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Digital Image Library

Weather Expert to Speak on the Amazing Front Range Snowstorm
of March 2003

September 15, 2004

BOULDER—From Castle Rock to Fort Collins and from I-25 to the Continental Divide, the snowstorm of March 2003 ranks among the wettest winter storms in Colorado since the beginning of record keeping. In a free public talk, meteorologist Tom Schlatter will explain the weather conditions that led to this epic storm and illustrate with photos how the snow brought the Front Range to a temporary standstill.

Schlatter’s presentation, “The Amazing Colorado Front Range Snowstorm of 17-19 March 2003,” takes place at the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Mesa Lab on Thursday, September 23, 2004, at 7:00 p.m. The Mesa Lab is located at the west end of Table Mesa Drive in southwest Boulder.

“This storm was something that we’ll probably never see again in our lifetimes,” Schlatter says. “I don’t think there are any winter storms in the records that can top this one in terms of water content.”

When the storm cleared, snow depths ranged from 1.5 to 3 feet along the Front Range urban corridor and from 4 to 6 feet in the foothills. Water content ranged from 4 to more than 8 inches, enough to replenish dangerously low reservoirs. “It was the beginning of the end for the drought on the east side of the Continental Divide,” Schlatter says.

Schlatter has been a researcher in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Forecast Systems Laboratory since 1980, first as a government employee until his retirement several months ago and now as a part-time employee of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences. He focuses on data assimilation, which he describes as “working on the problem of how to put weather observations into computer models to predict atmospheric behavior.” He also studies local and regional weather.

Schlatter is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and is on the faculty of the University of Colorado. He holds a doctorate in meteorology from St. Louis University.

“I’m a weather nut,” he says. “I’ve been a weather watcher and record keeper since the 1950s when I was growing up in St. Louis.”

Schlatter’s talk is the fourth annual presentation of the Rocky Mountain Weather and Climate Workshop, sponsored by NCAR, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University.

For more information and directions to the Mesa Lab, the public may call 303-497-1174 or visit www.ucar.edu and click on “Visit Us.”


The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors.

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