Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Cold Spell

It takes only a couple days straight of below freezing temperatures for me to stop complaining about a too-warm, tropical-like December. That sounds lovely now.

After a balmy start to the New Year, this week brings cold, cold, cold. It all started Saturday night with a storm that brought snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain, ice, slush, fog. The forecast for Sunday was to warm into the mid-40s by the afternoon. Maybe it would melt. I hedged my bets though and slogged in the morning to clear the driveway of wet, heavy snow. A good thing as the thermometer never got above 34 F. I note now, a few days later, that folks who did not clear the two inches of slush/ice/snow are stuck with an icy driveway for a week.

One benefit from the storm is that birds are flocking to the feeders in big numbers. With the lingering gray sky and muted sun, it is nice to see the bird life: 50+ mixed group of goldfinches and pine siskins, a foursome of bluebirds, juncos, hairy and downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, purple finch and house finch pairs side by side, mourning doves. But where are the chickadees? They seem strangely absent. And the chipmunks have certainly, finally, gone dormant until the next warm-up.

Storm precipitation and temperature fluctuations left behind a pie-like snow cover: an icy sheet on the bottom, a shallow filling of soft snow, and a crunchy topping. But much less satisfying than a tasty pie. Kodi, Henna, and I managed a decent walk in the woods this morning. There is just enough crunchy topping to get a grip and avoid skids and cuts. However, watch the sidewalks, some are still treacherous with a veneer of sheer ice.

The low point temperature-wise will be Wednesday night/Thursday morning: below zero prediction. And windy. 

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