Democrats planning everything but the weather in Denver

From USA Today:

Democrats planning everything but the weather in Denver 

By Chuck Raasch, GNS Political Writer

WASHINGTON — Democrats are hoping for an open-air sendoff of Barack Obama on Aug. 28 as big as the Colorado sky. But what if Denver’s heavens open up with a thunderstorm, as they can do on late-summer evenings on the Rockies’ eastern slopes?

“Rain or shine,” Obama will speak outdoors at Invesco Field at Mile High, said Natalie Wyeth, press secretary for the Democratic National Convention. But rain isn’t always the worst Mother Nature can do. “I moved to Colorado in 1994, and my first day of school in Denver it snowed a foot. In September,” said Dan Smith, a University of Florida political scientist and former Colorado resident.

Obama will deliver the first outdoor speech to accept the presidential nomination since John F. Kennedy spoke in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1960. Tens of thousands of delegates and supporters are expected to gather in the home of the Denver Broncos football team.

A comfortable evening could be the perfect backdrop for a scene of cheering crowds that Obama’s planners are hoping for. But a storm like the one on Aug. 8 would unleash a torrent of rain-on-parade metaphors, if nothing else. That drought-buster dumped more than two inches of rain in less than an hour near the stadium at roughly the time of the evening Obama is scheduled to speak. “That would not have been a good day” for an outdoor speech, said Colorado state climatologist Nolan Doesken.

Democrats checked the last 20 years of weather, Wyeth said, determining that the average high is about 84 and that only about a tenth of an inch of rain falls on or near the date in a normal year. The convention-week forecast is for mostly warm and dry weather. “The odds are in favor of good weather,” said Doesken, who has studied Colorado weather for more than 30 years. “That time of year, the typical day will see temperatures climb into the 80s and a typical night will drop off into the 50s.” But, he warned, “We also know weird things can happen.”

Retired National Weather Service employee Paul Gard has compiled an extensive history of weather events in Denver. Aug. 28 has produced everything from hailstorms to grasshopper swarms. Digging through old Weather Service data, as well as a handwritten journal kept by the U.S. Army Signal Corps beginning in 1872, Gard found that on Aug. 28:

• In 2004, the temperature dropped to 42.

• In 2002, a severe thunderstorm produced marble-sized hail in a Denver suburb.

• In 1970, a 53-mile-per-hour wind was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

• In 1968, a man was struck by lighting while riding a roller coaster and lightning struck a jet at the airport.

 • And in 1875, swarms of grasshoppers that first appeared on the 19th were finishing off the town’s gardens and nearly blotting out the sun.

Conservative James Dobson’s Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family posted what it called a humorous Internet video calling for people to pray for rain during Obama’s speech. The group pulled the video last week after receiving complaints. Former Colorado Republican Sen. Hank Brown, who just retired as president of the University of Colorado, predicted Obama’s stadium speech “is a no-lose for him.” “He will have a huge, enthusiastic crowd and it will project very well on TV,” Brown said. If it storms? “My guess is, he will still have a big crowd.”

Note: Former Vice President Al Gore also is scheduled to speak at Invesco Field at Mile High on the night Sen. Barack Obama accepts his party’s nomination, according to published reports. If there is a time for weird weather to happen, that would be the moment. – Anthony

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Leon Brozyna
August 19, 2008 8:21 pm

Give Lord Gore an unprecedented blizzard and he’ll spin it to his serfs that it’s further proof of mankind’s impact on the climate. We must repent and pay Lord Gore for our use of carbon-based fuels and beg Lord Gore to protect and save his serfs.
Sorry, but I do get quite a violent reaction to the mindless adulation that keeps being heaped on Gore, never recognizing the fuedal vision of environmentalism. Most likely when he & Obama speak the weather will be boringly average.

August 19, 2008 8:35 pm

Leon Brozyna (20:21:57) :
I hope it snow’s three (3) feet on them, and it might just happen.

August 19, 2008 8:43 pm

If The Great Goreacle™ is attending the coronation convention, the ski resorts should plan on opening their lifts, ASAP! He is to cold weather what all-you-can-eat buffets are to Michael Moore-on & Rosie O’Donuts!

August 19, 2008 9:10 pm

I think the appearance that cold weather follows Gore around is an artifact of observer bias. I’d like to see a real scientific study. If in fact, he has an effect on local weather, it might be evidence of a jealous God. Oh, yes, and a just One, too.

Jim Cole
August 19, 2008 9:24 pm

Thursday August 28 will be two days shy of the new moon (the “dimmest of lights” – what a fitting metaphor!). When this thin crescent moon shows over Invesco Field/Mile High Stadium, will anyone note the similarity to the most potent Middle Eastern symbol?
Naah! The press is in the tank for The Messiah, the O-one
It’ll probably be clear and dry, and not near hot enough to prompt any ridiculous Gore-gasms about “tipping points”, not that he won’t try.
I’m still pulling for snow – how “cool” would that be?

