Castle Valley Comments
December 7, 2017
by Ron Drake
Dec 07, 2017 | 835 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Castle Valley Fire Department was paged out to a structure fire in Willow Basin early Tuesday morning. The 3 a.m. alarm reported a chimney fire to a home belonging to Michael Duehrssen and the fire department responded with three engines and 10 firefighters. The first engine to arrive encountered fire on a corner of the roof next to the chimney and the crew was able to keep the fire from spreading until the larger Castle Valley engine arrived to knock it down.

The Moab Valley Fire District also responded with two engines and six firefighters and was able to get access to the ceiling and wall behind the fireplace to control some hidden flames. The fire was controlled by about 7 a.m. and all units returned to their fire stations. An ambulance was also summoned to be on standby but there were no injuries to the fire personnel or occupants of the home.


As Christmas approaches there are several activities that Castle Valley residents are welcome to take part in to help get into the spirit of the season.

Next Tuesday, Dec. 12 beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Castle Valley LDS Branch is inviting everyone to the annual Christmas potluck dinner. The church will furnish turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy and dressing and invite others to bring a dessert, salad or side dish to share. This tradition has been going on for many years at Christmas, in addition to their monthly potluck dinners during the rest of the year. Santa Claus will also make an appearance — much to the delight of the children.

Another long-time tradition in Castle Valley is the Christmas event that is sponsored by the DayStar Adventist Academy. They are inviting everyone to a “Christmas Evening” on Sunday, Dec. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the academy dining hall. “Come and enjoy a light dinner and music program,” they state in an invitation, also requesting an RSVP at 435-259-7719. The academy has been putting on a Christmas program for 48 years and they say they are determined to carry on the tradition, in spite of the declining student enrollment the last couple of years.

During the first few years of their Christmas program it was held in the basement of the chapel, when the building was still under construction. Dave Seibert, the music director at the time said straw was used to cover the dirt floor of the basement.


It seems like the month of November was pretty warm and the statistics that I received this month from Castle Valley’s official weather observer back that up. Bob Russell said that the average maximum temperature was 60.4 degrees and the minimum average was 34.5. “Compared with the record for 1981 through 2010, the latest long-period record for Castle Valley, we are high by seven degrees (at 53.0 on the average high and 4.1 degrees higher on the average low), Russell reported. His rain gauge gathered nothing but dust, with no reported precipitation in November and the last report of precipitation of 0.1 back in Oct. 9.

What will December bring? According to that 1981 through 2010 period, Russell said the average high for December was 53 degrees, the average low was 30.4 degrees and precipitation for the same period was 0.87 inches. And what about snow? For the period of 1978 through 2006, December’s mean snowfall was 4.1 inches, with a high in December 1978 of 15.2 inches. The winter months (December through January) for 1978 through 2006 show a mean snowfall of 10 inches and a “boomer” of 46.2 inches in the winter months of 1978 and 1979, according to Russell’s records.

We were here for that 1978 and 1979 winter, having moved to Castle Valley the previous April from sunny southern California. Our California friends, who had been here a couple of years before us, said that the winters were mild and if it did happen to snow overnight, it would melt and be gone by noon.

Little did they know.

That year, the first snow came in October, before Halloween, and didn’t leave until March. It seemed like it snowed every other day and the cold temperatures kept the snow from melting, causing the new snow to keep piling up on old snow until it was at least four feet deep. Bob Russell’s records don’t show the cold temperatures that winter. My thermometer registered 20-below-zero one night, well below zero the rest of the time and below freezing during the days. Needless to say, we had second thoughts about our move to Castle Valley but we survived the winter and haven’t experienced a winter quite the same since then.

“The way we seem to be going,” Russell concluded in this year’s report, “I hope Santa remembers to bring the sleigh with the wheels!”

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