Snow Falling in Colorado on Eve of Northern Hemisphere’s Summer Solstice

Brad Sullivan – Bloomberg June 21, 2011

The calendar says summer starts tomorrow in the Northern Hemisphere. The snow falling in the mountains of Colorado tells a different story.

A storm that has prompted a tornado watch across Nebraska and Kansas today also left 2 to 4 inches of snow in the Rocky Mountains, said Joe Ramey, a weather service meteorologist in Grand Junction, Colorado.

“It is unusual,” Ramey said. “Here it is the last day of spring.”

A winter storm advisory has been posted in the mountains of Colorado above 10,000 feet until 6 p.m. local time, and at least one tornado was reported in Kansas, according to the weather service. The Northern Hemisphere summer starts at 1:16 p.m. New York time tomorrow.

Ramey said the lingering effects of the La Nina ocean cooling are still playing havoc with local weather patterns. Normally at this time of year the daytime high temperature in Grand Junction, at an altitude of almost 4,600 feet, is 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius), according to the weather service. Yesterday it was 59, Ramey said.

La Ninas can bring more rain and stormy conditions to the northern U.S., while drying out the southern half of the country. The most recent La Nina was declared over earlier this month by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland.

The atmosphere is still showing signs of the phenomenon, however.

Ramey said the snow won’t mean ski slopes will be able to reopen. The snow is in patches, he said.

“You could ski a little bit, pick up your skis and walk some, and then ski a little more,” Ramey said.

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