The snow-cover over the USA is more like January’s than November’s. It is “unprecedented”, which means it is the worst in a hundred-fifty years, because we don’t have very good records from before the Weather Bureau was created.
The first map below is from before yesterday’s storm and the second is after. The main increase in snow is in northern Maine and along the Saint Lawrence River valley.
The above maps represent a hair more than half the USA being snow-covered. It absolutely smashes prior records. It isn’t only a little more snow than the prior record. It is not merely twice as much snow-cover “as ever seen before” in November. It is somewhere around three times as much snow as was seen when the prior record was set.
And remember we are talking about records, not “normal.” Also remember there have been mild Novembers when the snow-cover was only high up in the Rocky Mountains and far north in Canada. This is an amazing start to what could be a winter to tell grandchildren about, unless, like me, you already have grandchildren who will see it for themselves. It is something to jot down in your journal, and, if you don’t keep a diary, perhaps it is time to start one.
Not that it can stay this far below normal, and not that the snow-cover can’t retreat north before again advancing south. However snow-cover does create its own cold, while it lasts, and the fact this snow-cover now exists will decrease any warm-up that tries to occur, while it lasts. (I hope snow-cover and cold doesn’t last, and hope you all are annoyed at me for getting you to start diaries, which turn out to be boring.)
Joe D’Aleo was right and I was wrong, about yesterday’s storm. I couldn’t see how the cold could be eroded away, but he said the precipitation would be rain. The fact it did rain is more proof he is much wiser than I, and that the Weatherbell site his blog is on is well worth the pittance-per-day it costs, (especially when weather isn’t boring.)
However it was a near thing. Only 40 yards up a steep hill behind my house the branches went from being wet to being silvered with ice, and this situation, with light freezing rain just up the hill, persisted all day. I had to drive ten miles to the next town at one point, and the patch of freezing rain was roughly two miles across, facing east on the slopes of the “Wapac Range” of low hills. Everywhere else it was rain, with temperatures in the low 30’s, and the modern digital thermometer by the visor of my wife’s van often read 33 degrees F (+1 Celsius) which is about as close as you can get, to a winter event.
“At least we don’t have to shovel it.” I must have heard that five times during the afternoon. No one was in any hurry to go outside into the cold, dark mist, and occasional light, frigid rain. I did have to go out, to deal with my goats.
I was so certain it would snow that I hustled to finish up my goat’s winter quarters and brought them in on Sunday afternoon. I thought they would say, “Oh! Isn’t this cozy! Thank you very much!” No such luck. After being free to constantly quarrel and butt each other all summer, they found being parted very upsetting, and bleated to each other in voices that sounded close to panic, and smashed about in the stalls, and two managed to break the brand new hooks on their doors in a matter of minutes. I spent over two hours calming them down. I even used a drill to close the doors with decking screws (to be removed in the morning) to save the eye-hooks. Finally, out of a sort of desperation, I started singing to them to calm them. Darned if it didn’t work. But then I had to sing a ridiculous goat-lullaby (which I’d invented on the spot, and hope no one over-heard), for a solid 45 minutes before they stopped their final, querulous baaing and lay down.
If course, I was late to dinner, which was ring-necked pheasant, Yorkshire pudding, and green beans prepared by my middle-son. It was pretty good, and must have been delicious, back when it was warm.
Then yesterday morning I hurried to the stables, but was too late. The goats had wrecked the place. So I told them they had to go out in the cold rain. As soon as I opened the door they, who had hated being indoors so much, took one look and fled back to crowd together in a single stall. I’d had it. Out they went. My kindness only goes so far, especially when I have a Childcare to run. The goats made a bee-line to the space under the barn, where they turned and looked at me accusingly with reproachful eyes.
Humans can be worse. I had to deliver some bad news to our church’s preacher at a meeting last night. Basically the dwindling congregation isn’t thrilled by his sermons. It was one of those situations where the messenger gets shot, or else the person pointing out a problem is told that they themselves are the problem. It was the perfect ending to a dark, damp, drizzly, depressing day.
It was nice to awake to brilliant sunshine this morning, though the bitter cold has returned, riding the back of a cutting breeze. A scarf that was forgotten outside and got wet in the rain, yesterday, retained the shape it had assumed when it fell, stiff as a board, when it was picked up and brought inside this morning. I may need a jackhammer to dig the final potatoes.
I have decided I’ll just number the storms this winter. Yesterday’s was #2. It had enough sleet mixed in at the start to cover a car’s windshield nearly to the top, though it slid off when the wipers were turned on.
I recall reading of a winter in the 1600’s that had 26 storms. I figure I have only 24 to go.
(Click to clarify and enlarge.)