of first snowfall in Colorado Springs is Oct. 19.  

     But last year, it started in September, and the earliest snowfall we ever had was Sept. 2. However, the latest snowfall we have ever had was Nov. 28.  

     So, my best bet for this year is either next week, next month or December. Maybe tomorrow? With all this uncertainty, it is even more important that we make it a priority to be prepared! 

A snowstorm on campus in 2020. Photo courtesy of The Scribe archives.