We've now reached about the most extreme winter conditions we ever get. This is the heart of the winter season. After surviving the heavy snowfall and snow squall warnings, we now have wind chill and blizzard warnings. All the schools in Grey County are closed; all the roads are officially closed. They've pulled the snowplows off the roads because of the poor visibility. It's not safe to plow, let alone drive.
This is the typical visibility today looking out our driveway. I did get out with the dog twice, but they were short walks, only 15 minutes - and I learned what 'wind chill' is really all about. It was -24°C, feeling like -35 with the wind chill, and when I took a glove off to try a picture with my cell phone my hand was quickly frozen. The cold wasn't so bad (with all the layers I had on), but that wind was bone-chilling.
This is the visibility out to the main road out back. This level of poor visibility isn't really the problem though. When a snow plow goes by with a wind like this blowing, it raises the snow in the air, and the wind swirls it around the plow in a dangerous white-out. Then there's no visibility
for driving. It isn't snowing in these pictures; it's just snow being blown around in the air.
And with the wind come drifts. Not just a gentle snowfall accumulating, but snow piled in places where it usually isn't, like on our deck. You can see the feeder hanging there, but there were no birds today!
Winter in North America is a battle between 2 (or sometimes 3) air masses. Warm moist air comes north from the Gulf of Mexico or thereabouts, and cold air comes down out of the Canadian arctic. They meet somewhere around the northern states, the Great Lakes, or Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. At the moment the arctic air mass is winning, plunging not only us but much of the U.S. into very cold temperatures.
And why do we have such strong winds and severe wind chill? Because there's a big difference in pressure between the two air masses that brought warmer air to the NE states over the weekend, and the arctic air following it. The atmosphere always tries to even out the pressure differences.
The snow is piled at least 16" deep on the railing here, and that's just since yesterday, as I cleared the deck on Sunday (to be ready for the new snow!). Meetings were cancelled. It was a good day to stay inside and read or write, which is just what I did.
In spite of all this, there are signs of life. Walking the dog I got back with it still light out. I thought it was getting close to 5 p.m. - it was 5.30! Longer days are here already.
Though I'm tired of hearing that 'climate change isn't happening after all'. NOAA scientists suggest that it's actually the warming of the arctic overall that leads to the weakening of the normal winter polar vortex over the pole, enabling it to break apart and come visiting us! (See the links from Fred's interesting post on frost quakes at 'Fragments from Floyd
oh my!! that is an awful lot of snow! We had a wicked blizzard last week but it was rather warm on Monday. Tuesday we are back to the negative temps with dreadful wind chills. all of our snow melted though....ReplyDelete
You sure got a lot of drifting there. Our rain yesterday melted down the snow considerably and then it froze. The wind has been awful all day here but the snow is frozen so can't blow. Thank goodness! Schools were closed due to icy roads and driveways. I hope this polar vortex creeps back north soon. It's just too cold!ReplyDelete
Same up our way; it has finally stopped with our driveway being plowed now to make ready to see what the morning brings.ReplyDelete
These pictures are beautiful as usual. Thank you for the info.ReplyDelete
I am going to try to get out today. Have to do some work. We shall see. Stay warm.ReplyDelete
that's some very extreme weather your having. nothing to do but stay home and do inside projects. i don't listen to the weather people, they irritate me. if i want to know whats going on, i go outside and look up ;)ReplyDelete
Oh my, and I though "WE" had snow! My goodness, you've really gotten hammered. I really enjoy seeing your snowy photos.ReplyDelete
I, indeed, notice in the news how bitterly cold it is in the East. Not being able to see the snow properly is a double whammy I suppose. I think the term “global warming” confuses some when they see the chill and the point gets missed that it is all about the changing weather patterns becoming extremely extreme!ReplyDelete
The greatest global warming of all time was the loss of the ice age. I am glad that happened. Your blizzard does remind me of our blizzards here in Iowa. I have seem many of them in my life both in southern Iowa and now here in north central Iowa. It isn't a beautiful sight anymore as we continue to be very cold.ReplyDelete
You nailed it: battling air masses and drifting snow!ReplyDelete
We escaped most of the worst down here. happily.
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!
Oh wow, you've topped all our winter stories. : ) I've never been in weather that bad before!!ReplyDelete
I agree with Penelope. The term global warming needs to be discarded; we are seeing climate change and warming is only part of it. Hope everyone has stocked up on emergency gear.ReplyDelete
I feel really bad for the people who have to work regardless. I can tell you, it's not fun being at work when the weather is undrivable and having to stay there until the weather has passed and the roads are open again.ReplyDelete
-24 ia really cold ! And getting out the cell phone to take a picture, a true blogger. But the shots of blizzard conditions are great.!ReplyDelete