A scene more reminiscent of early January, not late October, was observed by folks heading out to work Monday morning as the needle on the thermometer hovered at a not-so-tropical negative eight degrees.
An early reminder of things to come as the region moves into the winter season, this particular storm that arrived late Saturday evening packed a bit more of a punch than usual, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Bill Mokry, who is based out of NOAA’s Cheyenne office.
A cold front associated with the storm, which brought the first falling flakes in the early evening hours of Saturday, Oct. 26, caused seasonal fall temperatures to plummet.
Mokry said the high on Saturday was 57 degrees at 9:01 a.m. By 11:51 that same evening, temperatures dropped to 22 degrees and haven’t recovered since.
Temperatures were manageable Sunday morning as community members started clearing sidewalks, driveways and cars. By late in the evening, it was a much different story. A recorded low of 0 degrees at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday was technically a new record low for a 20-year history.
“We generally use a 30-year marker to define a climate before we issue weather reports,” he said of the technical record. “We need that period of record.”
NOAA received a report of 9.5 inches of snowfall four miles west, southwest of Douglas by the morning of Oct. 27, bringing a swath of no unnecessary travel restrictions throughout the day Sunday along area highways and I-25. Local amounts in city limits were not as severe, but driving was still tricky for those not used to icy roads.
Douglas Police Department Chief Ron Casalenda said travel impacts were minimal around town due to drivers “doing what they needed to do in being safe.”
He stated there was only one crash report within city limits from Friday night through Monday morning.
“It’s extremely encouraging,” he said. “With the roads not thawing because of (low) temperatures, it becomes treacherous.”