Â Â Â Another weekend, another threat of snow.Â
Â Â Â I’d like to think that now that we’re into April, we don’t have to worry about snow any more, but that would be naive for a native North Dakotan. Around here we know that it can snow in the merry month of May. In fact, there are only a month or two of the year when it hasn’t snowed.
Â Â Â Â Â Â I’m a little nervous about this latest snow forecast because theÂ weather watchersÂ are hedging a bit on how much and where it will fall. It seems like when they really hpye the storm, we don’t get any, so I’m hoping that the opposite isn’t true this time.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Whatever happens, I’m going to make sure I get outside as much as I can this evening and tomorrow. It’s supposed to be sunny both today and Saturday, and I want to catch some rays. They aren’t warm enough toÂ tan,Â but they can sure do wonders for lifting the spirit. There’s nothing like walking down a country roadswith my children, husband and dogs to brighten my day and put life’s challenges — including ugly weather — in perspective.
Â Â Â Just when there were some bare spots in our yard and the muddy driveway had dried, we got about 6 inches of heavy, wet snow dumped on us Tuesday night.
Â Â Â Â I know that relatively speaking, we lucked out with the storm. Less than 10 miles away, the snowfall amounts were double what we got and 25 miles beyond that, they were more than triple.
Â Â Â Â Though IÂ know that we fared better than our neighbors to theÂ south,Â ourÂ snowfall still was pretty disheartening because it seemed like we had made good progress toward spring during the previous week. The warm temperatures had melted the snow off of our flowerbeds and I was looking forward to seeing crocuses and hyacinth poking through the ground soon.
Â Â Â Â Â Â With temperatures predicted to only climb into the 20s and low 30s for the next several days, there probably won’t be much melting going on. On the bright side, the skies are expected to be sunny.
Â Â Â Â Meanwhile, I know that even in North Dakota there is a limit to how much longer snow can fall.Â ByÂ my calculations it can’t be more than six weeks before the temperatures will be too warm for snow. I guess you can viewÂ that asÂ good news or bad news, depending on whether you see the glass half empty or half full.
Â Â Â For a change, I’m looking forward to the weekend’s weather.Â It seems like it’s been weeks since the Â weather on either Saturday or Sunday — or both — wasn’t cold and windy.
Â Â Â Â If the forecast pans out, temperatures will climb into the 30s — above zero — this weekend. It should be a good weekend to get out and go for a walk and do some repairs on the fence that the horses have been chewing onÂ when they’re bored.
Â Â Â The warm temperatures also should result in the melting of the ice dams on our roof. I just hope the water rolls off andÂ over the gutterÂ instead ofÂ making its way through the roof and into the house. I noticed a couple of places on our porch that were leaking last week when the temperatures warmed.
Â Â Â I’m not too worried about those spots because putting new ceiling tiles in the porchÂ seems to beÂ an annual rite at our house. I’m more concerned about the upstairs ceilings. So far, so good, this winter. Maybe if these dams melt without causing damage, we can keep on top of snow removal from the roof so more ice dams won’t form.
Â Â Â Â I’m not going to get my hopes up that the warm-up signals the end of winter, but I figure every day is one day closer to spring, and eventually the warm weather will be here to stay. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy a taste of what’s to come.
Â Â Â Early this morning I thought maybe the weather forecasters were wrong about their prediction for snow today. I couldn’t see stars in the pre-dawn sky when I went outside to feed the horses, but no snow was falling, either.
Â Â Â Â However, by the time I headed into Larimore, N.D., to drop my childen off at school, things had changed. There were enough snowflakes hitting the windshield to make it necessary to use the wipers, and by the time I left town, the snow was falling fast and furious. Visibility was fairly limited, especially when I was enveloped in a cloud of white left behind from passing vehicles. It wasn’t bad enough to be white-knuckled driving, but I was pretty relieved when I pulled into the Herald parking lot.
Â Â Â Â Â On the positive side, the big fluffy flakes that are piling up are pretty and look like they’ll be easy to shovel.Â This rare day without wind (so far) is a reminder of how lovely snow can look, and winter can be, when the flakeÂ fall straight down from the sky.
Â Â Â Â Â For me, a Â day like today with gusty winds, blowing snow and sub-zero temperaturesÂ represents winter at its worst. Any of the three would be bad enough on their own, but when combined they pose a triple threat to my physical and mental health.Â After walking a few blocks to pick up some lunch during the noon hour, I felt like a wind-whipped ice cube, and it took me a good hour to warm up. Someone commented to me shortly after I returned about the “awful weather,” and I agreed with her. I wanted to add that what makes it even worse is that it’s only early January and a long way to spring, but I didn’t want to add insult to injury.
Â Â Â My inclination is to go home after work and stay inside until I have to come back here on Monday morning. However, with animals to feed, children to ferry about, church to attend on Sunday and several other obligations to meet this weekend,Â that’s not going to happen. Instead, I’ll don several layers of clothes and face the elements as best, and as cheerfully,Â as I can.
Â Â Â Â My first challenge will be to get home safely. There’s a winter weather advisory posted because the snow and blowing is reducing visibility. My drive home yesterday was pretty challenging, not onlyÂ because of those conditions, but because it also was dark,Â so I’m going to try to leave today before the sun sets. On that bright note, I’ll sign off and wish everyone a good, warm weekend.
