March 1st, 2007

Weather - Dr. George

Storm of the decade

Holy crap.

I was woken up early this morning by flashes of lightning.  The local TV stations were calling it "thundersnow".  There wasn't much new snow on the ground, maybe a half inch, but the wind was whipping it around pretty bad.  Visibility was rather poor, less than 1/4 mile.

I asked my SO to stay home this morning, but he insisted on heading to work.  He had some trouble getting out of the garage and getting turned around, but he seemed to make it down the driveway and out into the road just fine.  I unplugged all my electronics (just in case the lightning got closer) and went back to sleep.

I woke up about 10 am and discovered my SO was home.  Apparently he'd made it about 2 miles down the road before sliding off into a ditch.  He'd abandoned his car and walked all the way back.  It was just as well, from the TV news reports, all the freeways have been closed and motorists have been told they are on their own.  It was a total blizzard outside.  The snow was drifted up against the front door almost 2 feet deep and the winds were blasting snow so badly I couldn't keep the kitchen door open for more than a few seconds. 

The snow fall seems to have tapered off, but it's hard to tell because the wind is still blowing snow everywhere.  Currently the wind is 21 mph (18 knots, 34 kph) with gusts to 46 MPH (40 knots, 75 kph)!  The wind is blowing so hard it's making the house shake and I can hear it howling above the sound of the TV.  Fortunately it's fairly warm outside, 31ºF (-0.5ºC) and it looks like the sun is trying to peek through the clouds.

The wind is really making the snow drift up.  Some spots on the lawn the grass is visible, in other places the snow is over 2 feet deep.

The storm isn't over yet.  There is still a Blizzard Warning in effect until 6 pm tonight, and the forecast calls for a 40% chance of snow tomorrow.  Looks like nobody is going to work any time soon.
Cold Weather

We can almost measure the snow in fathoms

There is a 3-5 foot snow bank covering the driveway.  We're trapped here for the near future, I don't think the neighbor's John Deere is going to be able to plow us out now.  Fortunately the power is on, the propane tank is adequately full and our wireless internet connection seems stable despite the blowing snow.

I wasn't able to proceed beyond this one snow bank because it was too deep to traverse safely and because the wind is insanely powerful.  Even with a balaclava and dark goggles, it was miserable out there.

Wide view of the driveway.  The snow bank cuts right across it.

Closeup of the snow bank.  That shovel normally comes up to my shoulder.  The foot print in the middle is where I stepped into the snow up past my knee.  And this isn't even the deepest area.  I wasn't able to get a shot of the really deep part (which almost swallowed the shovel) because the wind was blowing too hard to operate the camera.

Do terrerests wear bright red ski masks?