The Garden City Telegram
10/21/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Snow time

However it may arrive, more moisture welcome in region.

Another one of Mother Nature's weather-related surprises materialized Friday in a nice batch of snow throughout western Kansas.

The white stuff arrived early as temperatures dipped a bit lower than weather forecasters had predicted, with light rain eventually turning to sleet and then large flakes of snow.

Because the ground and streets still were relatively warm, the unexpected weather event didn't turn into a lingering mess of ice and a hazard for folks on the road and others outside, thankfully.

On the other hand, the rain and snow did deliver a beneficial soaking for soil still desperately in need of moisture.

It was the fifth day of measurable precipitation in October locally, and results were encouraging.

The wintry blast in the midst of autumn helped push precipitation in Garden City past one inch for the month, compared to the normal of less than three-quarters of an inch.

While the total for the year remains well below the normal of more than 17 inches, an accumulation of 13.66 so far in 2013 still represents improvement over what the area saw a year ago at this time, which was about an inch less in year-to-date precipitation.

A look back also shows first snows appearing earlier in the year in Garden City. Still, Friday's snowfall caught plenty of people off guard and created some inconvenience for farmers and others.

One outdoor event, the grand opening of Garden City High School's JROTC Confidence Course set for Saturday, was postponed.

But as the blanket of snow left behind all but melted away, one popular, outdoor event went on as scheduled Saturday in Boo! At the Zoo, the annual gathering featuring trick-or-treating and more Halloween fun at Garden City's Lee Richardson Zoo.

With the official start of winter several weeks away — in fact, it's two months from today — snow in the fall did indeed seem a bit out of place.

But as we know, it's not all that unheard of in a part of the country accustomed to unexpected weather developments.

And this time around, the snow at least was a welcome surprise.