March 27, 2007

Ucross #11 - weathered

Turns out the weather here isn't always pleasant. Last night when I was walking around outside (on an overt mission) I could see some amazing flashes of lightning to the southwest. They lit up the overcast sky, shining through the clouds, but it must have been far away because I didn't hear any thunder. I made it back to the Schoolhouse before the rain began, but today everything seems to have passed, and when I woke up, the sun was shining for our exciting Ranch Tour. 10AM, sharp. I actually really like inclement weather. Thunderstorms, rain, generally agitated nature gives me an appreciation for the vast power outside of me. Being humbled somewhat frequently is a good thing in my book. And this is lucky because much more weather is headed our way right now.

Today, my cabin almost blew away. It was quite remarkable; the doors kept on blowing open and sucking shut and sometimes the whole cabin would shudder and make me think of unsuspecting witches. Back when I sailed competitively in college, we used to say that it was blowing like stink, and sometimes even like snot, but since I can't remember which one is higher on the Beaufort scale, I'm not going to choose. Suffice it to say that it's windy. Yeah, really windy.

And on top of that, I heard we are supposed to get one to two FEET of snow in the mountains tonight and tomorrow, but no one seems to know whether or not that will translate into much down here at lower elevations.

OK, so here is the official forecast:

Showers and scattered thunderstorms. It will be windy at times, especially early. Low 43F. SSE winds shifting to WNW at 25 to 35 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Tomorrow: Windy...cloudy with rain and snow. Morning high of 45F with temps falling to near freezing. Winds NNW at 25 to 35 mph. About one inch of snow expected. Winds could occasionally gust over 50 mph.
Tomorrow night: Periods of snow and windy. Low 29F. Winds NW at 25 to 35 mph. Chance of snow 90%. 6 to 10 inches of snow expected.
Thursday: Snow along with gusty winds at times. Cold. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds NW at 25 to 35 mph. Chance of snow 80%. Significant snow accumulation possible.

Thankfully, it appears that this system will have passed through by the time I am driving to Denver on Friday and flying back to Boston on Saturday.

As I mentioned, we had our Ranch tour earlier today. Two hours of driving around to the outer reaches of the Ucross 22,000 acres with one of the employees who was very knowledgeable about the property, especially the flora, fauna and the general ecology. It was fascinating. Among other things, I learned that currently there are 42 rabbits per square mile in the state of Wyoming. Multiply that by the land area of Wyoming (97,105 sq. miles) and you have 4,078,410 rabbits in the state. With a human population of 493,782 (2000 census) that's eight and a quarter rabbits per person; enough to feed each of us for at least a month! That is, if we ate rabbit stew, which I think I'll pass on. Just the fact that this is a statistic someone keeps out here is really funny. I doubt if anyone knows how many rabbits there are per square mile in have we survived all these years? Even after a week and a half out here, this is still a very different place.

Posted by halsey at March 27, 2007 05:21 PM