LONGMONT — After 23 years with the Boulder County road-maintenance department, Dan Hershman has learned not to get caught off-guard by Colorado’s unpredictable springtime weather.
So Friday afternoon, as National Weather Service forecasts morphed from heavy rainstorms to a “major spring storm” with the potential for a foot or more of snow, Hershman’s colleagues began attaching plows and sanders to trucks at the county yard off Boston Avenue.
It was a similar scene at the Longmont Public Works yard off Airport Road.
“We don’t count anything out until June,” said Hershman, a division manager with the county’s road-maintenance department. “It could just be rain. You never know. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
National Weather Service forecasters Friday warned of heavy rain into today, a break, then a major storm from tonight into Sunday.
The unsettled weather began in earnest Friday with thunderstorms passing through the area.
There were numerous reports of downed power lines in Weld County, and a gust of 68 mph was measured in Longmont at 5:18 p.m. Friday by retired weather service forecaster Dave Larison, who said he was still uncertain whether the city would see snow or rain.
“This storm has the potential to produce significant snowfall across the Front Range foothills, urban corridor and Palmer Divide late (tonight) and Sunday,” the weather service in Boulder said. “At this time, there is the potential for 1 to 2 feet of snow in the foothills and up to a foot over the urban corridor, mainly from Fort Collins southward into Douglas County.”
Spring snowstorms are common in Colorado.
In April 1997, parts of Longmont received 14.5 inches of snow from one storm. Last year, another system left Longmont with 7 inches. In April 2001, just a trace was measured, Larison said.
Charlie Kamenides of the Longmont Public Works Department said crews are ready to hit the streets should the storm hit the city. He said workers are confident they can handle a major storm with heavy, wet snow.
“We have our trucks, our sanders and deicers prepared and ready to go. We understand that there’s a potential for a significant snow event,” said Kamenides, operations manager for the department. “Our guys really take a lot of pride in the work they do before the snow. We are prepared.”
Trevor Hughes can be reached at 303-684-5220, or by e-mail at email@example.com.