A storm day with highway forecaster Ann Mellick, CAIC

 

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“What is a storm day like?

You never know what to expect on a storm day. The action may ramp up or fizzle out. I have to be prepared for the former, rather than depend on the latter. As a highway forecaster, it is my job to track critical weather changes that may endanger highway travelers day and night.

I spend a lot of time looking at snow, measuring and quantifying it on the ground, as well as looking at it on the computer – gathering information on the past, present and future weather. On storm days this is all done while juggling phone and radio calls and trying to determine the best course of action. Have we received a critical amount of snow? Do we close the road and wait for the storm to pass or can we just do spot mitigation and try to keep it open?

Sometimes during a storm I have the luxury of getting on my skis to see how the new snow is reacting. Other times, I drive slick roads with poor visibility, gawking at avalanche paths and gathering clues as to what might happen next.

On storm days I have to be prepared for anything and bring plenty of snacks! You never know what you may find. There may be an unchained semi truck blocking the highway, backing up traffic under dangerous avalanche paths. There may be a backcountry rescue or a lost traveler. Maybe there is just a steady snowfall and a lone fox skulking down the highway looking for breakfast. When I leave the calm and warmth of my cabin on storm mornings, I never know when I might get home. It always feels good when I do though. With this job, as in all of life, there is no guarantee.”

– CAIC Highway Avalanche Forecaster, Ann Mellick

P.C. & Battleship 044

a little dusting

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closing RMP and siting the 105

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      CDOT  Cover Girl

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enjoying ‘Pisco Hour’ with a potential donor.

bottom photos rōbert collection

2 thoughts on “A storm day with highway forecaster Ann Mellick, CAIC

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