Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunny Skies

I've just discovered the blog meme 'Sunlit Sunday', hosted at 'My Little Home and Garden' just for the three winter months.  Sounds like a good idea to me.  As a photographer I understand how precious those cold, snowy but clear sunny blue-sky days can be during the winter months; they never seem to come often enough.  So here are a few sunny day pictures, most taken on Friday when the temperature was frigid, but the sun was bright.

A bit of Lower Wodehouse Creek

Meantime, it's an old-fashioned winter here, with piles of snow around the streets in town 3 or 4 feet high, and 15 feet high in the corners of the small parking lots.  We got a fresh 4-6" last night, and I spent 2 hours blowing and shovelling snow today.

A farm field to the west of us; snowshoe tracks along the woodland edge.

Those frigid arctic temperatures don't generally bring much snow, and true to form, the 3 days of -20°C or lower this week brought no new snow.  But now it's warmed up (to about -10°)and tonight one of those 'Colorado lows' arrives; we're forecast to get another 6-10".  It started snowing about 3 p.m. and is still coming down steadily.

An elm tree still sparkling from the ice storm.

There are both a 'Snowfall Warning' and a 'Snow Squall' warning on the Weather Network.  Heavy snow tonight from the low pressure system (relatively warmer air from the southwest), to be followed by more arctic blasts from the northwest, bringing those lake effect bands of even more snow tomorrow.  And there's a predicted 'Wind Chill Warning' for tomorrow too.

More ice storm sparkles.

If you've never been in a real snow squall, you probably won't know what it's like.  Because these blow in bands across the landscape, visibility can suddenly drop to zero, and you're simply lost in a white world, unable to tell even where the road is, but too worried about vehicles behind you to slow down and stop, unable to see where you can pull off the road safely.  So snow squall warnings are something we pay attention to!  Simple heavy snowfalls are no real problem and 'snow days' are common.  I think someone said we had 20 such days with schools closed last year.

 The sun shining through the woods.

Today both the 'Snowfall Warning' and the 'Snow Squall Warning' use the term 'life-threatening' because of the forecast severe windchill of the arctic blast tomorrow.  I can't recall reading that term in weather warnings here ever before.  If you got stuck in the snow on a road that was closed, you might be in severe trouble.  Some roads around here have standard signs warning of winter road closures, mainly because of the severe westerly winds that usually accompany the 'lake effect' snow squalls.

One of many roadside sugar maples.

In any case, I'm looking forward to the 'more snow' part of it (if not the snow squalls and wind chill).  I was out cross-country skiing today and the woods was a wonderland of snow and trees, piles of it.  Conditions for skiing were excellent.  After another big snowfall they can only get better; it's turning out to be a 'good winter' for those of us who like it!

A few of the valley from the 16th Sideroad.  

You can see here how the snowplows take advantage of days without new snow to push back the upper half of the snow ridge along the road, to make room for more snow in the next storm.  They came around and did this earlier this week once the ridge got 3-4 feet high.  After tonight's storm, they'll be glad they did!

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  1. Oh my, these are lovely - just lovely! I especially like the second and third photos.

  2. Hello, Furry Gnome

    I'm glad you've found your way to Sunlit Sunday. You've shown the gorgeous kind of winter day that is crisp, snowy, and with brilliant blue skies. There isn't any ice on the branches in my area any longer, but the elm in your photo sparkles in the same way the trees did here.

    Thanks for joining in this week. I hope you enjoy the other submissions.


  3. It is interesting how really cold days are usually very bright. I remember being always puzzled as a child reading (in books written by people living in much milder climate) things like "it was a very cold day, snow was falling heavily". Saskatchewan, which has the coldest winters in Canada, also has the sunniest ones.

  4. Hello from another Canadian. Glad you joined in Sunlit Sunday. Love your photos.

  5. Friday was a beautiful blue-sky day here too. Yep, today we apparently have three warnings here: 1. snow squall, 2. flash freeze and wind chill. I just spotted a tiny bit of blue sky outside my window and so my trigger (camera) finger is getting itchy. ;))

  6. We aren't quite as cold as you, but it's bad enough. Hubs had to go out. He said zero visibility on expressway in places.

  7. Love these beautiful photos and the last one is just gorgeous. I love the long shot of the trees, road and snowbank. The weather here in New Brunswick today is, well, nasty, I guess. It's +2 at the moment (noonish) and is supposed to rise to +10 this afternoon with rain. We'll see. No matter what, it will make driving and walking treacherous when it freezes over tonight.

  8. We had some really beautiful clear weather this least on Friday and Saturday.

  9. I love when the sun finally comes out after snowing. It is so pretty.
    We have another snowy day with the temperatures dropping throughout the day.

  10. looks like a perfect day for snow shoeing!!! beautiful photos:-)

  11. Beautiful skies and wintry scenes. Lovely photos.