Mike McMillan
August 19, 2008 9:59 pm

Yet fear did rule the mind, and troubled hearts at the coming of the Maunder.
But the Lord Gore did reach out his hand to the Sun and proclaimed, “Cycle 24 !” and yea, Spots did then blemish the Sun, and Coronal Mass Ejections, and manifold were the Aurora.
And the Deniers were cast down from their blogs, and the people rejoiced, for AGW would surely now rule.
The Lord Gore was pleased, and bountiful were his Carbon Credits.
Personally, I’m praying for snow in Denver.

August 19, 2008 10:44 pm

Who knows what will actually happen, of course. But I’ve known of way too many outdoor weddings that were badly disrupted at the last minute by uncooperative weather. This is a bad idea.

August 20, 2008 1:04 am

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

August 20, 2008 5:30 am

Future history of AGW?
There was a big tree limb;
it seemed very strong.
So, many climbed on it;
how could they go wrong?
But then came a cold spell
and the limb shattered.
Many reputations
now hang in tatters.

retired engineer
August 20, 2008 5:44 am

Given the level of rhetoric, we may see the highest temperature ever recorded in Denver. Massive forest fires could result.
I’ve long maintained that a case of duct tape, properly applied in D.C., would trigger another ice age.

Bruce Cobb
August 20, 2008 6:13 am

Obama seems to be moderating his stance on energy policy, now calling for limited drilling. I see Gore as the crazy uncle who must be invited to the family gathering. If I do watch any of it, I doubt I’ll be able to stomach Gore. I will be looking for a continued gradual moderation of Obama’s stance on AGW. As of now, although not enthusiastic about him, I will probably be voting for him, but also any skeptic-friendly Republican members of Congress. McCain is an idiot.

August 20, 2008 6:18 am

I’m pulling for a grasshopper swarm.

August 20, 2008 6:57 am

Sacrificing small animals to the snow god “El Cunuck-O”

August 20, 2008 12:24 pm

A snow storm at Invesco Stadium when Obama speaks would be the ultimate disgrace for one who claims he can control climate and lower the seas. Snow would demonstrate that the he is not God’s choice, just another charming political hack selling snake oil.

Bern Bray
August 20, 2008 12:44 pm

The Front Range has a history of slow moving super cells like the one that flooded Ft. Collins several years ago. I attended a ZZ Top concert at Red Rocks in one such storm. I’ve never been wetter in my life! That would be much more uncomfortable than snow. Please let it be so!
The way Obama stutters and mumbles when parsing words, could you tell if he was hypothermic?
ps. ZZ played until they were dragged off the stage. I doubt if Barry will want to get wet.

August 20, 2008 5:16 pm

Typical late August weather here in Denver is warm sunny days and cool nights, little rain this time of year, ya really got to keep your lawn watered. Chances of any thing happing will be pretty slim. After all it’s the election in November that really counts.

April E. Coggins
August 20, 2008 10:38 pm

I live in the Pacific Northwest and we didn’t crack 65F today. We dropped almost 40F in one day. With any luck, this cold system will drop down and east about Monday or Tuesday.

Jeff Alberts
August 21, 2008 5:26 pm

Snow would demonstrate that the he is not God’s choice, just another charming political hack selling snake oil.

Snow would indicate cold and wet conditions, nothing more.

Jeff Alberts
August 21, 2008 5:43 pm

I live in the Pacific Northwest and we didn’t crack 65F today. We dropped almost 40F in one day. With any luck, this cold system will drop down and east about Monday or Tuesday.

I hear you April. I’m up in Oak Harbor and can’t get my wife to close the windows at night. Damn that demon Menopause!
Reply: Uh…too much information~charles the moderator

Pete Fickenscher
August 22, 2008 6:59 pm

Until today, the weather models have been showing a warm ridge over Colorado on the 28th. But now the latest GFS weather model (08222008 18Z) is now showing a cut off low over colorado, which would mean a good chance for rain and thunderstorms. Could be interesting ….

Jeff L
August 22, 2008 8:10 pm

The set up Pete is looking at (if it were to verify ) is very similar to last weekend’s system with record cold & rain (I live in & forecast in Denver). The 1000-500 MB thickness is slightly thinner (560 or so vs 565) , so maybe a few degrees colder. Using last weekends storm as an analog, it could be upper 40’s & light rain at speech time. Not what most people would consider summer-like weather. Oh, the irony ….but, it will be interesting to watch the model runs gyrate over this wave & see what actually verifies. Still a long ways off & model accuracy on the details, especially at this time of year, isn’t great. That being said, a fairly strong wave has been seen in the GFS off & on over the last several days for that general time period. Certainly will be fun to watch!

Mike Bryant
August 23, 2008 7:23 pm

NOAA has Denver with a slight chance of rain (10%) Monday through Thursday, with high of 83 Thursday.

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