It seems nearly every Sunday this winter it has snowed. I forgot to mention the snow last Sunday, (March 8), as I was too engrossed in my novel and in church matters, but as we looked out the windows of the church it was as if someone had shaken the snow globe, and the air was full of thick, fat flakes. The day grew dark and purple, and swiftly we had a “coating”, which is something more than a “dusting” but less than an inch. Because I am a true weather geek I had the urge to rush outside to measure the depth, but I felt I should be paying attention to the sermon. By the time church let out the sun had burst free of the clouds, and already the brilliant March sunshine was melting the snow on the streets. I heard the roads were “greasy” briefly, as it snowed heavily, but leaving church the sun made them merely wet.
I’ll have remember to note that down in my list of “snow events” for this winter. It occurred as the warm air fought to come up into New England, prior to out midweek taste of the magic temperature fifty degrees, (10° Celsius), which was promptly counterattacked by roaring cold. Winter has put a lot of work into its snowscape across New England, and is not going to allow some interloper to walk in and melt it all without a fight.
The counterattacks are interesting, for they don’t look possible, if you glance at the map. All winter the next arctic blast has come down east of the Canadian Rockies, bulging south over the vast flat taiga and prairies west of Hudson Bay, but now when you look northwest that pipeline seems brimming with Chinook mildness. However that is no longer “upstream.” Now our pipeline of cold is from due north, and even the northeast.
If you look at the map below, (click it to enlarge and clarify it, or open it to a new tab), it sure looks like a warm flow is pushing mild air right up to a warm front over Hudson Bay, and we shouldn’t worry about cold, but the high pressure up over Labrador holds very cold air, and the weak low passing over New England is already sucking some of that cold down. As I headed off to church this morning the drizzle was turning to “snizzle”, which wasn’t sticking to anything, but made me shake my head. My aching joints were telling me the storm was intensifying, and the change to frozen precipitation told me some uplift was occurring. When I glanced up I could see the clouds had already shifted around and were coming from the north, though the isobars on the map told me the winds should be southeast, or perhaps calm.
By the time I left church the snizzle had turned to wet snow. It wasn’t sticking, but radar showed the precipitation wasn’t coming down from the north as much as it was blooming right over us. I had the hope the mess would move out to sea, before it exploded into too big a storm, but didn’t lower my guard.
In fact it did move out to sea, for the most part, but not without the winds picking up until they were roaring in the hilltops, and we had roughly a half inch of glop, which froze, and then a half inch of powder, which blew about as if it was January, as dark decended. Again winter is not going to give up without a fight.
The map still shows warm air to our northwest, and a southwest flow to our northwest, but it is interesting how it has such a hard time getting all the way east to we New Englanders who crave it most, after the “worst winter ever”.
Over at their Weatherbell site the excellent long-range forecasters Joe Bastardi and Joseph D’Aleo are suggesting we are not only going to keep seeing these counterattacks from the northeast, but a core of cold is going to bulge down over us and gradually expand west. Winter will make a comeback until around tax time. Around April 15 the core of cold will be so far west we may see ourselves on the east side of the storm track. Although the pattern is basically the same, it will have shifted far enough west so we slip from the influence of a trough to the north, with storminess and cold winds, to the influence of the Bermuda high. This could be a difference like the difference between night and day, and though the pattern is basically the same, it is called a “pattern snap,” because we abruptly shift from March-like weather to May-like weather. It is a long wait, but worth waiting for. Perseverance is a virtue.
Something which I suppose is funny happened to me, due to something I said at church last fall, which was taken utterly wrong. I was trying to “exhort” my brothers and sisters to “persevere”, using the approach of a football coach who says, “What are you, mice or men?” and sees the team yell “We’re men!” and go charging out onto the field to prove it. The humor is in a situation when the entire team feels they have been accused of being mice, and becomes so hurt they pout and drag back onto the field in a totally depressed manner.
People were sad because the membership of the church was dwindling. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but it was along the lines of “even if this church is a sinking ship, we should persevere like captains going down with the ship, and avoid being like rats deserting the ship.” I thought it was rather witty, and a superbly crafted mixed-metaphor.
Then I found out a really kind and spiritual woman had heard about my statement. She had left the church to escape sadness and find gladness in solitude and retreat, which I think are good reasons, but now she felt I was calling her a rat.
My initial reaction is to sputter, “Oh don’t be such a hypersensitive numskull!” However, as a writer, I’ve seen my writing bomb-out enough to know my words don’t always communicate what I intend. Anyway, 1 John Chapter 1 verse 10 states, “If we say we have no sin, we call Jesus Christ a liar”, so I’d figure I better confess I blew it. Not that I much like the word “sin”. I prefer nice Unitarian words like “shortcoming”, or my favorite, “foible.” However it really is a sin to hurt the feeling of a gentle person, so I’d better go tell her I don’t think she is a rat.
We are a sort of comical bunch of Christians, and I don’t wonder over the fact few want to be members of such a bunch. However, perseverance is a virtue, and winter won’t last forever.