The snow is supposed to continue until at least midnight and the wind has started to pick up. I am about to go out for shoveling session seven. We are all hoping that we don’t get heavy winds. Big snowstorm is preferable to blizzard.
Today, here in the Binghamton (NY) area, we are experiencing a nor’easter, which is a storm that comes up the Atlantic coast and whose rotation results in winds from the northeast. This is the strongest we have had in many years, perhaps because it was strengthened by a second low pressure system coming from the west.
The tricky thing about forecasting nor’easters is that the exact track of the storm makes a huge difference in the snowfall amount. The prediction had been that we were going to get one to three inches starting about midnight, with an additional eight to ten during the day.
I set my alarm to get up in the pre-dawn darkness – insert grumbling about Daylight Saving Time here – to shovel the driveway to get to an morning appointment. I looked out the front door to find not one to three inches, but a foot (about a third of a meter) already on the ground with heavy snow continuing, sometimes at a rate of two to three inches an hour.
Apparently, the storm had tracked further west than anticipated – and then stalled. Fortunately, the cold from the day before was holding, though, so while we are getting A LOT of snow, it is light and fluffy, not the heavy, wet snow that mixes with sleet and freezing rain and causes power outages.
Still, it is daunting to shovel so much of it…
I worked for an hour and didn’t even have one lane of the driveway clear when I cam in to rest.
The appointment with E’s obstetrician’s office was cancelled because the office was closed, along with just about everything else in the county. The governor instituted a travel ban and is calling out the National Guard to help in the storm cleanup. We may get as much as thirty inches of snow , which I can believe, given that we have almost two feet on the ground as I write this in mid-afternoon.
(Just in case you had forgotten about E’s pregnancy – I had forgotten myself that I had written about it – you can read some of the backstory here.)
I’ve spent the day alternating shoveling time with rest and recovery time. I am very grateful that, during shoveling round four, our next-door neighbors came to help with their snowblower. Ordinarily, B uses our big Ariens snowblower that my dad gave us when he no longer needed it to clear snow for us and the neighbors, but B is away on business, the Ariens is currently in need of repair, and I am not strong enough to use it. They were able to clear the second pass of snowplow pile blocking the end of the driveway and make an initial path to the front stairs and mailbox, although there isn’t going to be any mail delivery today. Sometimes, the “neither rain, nor snow, nor dark of night” bit doesn’t hold.
I need to get out there for round six now. I am trying to keep the driveway and path clear enough that we could get out in case of emergency. It is getting harder because the snow banks are getting higher than my head, so it is hard to throw the snow over them. I have left myself a little extra space for the driveway, in case of bank mini-avalanche, but I am dreading when the snow slides off the metal garage roof and lands in a giant pile in the driveway. Maybe it will wait until tomorrow, or Thursday, or even better, Friday, when B will return home.
A lot of places in the US are under a coat of white from snow.
Not exactly a surprise in January, except that, while there is snow in places one expects, like Colorado, the Dakotas, and Vermont, but also in some places where it is more unusual, such as Alabama and the Carolinas. Seattle, Washington has also recently had snow.
Weirdly, we don’t have much here in the Binghamton, New York area. While some parts of the state have had massive lake effect snows, the wind pattern is preventing them from reaching us here. The storm systems are coming up the coast and we are too far inland to get major amounts of snow from them.
Also weirdly, the cold and snow dipping into the Southern US are caused by the warming of the Arctic region. This pushes the polar vortex south.
This weekend, we are having some of our coldest temperatures of the winter. I am pulling out the heavy coats.
Śnieżyca jaka mnie dopadła / Storm which caught me
Dziś po południu musiałem sprawdzić czy jest coś śniegu po wyżej 1000m i co się okazało, oczywiście że jest a w dodatku zaatakował mnie śnieg i to tak intensywnie. Wszystkie ujęcia wykonane moim LG G4.
This afternoon I had to see if there is something on the snow above 1000m and as it turned out, of course it is and in addition attacked me and the snow is so hard. All shots made my LG G4.
This morning, I am thinking about all those facing severe weather. There is a blizzard approaching the mid-Atlantic region of the US. Seventy-five million people will be affected, including my sisters and their families and B’s brother and his family. The forecast calls for a large swath of 2-3 feet (0.75-0.95 meters) of snow coupled with strong winds.
I live further north where we will only catch a few inches, if anything at all.
I am also thinking of others in the United States and around the world who are suffering from floods, droughts, tornadoes, cyclones, mudslides, avalanches, dust storms, and all other weather disasters.
