Isobar's weather annual 2014.01.08

Written by David Green. Posted in Feature Stories

By DAVID GREEN

So how deep was it? And how cold did it get?

A visit with George Isobar, the National Weather Service cooperative observer for the Morenci area, came up with answers to those questions.

“I don’t expect people to agree with me on this,” he said, “because I know others will say it was much deeper.”

The first storm that started on New Year’s Day dumped 8.6 inches on the area—OK, in Isobar’s yard—and the second storm on Sunday brought another 7.8 inches.

“Sure, there were places in my yard where it was two feet deep or more,” Isobar said, “and there were also areas where I could see grass.

“You just have to take an average when the wind is blowing it around that much. Another good key is to melt it down.”

Ten inches of “typical” snow melts down to about an inch of water. The first storm melted down to 0.86 hundredths of an inch and the second one melted down to 0.79 hundredths.

“With those amounts, you can’t have a lot more snowfall than 16 or 17 inches,” Isobar said. “The snow on Sunday afternoon was really wet, heavy snowman snow and that would have produced more depth if it were colder.”

Snowfall, just like rainfall, varies from location to location, he said, and there certainly could have been some deeper snow in some areas.

“I heard someone comparing this to the big blizzard of 1978,” Isobar said. “My records show that the greatest snow on any one day was nine inches back then, so that one must have added up to reach its maximum.”

The total for January for that month was 34.7 inches which is often more than this area gets for an entire season. Isobar has measured 28.9 for the season so far. In 1978, 52.7 fell for the season.

Isobar reported a low temperature of -15° overnight Monday. When the paper went to press Tuesday, the temperature was still below zero and the wind was still blowing.

The coldest temperature measured in Morenci during the past 40 years came in 1994 at -25°. There was a -23° reading in 1984 and -20° in 1990. 

“See?” Isobar joked. “It just doesn’t get as cold as it used to.”

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