Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Wyoming wind (finally) blows itself out

It's as if I went to sleep in winter and awoke in spring.

For the past two days, hurricane-force gusts have toppled semis on the interstate and ripped roofs off of businesses. In Laramie County, we had gusts measured at 73 mph, just shy of the 75 mph that makes a hurricane. Big Horn Basin monitors measured a 91 mph gust. A weather station on the crest of Colorado's Monarch Pass, recorded a wind speed of 148 mph. Now that's a gust that could knock you down or send you flying, depending on your BMI.

Last night, for the second night in the row, wind rattled my window frames. The metal frames were installed with the house in 1960 and are not energy efficient, even with the storm windows in place. The cold greets the window and radiates inside my house, causing my furnace to kick into gear more often than it should. We replaced our 25-year-old gas furnace last winter. It went kaput. The new machine is as energy-efficient as I could afford. I looked at some fancy systems, some more than $10,000. Gas condensing furnaces, geothermal heat pumps, high-efficiency boilers, radiant floor heating, You could go totally solar, or combine wind and solar. Once you open to door to new energy, the sky's the limit.

This morning, spruce tree branches wave lazily in the breeze. The sun shines. When I turned on the TV this morning, a gardening show was on. The personalities on the Weather Channel spoke of a phenomenon called spring. Apparently, in some parts of the country, flowers and trees bloom in March. That's an odd concept at 6,200 feet in the Rocky Mountains. The arrival of spring here just means more snow and wind and cold. We get some blossoms in May, and usually delay planting until Memorial Day weekend. On the plus side, summers are glorious and often extend into October. Warm, dry days and cool, clear nights.

It takes its time getting here. But summer is worth the wait.

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