28 January 2016

Jonas' Threats

It seems that just about everyone not in a coma heard about winter storm Jonas, both the threat and the reality. The National Weather Service was very accurate with their prognostication for Floyd County and should be commended. The news media, however, seemed to fear this was going to become the gateway to the next Ice Age. The truth: 12-14 inches, mostly falling on Friday, dead calm so almost no drifting, and dry enough that it did not adhere to conifers (thus no downed power lines).

The day before the storm was a beautiful day, cloudless until about 3:00 p.m., dead still, and about 50F. In the afternoon, thick cirrus clouds appeared without notice, the humidity soared and you could feel a major change was in the air. This was an ideal day to make last minute preparations, including: bringing firewood up to the porch, drawing 10 gallons of water in case the power went out, checking the tractors see they had full tanks of diesel and were covered, double checking the backup supplies for the felines and canines, loading the cameras with film/charging batteries in digital cameras, etc. Robust human foods were also laid in so large quantities of beans, meat, etc., were available, with an eye to foodstuffs that could be cooked in the fireplace if required.

 Snowfall began about 4:30 a.m. Friday and continued until Saturday mid-morning without ceasing. It was a very heavy snowfall, the sky was dark all day, but despite the length and density of snow, there was not as much accumulation as you would expect. The snow had an unusual texture, nearly crystalline, like Graupel or Snow Pellets and stayed in that form during the entire event. There were some on-and-off waves of snow on Saturday afternoon but they did little to add to the depth on the ground. By Sunday, the skies were a beautiful blue once more.

the car on Saturday morning

The birds were desperate for food and feeders remained buzzing with birds all through the weather event. They were consuming more than seven pounds a day! Blue jays, cardinals, juncos, doves, a pair of starlings (!), and numerous small birds.

The worst of the snowfall passed by about noon on Saturday but the sky failed to brighten one tiny iota. It was literally dark all day. Then the winds came up from the west, swinging to the north. Sounds terrible, eh? So your humble author suited up and with two cameras, one film, one digital, in deep protective pockets, trudged off to seek interesting compositions.

Mr. Fuzzy cooked up a storm during the storm, it just seemed like the thing to do. Not the most elaborate but favorite meal was buttermilk, cornbread with sorghum and a pot full of mixed beans and pig knuckles. Oh, and a dark Scottish beer for desert.

Sunday was largely cloudless and beautiful, the storm had passed. Here are two views of that sunset, one looking east and one west. All in all, this snow was less than a number of events in the winters of 2008-09 and 2009-10, and unlike those storms, this has been followed by warm days. At this point, most of the snow has melted away and the forecast for Monday is 59F. This was a perfect storm, beautiful, and then gone!

Turkeys looking for food just below the house

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