Â Â Â As the day wears on, the chances of getting hit by not one, but two winter storms appears more likely. I can’t say I’m looking forward toÂ them.
Â Â Â While I enjoyÂ being comfy and cozy inside while theÂ wind is blowing and the snow is falling outside, I don’t like theÂ aftermath of the storms. More snow means sidwalks to shovel, driveways to clear and roofs to rake.Â
Â Â Â Â ButÂ the storm will comeÂ (or not) no matter what my feelings are on the subject andÂ my family and I will get prepared for itÂ by making sure we have plenty of milk, bread and the fixings for some crock pot meals on hand.
Â Â Given my tendency to eat during storms, I guess it’s a good thing that there will beÂ physical work involved in digging out.Â Still, I wouldn’t mind if the storms veered off another direction and I could get my exercise by walking down snow-free country roads.
Â Â For now, though, Â I’ll try to enjoy today’s nice weather and not fret about what tomorrow might bring.
Â Â Â The forecast for this week, which includes the potential for another storm, is pretty disheartening. Though we had a long, beautiful fall, I’m not mentally ready to face winter. The prospect of dealing with snowy roads and poor visibility for the next five months is pretty depressing.
Â Â Â Â I was starting to feel pretty down for awhile today about the forecast and the possibility that our Thanksgiving table may have five guests instead of more than four times that many. Then I reminded myself that sometimes the forecasters get it wrong, and even if they don’t,Â a stormy week does not necessarily mean that the entire winter will be that way.
Â Â Â So instead of counting down the days until April, I decided to take itÂ a day at a time and deal with the weather as it comes. As one of my favorite lines from an episode of the children’s video “Little Bear,” says “Whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot, we’ll whether the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.”
Â Â Now, I’m off to whether the weather and the roads. I hope that the snow has been drifting across the gravel roads and hasn’t stuck to them or I may be plowing a path with my car. At least by the time I get to the gravel, I’m within a half dozen miles of home and can call my husband to pull me out with the pickup if I get stuck.
During a winter like this, one of my favorite sights and sounds is the roar of the snowplow, followed by a whoosh of snow spraying onto the sides of the road. This morning I had hoped the snowplow would beat me over the roads, but when I got to the end of our grove of trees, I saw that hadn’t happened. I was greeted by some pretty good-sized drifts caused by the snow sifting over the road all day yesterday and throughout last night.
The drifts looked they were fairly soft and they weren’t too wide, so I decided to forge ahead and try to make it to the highway which I was pretty certain would be plowed. I knew from experience that I would have to strike a balance between driving fast enough so that I wouldn’t get stuck and going too fast and bouncing so hard I damaged the van.
I made it through the east-west road without too much trouble and figured I had it made on the final few miles to the highway on the north-south road. (The east-west roads are usually the worst when the wind blows from the north as it had yesterday and continued to do today.)
As it turned out, though, one of the worst drifts of my 6.5 mile trip on the gravel was on the north-south road. I was tooling along the north-south road when a 3-foot high, twice-that-wide drift appeared in front of me. I didn’t have time to stop and turn around, so I speeded up, gripped the steering wheel tight and plowed through. The van slowed and the tires spun a little when I hit the middle, but, thankfully, it kept on going and I made it through andit to the highway. From there the drive to Grand Forks was a breeze.
I hope the plow comes before I head home. Between the snow covering the road so I can’t see it and the drifts blocking it, I’ve had enough driving adventures for one winter.
Another weekend, another snowstorm. Although we didn’t get as much snow as predicted, plenty fell Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We shovel our sidewalk every day, so I’m not sure how much fell during those three days, but I do know that when I went to my mom’s house over the weekend (she lives a couple of miles down the road from us) to shovel her sidewalks there was a good 6 inches on them. I had shoveled them a week or so ago so that amount had fallen fairly recently.
The new snow, combined with what already fell, is piling up in our yard. I have to heave the snow pretty high when I’m shoveling the walk or it hits the sides of the canyon we’ve created and falls back onto the sidewalk. The snow in the fields is deep, too, and I noticed the other day there isn’t much of the the unharvested corn peeking out over the top of the snow in one of the fields near our house.
It’s already shaping up to be a challenging spring. I just hope that the snowmelt is slow or there is going to be lots of water to deal with.
Our weather during the past month seems to be following a pattern; a three-day storm followed by several days of cold weather. The most recent storm, like the one at Christmas, dumped quite a bit of snow at our house and the wind piled it into drifts. Our farmyard has a lot of mini hills that our children are having fun climbing on and building tunnels in.
I can deal with the snow better than the cold. The older I get, the more the subzero weather bothers me. Once I get chilled, I have a hard time warming up. It’s not so bad when I’m at home and can dress warmly and wear several layers that include insulated coveralls. Sometimes if I’m expending a lot of energy, such as when I’m shoveling snow or loading or unloading hay bales, I actually get too warm and have to shed a layer. It’s when I go to work that I freeze. Dress slacks just aren’t made for below zero weather and windy conditions and my coat isn’t nearly as warm without a pair of coveralls underneath it.
I can’t complain too much, though, because once I get to work I’m in a warm building and protected from the elements. I know some other people work at jobs that require them to be outside all day. I know from experience that even if you dress warm, eventually the cold catches up with you.
Here’s hoping that the storm followed by cold pattern doesn’t go in threes. I’ve had enough winter for one winter.