In the Northeast US where I live, people often say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This year, March certainly did begin with cold weather. Later in the month, we did get enough time above freezing that we had thawing so that we could see grass in sunny patches where the snow was not shoveled/plowed/piled up.
Today is March 31st and it is snowing and sticking to the grassy areas and accumulating, so March is not going out like a lamb. I am proposing that it is going out like a llama – still soft to the touch, but with a bit of spit and kick to it.
As some of you know, this fall has been rough, as we deal with myriad health issues with one of the family elders. (In truth, the fall had a bit of a rough run-up as we dealt with both of my parents having their own medical issues, but things are going much better with them now.)
I have been doing much to-ing and fro-ing and have needed to grab little snatches of consolation, comfort, and beauty as I can find them. I was grateful for the unusually vibrant fall foliage this year, beginning early with the first peaks of gold among the green of the hillsides and ending with our neighbors vivid red Japanese maple.
Even after all the leaves had fallen, I continued to marvel at the white chrysanthemum on our front porch. I had originally bought the plant from the grocery store to clip some blossoms to fill in for some wilted flowers in a Christmas centerpiece almost three years ago. I had managed to keep it alive indoors and it offered a blossom here and there, but this spring, I asked my husband to re-pot it and put it outdoors. To my surprise, it flourished and offered hardy white blossoms that withstood several hard frosts until the snows came.
With the cold weather, we started to put out birdseed and suet in our feeders and I delight in catching glimpses of chickadees, jays, finches, woodpeckers, juncos, tufted titmouse, cardinals, and nuthatches enjoying the food.
The best gift of the fall was the visit of both of our daughters and our son-in-law for Thanksgiving. I am still holding in my mind the picture of us around the Thanksgiving table with the three grandparents. We were too busy eating and enjoying each others’ company for photo ops, but here is a photo our older daughter took of her spouse and sister tending to the birdfeeders in the snow. Larry, who grew up in London, was relishing in the eight inches of snow we received. Now living in Hawai’i, he was not used to that much snow at once!
Still, despite my best efforts, I have recently had a bit of a crash. Last Friday, I spent hours working on a letter that I plan to send in lieu of holiday cards this year. I needed to recap the year and finally cried over a lot of the difficulties that I had been powering through because I had to keep going for those who were depending on me.
I thought I had gotten the melancholy out of my system until I was sitting next to my parents in church Sunday morning. The handbell choir and adult choir were both participating, which was emotional for reasons I wrote about here. The First Sunday of Advent, I had been in church with my daughters and son-in-law all singing beside me. On this Second Sunday, the handbell choir was processing and the choir and assembly were singing “Christ, Circle Round Us”, a setting of the “O” antiphons by Dan Schutte, and my daughters weren’t there to join in. I started crying and barely sang the hymn, even though I love it. I had my face turned away from my mom, hoping she wouldn’t see my tears. I found out later, she was also emotional, thinking back to all the years she had heard her granddaughters singing and ringing in church.
Like the autumn leaves, sometimes tears need to fall, too.
Some areas are still receiving additional snowfall. The forecast predicts a warm front with some rain arriving over the weekend. This has only heightened worries of more roof collapses as the rain adds weight to the feet of accumulated snow. People are trying to clean snow off roofs as quickly as possible, but the area is quite densely populated and many roads are still inaccessible for help and equipment to arrive.
The other very real threat is flooding. With temperatures predicted to climb to 60 degrees F. (15 degrees C.), the snow will melt rapidly and street and small stream flooding is most likely unavoidable.
All brought to you by global warming. Remember, even though this is a cold weather event, it was started by a tropical typhoon.
A Pacific tropical typhoon is so strong that it reaches the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and disrupts the jet stream, allowing polar air to sink over much of the continental United States. When the frigid air passes over the relatively warm water of the Great Lakes, it picks up a lot of moisture and dumps it over land as snow. Some towns in western New York south of Buffalo have already received 5+ feet of snow, with an additional 2-3 feet on the way. (That’s 1.5 meters or more on the ground with another meter to come.)
A similar occurrence could have happened in the past, some time before recorded history in the region. It isn’t possible to say that any particular weather event is directly caused by global warming, However, the incidence of these extreme kinds of weather is rising quickly along with average global temperature.
It’s time for everyone to get serious about phasing out fossil fuels as quickly as possible and ramping up renewable energy in conjunction with energy efficiency. If we see this much change with less than one degree Celsius global temperature rise, we will have to brace ourselves for more as we attempt to keep the total rise under two degrees Celsius.