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.