April showers bring May flowers.
This bit of folk wisdom is applied across most parts of the American West, but in the Mountain West, those showers are likely to be snow showers.
While heavy, wet snow is exactly what thirsty sod craves, it can wreak havoc on brittle tree branches. A perfect example of this phenomenon is illustrated in this picture of a Denver street that was snapped by a Works Project Administration (WPA) photographer (X-29003) in the 1930s.
In the photo, readers can see the aftermath of spring snow on the trees of, what looks to be, Denver’s Capitol Hill.
Like a wintertime virus, spring snow is particularly dangerous for very old and very young trees. (And that’s to say nothing of any person or car who is unfortunate enough to find themselves in the path of falling branches.)
On a more aesthetic note, heavy spring snow absolutely shreds tree blossoms and can turn a fragrant treescape into a graveyard of broken limbs in just a few hours.
At the same time, the value of that moisture-laden snow is incalculable on the bone-dry prairie (which covers a good chunk of Colorado). A dry spring portends an even drier summer and the results of a drought can be absolutely devastating.
Broken branches, it seems, are a small price to pay for precious moisture on the plains.
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