LOCAL VIEW —Crunched and Sandblasted—

After the delightful warmth Wednesday, when we saw temperatures reach 50° (10° Celsius)  for the first time since early November, a certain amount of ominous rumbling and crashing was heard. It wasn’t thunder, but rather the huge ice dams and icicles that had developed along the edges of roofs falling off:. Crush, there goes one of my window-box flower-planters. Crash, there goes my external porch light. Crunch, there goes my grape arbor. However the worst was when I noticed the temperature wasn’t falling in the evening, according to my Christmas thermometer.

I haven’t had time to build a proper box for the external sensor, so I just placed it atop a picnic table on the roofless back deck on the north side of the house, and made sure to keep it cleared of snow. As the sun climbed higher in the sky I noticed an odd spike in temperatures at noon, and realized the sun was now able to just peek over the house at its highest and and shine on that picnic table. So I moved the sensor to the seat of a chair closer to the house.  Not a day later the chair was buried under roughly ton of ice.

At least the thermometer is still working, somewhere. However of all the mean tricks this winter has pulled on me, that takes the cake. I mean, crunching a weather geeks thermometer!  That is going a bit too far! I glowered up at the sky.

I guess I ought not have been rude to the winter like that, for the arctic air came charging back to punish me Thursday morning. The snow was only a heavy “dusting”, but not really a “coating”, but it included a fair amount of a sort of soft hail called “graupel”.

I had to hurry to spread sand before our Farm-Childcare opened, not because the snow was bad but because the thaw made a lot of puddles, and they froze in what seemed a matter of seconds. Also flowing trickles of thaw water froze. Everything froze. The soggy, slushy world of the thaw turned back to the rocks of winter, as if the warmth was all a dream. However it wasn’t satisfied with merely making me get up earlier and work harder.

The wind was howling, but I’m used to that. It hurled the snow in my face, but I’m used to that. What I’m not used to is graupel being whipped into my face.

It was very much like a vicious Arizona sandstorm, but colder.

I get the feeling this winter isn’t done with me yet. When I look at the map and see all the rain headed our way, and look at my buried thermometer and see it reads 27.7°,  (I actually have removed around a half-ton of the ice, and hope to find the sensor tomorrow),  I feel pretty sure tomorrow morning will see a world glazed with freezing rain. It would not surprise me if a skidding truck plowed through our yard and visited my living room.

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PS:  For the record, I didn’t mention we had another snow-event last Sunday. (I suppose I was too engrossed in my novel.) Also it was on the front side of a warm-up, and the snow pretty much vanished in the bright March sunshine in a matter of hours. However a forecast of flurries turned into a swift inch, and for just a moment faces were registering worry, as eyes glanced anxiously out the window and saw someone had shaken the snow-globe.


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