Preparing for Bruce Lee: Local officials plan for heavy winter


This year’s El Niño is already the second strongest on record for this time of year and has been nicknamed Bruce Lee, causing local officials, as well as state and national officials, to begin preparing for the punch Bruce Lee is anticipated to pack.

For Colorado, forecasters are predicting that the El Niño has the potential to bring heavy snowstorms this winter, especially in the southwest part of the state.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has predicted Bruce Lee could be the biggest El Niño it has seen in 50 years.

To begin to prepare for the possible effects of Bruce Lee, a bevy of local and state government officials, school district representatives, local medical personnel, Red Cross representatives, some private business owners and more met to begin formulating a strategic plan.

The meeting primarily, led by Archuleta County’s director of emergency management, Thad McKain, served to begin identifying the possible impacts of the El Niño weather pattern, and what resources might be available locally to help reduce the potential loss of life and quickly restore essential services following major winter storms.

What is an El Niño and what does it mean?

El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation and, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is characterized by unusually warm temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, including off the coasts of Central and South America.

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