Monday, February 23, 2015


We’re braced for more very cold weather. It’s been an up and down ride between cold and very, very cold weather the past two weeks. We’ve had lots of snow, over ten inches in one storm, last week and then an added inch or two in each of the several storms since. Right now, we have probably six to eight inches on the ground. It’s no longer fluffy easy to maneuver through snow. It now has a three inch crust of ice covering it. That dropped on Friday when we had thunder snow and sleet.

The weather people say thunder snow is rare. I don’t think it’s quite as rare as they say probably more a case of not being able to observe it even when they know the conditions are right for it to happen. When there is heavy snowfall accompanying thunder snow, it tends to muffle the sound of thunder (which normally can be heard five- six miles away or more, in the summer to about a mile or two in the winter) and certainly masks the flashes of lightning. When you’re directly in the storm, the thunder is loud and rolling and you definitely see all the flashes of lightning.  Very surreal to see a flash of lightning light up the backdrop white fields and ice sickles hanging from the trees.  For thunder snow to occur the air layer closer to the ground has to be warmer than the layers above, but still cold enough to create snow—a very particular set of circumstances. Snowfall rates during a thunder snow (or sleet) event can reach two inches an hour, as was the case here on Friday night.

Saturday the weather was a warm 38 degrees and turned everything a bit mushy only to freeze again in the below freezing temps of Saturday night. Sunday morning it was pretty landscape but oh, so dangerous to navigate. Poor Gidget, my Great Dane, slid right down the three steps to the yard from the patio and spun around a few times before coming to a stop about four feet away. It took her a few minutes before she could get back up and she was very careful, after that, in placing each foot in the snow. The horses were also careful in foot placement. You could hear each foot break through the snow crust. Doctari is a 1200 lb horse and even he was careful in cutting a path for the mares to follow to the feeding areas. Pretty much a single file. The cats? Pfft. They walk on top of the snow and use their claws when necessary, for traction. But they were fun to watch as they would climb the snow banks made, from shoveling the driveway, and sit on the top surveying their world and then sliding down the other side. Very deliberate and hilarious to watch.

The driveway is slick ice. Jake and his best friend have a couple of old skateboards without wheels and had a ball sliding across the ice there and trudging over to the hilly area on the property and surfed the icy snow. They had both had on their skate shoes and had a merry time sliding across the ice.  “Hey, Mom, you should try it—it’s fun.” Um no, after last year’s fiasco on the ice and totally FUBARing my shoulder, I’ll pass. If I go out it’s with good snow tread boots and I stick to the thicker snow areas where I can break through the ice for traction. All the paths the guys made are all ice right now, so those are off limits for me.

As I sit here this morning, bundled up against the cold (3 degrees), sipping my morning coffee I have to say I love the light of the early morning sun on the icy snow. I can admit it’s a beautiful landscape but I’m longing for the bright green of spring. Like tomorrow morning, please.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's cold. I'd stay inside. Bet your pets aren't going out much either.
I don't think I've ever seen thunder snow. That would be wild.

A Beer For The Shower said...

We got 20 inches of snow this weekend. 20. I'd drink some coffee but I think it froze solid. Now all I have is an icy coffee log that won't quite come out of the mug.

~Sia McKye~ said...

ALEX--it was wild and no, my cats mostly want to be inside. I've noticed the dogs wait until their eyes turn yellow before going to the door, lol!

Bryan and Brandon, now that's just sad. Did you turn on your heat? You know that little button that clicks on the heater in the house? That helps. ick on the 20 inches of snow.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Never seen Thunder Snow either. It might get to 38 here this weekend. Right now 20 feels warm enough to go for a walk. I'm looking forward to warmer weather and spring too.

~Sia McKye~ said...

NATALIE--supposed to get up to 20 today as well. Not looking forward to navigating the icy snow outside.

It's funny about temps. I can handle 28-30 degrees just fine, but when it goes below that my body hates it. :-)

Chicago area has gotten several Thunder snow storms in the past few years. :-)

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love interesting weather. When I'm in the comfort of my home. Not so much when I have to go out into it, especially not when driving.

Yolanda Renee said...

The sunshine on the snow is beautiful and gives the hope that spring is almost here, so much better than the cloudy gray days that make up so much of winter.
Stay warm, stay upright, and yes, I do believe - soon, very, very soon!

Peaches D. Ledwidge said...

Thunder snow??

Snow still on ground but no fresh snow.
Enjoy your warm drink.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I worry about my old dog managing on the ice. She also slid down an icy step and at 15, she doesn't recover quite like the young dog. It is pretty in the sunlight...and in the moonlight. The reflection of the moon on the snow is just beautiful.

dolorah said...

We're starting a drought here in Cali, so snow looks pretty enticing. Makes me miss my days in Germany. Of course, snow is much funner in a warm, cozy house :)

cleemckenzie said...

Sounds a lot like winter should be. I can't imagine 3 degrees unless it has to do with my freezer or ice cream.

Loved seeing your pictures. Cardinals and cats. What can be more beautiful?

Christine Rains said...

Yikes! That's cold. We've had a record breaking cold spell and snow fall here, but nothing compared to other places. I always loved winter when I could sit inside and read and write, but now that I have a little one, I want the warm weather back!

~Sia McKye~ said...

YOLANDA--Oh, it is beatiful and better than unrelenting gray. I'd rather have these sort of storms in December and January and be done by this time in February. Honestly, I can take temps in the 30's but my body doesn NOT like below zero.

PEACHES--Yah, pretty cool actually.

ELIZABETH--it is indeed, especially from inside, lol! I have two older cats, 15 and 16. Neither can take the cold right now and so are inside. My dogs are all under 10 so far I don't have to worry about them--me, on the other hand, lol!

DEB--for sure. Even though California has gotten a lot of precipitation, it's still not enough to stop the drought. I haven't kept track of the snow pack but even with that, it's modifying but not erasing.

LEE-- you can at least shut the freezer and eat the ice cream in the warmth. :-)

CHRISTINE-- little ones just LOVE the snow. And honestly, I don't mind some snow and cold and I'm far enough south that we totally miss the 30 plus inches of snow, like my uncles, aunts, and cousins deal with every winter in Northern Wisconsin. I just have problems with the extremes.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It was only 14 degrees when I went for my walk today. Supposed to go down to -2 tonight. The winter is taking over people's blogs this year. It's a bit overwhelming.

shelly said...

Florida weather has been crazy. Last week it was freezing. So far, this week has been warm but foggy.

And kids will find anything to have fun with. When I was a kid we used plastic swimming pools to ride the snow mountains in my neighborhood.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

The picture of the cardinals in the icy trees is beautiful. But POOR BIRDS!

We have thunder snow occasionally. I don't ever think I've seen lightning in a snow storm, though. I imagine it is beautiful.