LOCAL VIEW —Real Winter—

It was still above freezing just before sunrise yesterday, but all day the temperatures fell. It was down to 30° at sunsrise, and at 3:00 in the afternoon was down to 19°.  By 8:00 PM it was down to 9°. (-13° Celsius). All day the wind roared, and low, shredded cumulus blew over all the way from the Great Lakes, swirling flurries of snow so dry that it seemed to just blow about and then sublimate back into the air without ever accumulating. Only in a few nooks and crannies could it drift enough to be seen, white against the steely blue of the frozen slush.

For a time a streamer of snow could be seen stretching towards us on radar from Lake Ontario, and even though most of the moisture was wrung out crossing the mountains of New York and Vermont, and it never was thick enough to show on radar, all day we saw flakes, mostly heading sideways.

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It made me wonder how much colder the air would have been if it didn’t cross the lake, and also how misleading the temperature statistics for the day would be, showing a high of 38°.

I didn’t start a fire out in the pasture at the Childcare, because in that kind of wind it causes more misery than pleasure, swirling smoke into eyes and with most of its heat blow away before it can warm much. Therefore I expected the children to quickly start whining they wanted to go in. To my surprise they were so keen on catching up on their sledding, which they’d gone without for over two weeks, that there was more or less a mad stampeed for the slopes, and then they were so busy running up and sledding down the hill they didn’t seem to notice the cold.

Today dawned gray, as a pocket of moisture on the backside of the cold high pressure headed towards us well ahead of the weak storm it was associated with.

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The temperature bottomed out at 4.8° last night before the cloud cover moved in, and today has climbed all the way up to 12.0°.  Then, as the light snow began, it dropped back to 10.9°. (I got a new fangled thermometer for Christmas, and now don’t need to go outside to see how cold it is.)

I never trust these weak impulses, as you never know what they will do when they hit the warm Atlantic. Even when they don’t explode and kickback snow from the ocean, they often become gales and bring roaring wind from the north as they head out to sea, and right now the coldest air is just to the north of Maine.  It can stay up there, and slide away to the east, and I won’t be bothered a bit.

Winter is for real now, and I don’t need any embellishments. You  can keep your deep snows and record-setting cold. I’m busy enough just feeding three fires, and a daughter who’s got the ‘flu.


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