Sunshine melts snow, jobs


Posted Tue, Mar 8, 2011


Snow Job: David Baainger from the Downtown Denver Partnership works to clear snow on the 16th Street Mall Jan. 31, 2011 in Denver as snow fell and temperatures dropped to 10 degrees. Photo by Leah Millis

Warmer weather is expected to return to the Denver area, with temperatures forecast to come back up to near 56 degrees by Sunday afternoon according to the National Weather Service. This is welcome news to most after two weeks of cold temperatures that dipped below zero during the day in places that left the state in a deep freeze.

For some, though, warmer weather means less work. From the door-to-door entrepreneurs, to the workers hired to clear snow at the 16th Street Mall, sunshine isn’t necessarily a happy forecast.

 For others, such as city workers, the snow may mean an opportunity to get an increase in normal work hours and an opportunity to get overtime, said Christine Downs, media coordinator for Denver Public Works.

 “We have a standard staff, but when they’re on snow duty they work 12 hour days instead of 8 hour days,” Downs said.

 In the last week, since Sunday, Denver Public Works have had 81 people working the 12 hour shifts.

 Monday evening brought a storm through the city that dumped up to 8 inches of snow over two days in some areas of the city,. With the combination of unusually cold temperatures, bringing the month’s average down to 15.5 degrees, snow has stayed on the streets and ground for longer amounts of time, calling for an increase in snow removal.

 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics officials said Colorado’s unemployment rate hovered just below 9 percent compared with the national average of 9.8 Percent as of December 2010. Snow needs shoveling, which means more work to some. David Baainger, a worker from the Downtown Denver Partnership the cold temperatures and snow provides “job security.”

 Though sunshine may be forecast for this weekend, March usually brings the most moisture during Colorado winters. Last year it was the wettest winter month according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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