Low Snow


Low Snow So Far

Contrary to the media feeding frenzy it has not been a particularly hard winter nor have we gotten a lot of snow as was ominously predicted by certain almanacs.

Getting a blast of arctic air is normal during the winter and we have certainly not gotten even close to the coldest we’ve ever had in the >25 years I’ve been recording temperatures here on Sugar Mountain. Note that down in the valleys it may get even colder since cold air settles into pockets. I’ve carefully laid our farm out to take advantage of this cold drain effect so we don’t over chill in gardens or animal winter paddocks.

For comparison, very often, perhaps normally, we get snow up the side of this building to the roof of the porch and it has even reached the 4′ higher attic roof. Typically we have a lot more cold days and nights. In the north country it is typical to have porches or sheds on the sides of buildings in part to act as an air lock and also to give a way of getting out when the snows get deep so the bank is not pushing against the door.

Mind you I’m not complaining about the warm winter. I do not mind the shallow snows as they’re much easier to work in. Although I do want enough snow pack to refill the mountain springs for summer. I’ve seen a couple of years back in the 1970’s and 1980’s where we had less snow and I’ve seen years when the porch and kitchen were both completely buried in snow. There were years when the cold came in through the walls for weeks on end in the farm house, showing where every nail and post was in the wall since they conduct better than insulation. There were warm winters like the last few. This year is middling.

Last summer’s hurricane season was quiet, against the alarmists predictions, and this winter is cooler than recent but not as cold as a little back of that so it means nothing, neither for alarmists nor deniers. It’s just cyclic. In 1938 we had a far worse hurricane as well as at the beginning of the 1900’s and in the 1800’s. There have been years we’ve gotten down to -45°F which I certainly don’t miss. We’re coming out of an ice age historically and I would rather not return to that.

Quite frankly, this year is neither an indicator of global warming or cooling. It says nothing. Rather, if it says anything it tells us that things are normal. The alarmists and deniers both need to chill out. In fact, I wish they would stop wasting time and money bickering and trading carbon credits (a false economy) and instead work on solving real toxic pollution problems of which CO2 and methane do not qualify. Toxic pollution is the real problem, the real threat to our environment and thus ourselves and other species. The world has been warmer and cooler before but PCBs, Dioxins and things like that are doing real damage.

This year is simply within the variation we’ve seen for the last century and not as bad as times before that when the entire town that was here on our land depopulated because of multiple cold years in a row that caused crop failures in the 1800’s. Unfortunately the public has a short memory and the media doesn’t help. Saying things are normal doesn’t sell newspapers or ad space so they hype-hype-hype when they need to learn to put on an extra layer and get back to work.

There are still several months of winter to go and we’ll see how this year pans out. I predict it will be within the range or normal. That’s generally the best bet. But I’m always prepared for the extremes just incase. Winter is what we get through so that we can spend the summer preparing for next winter.

Outdoors: -1°F/-25°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 62°F/55°F

Daily Spark: Keep Cool. Void Where Prohibited. Walk on the Grass.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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14 Responses to Low Snow

  1. james says:

    I agree. There seems to be a decided lack of commom sense going around

  2. Nance says:

    here in Iowa, it has been colder by far then in the last several years. maybe a decade. But I remember a spell in the 1980s and a spell in the 60s where it was as cold. for as long. or longer. Our temps, here in southern Iowa just creeped up out of the cellar today. almost 40 degrees earlier — but come Monday, the temps will bottom out again. sorry. I must think I am o henry or something. (too lazy to capitalize) : ( or obviously, to spell check.

    • That is what the records show, it has been colder than in the last decade, actually 17 years but that prior to that there were much colder times. More importantly the records back to the beginning of the previous century show that the cold snaps come in roughly four year cycles but that those cycles also have up and down cycles. The real world weather is more chaotic than the thermostat people would like it to be. :)

  3. TomRN says:

    It’s wintertime, it’s suppose to be cold. I’m hoping our colder than the last few winters kills off some ticks, mosquitoes, and other nasties. I’ve already lost one beehive, and hope I don’t lose more than one more, to the cold weather. Less than two months until Spring.

  4. Charles says:

    It is blowing up a rippin blizzard outside here. But, still nothing that alarming in the big picture. I’m in Kingston, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, where it turns into the St. Lawrence. As the crow flies, I suppose I’m not that far from you Walt, but it’s a whole other world weatherwise. Amazing how much even a frozen lake and our low elevation moderates things. And on the north side of the lake here, we don’t really get “Lake Effect” snow from the prevailing winds- unlike the south shore, Syracuse-ish, where they’ll get 20+’ of accumulation. Ottawa is an hour and a half northeast of here, in an inland valley, and it’s regularly 10 C colder there. They’ll have snowbanks into May. Kingston is a downright balmy maritime locale relatively!

    I’d been out in Nova Scotia for most of the past ten years, where -20 C is considered extremely cold, and very unsual. Open winters (ie: no real snow accumulation, due to rainfall) are common in many parts of the province. Kingston is often similar – except this year! Funny that I’m just beginning to reach the age where my hair is falling out and I’m starting to talk like, “This is the type of winter I remember as a child…”

    From that photo, doesn’t look like much snow there at all – especially compared to shots I’ve seen of other years! I’m glad we’ve got enough here to keep the garlic field mulched a little bit, and give something for the sleds to slide on and the team to grip on – all the ice shut our horses down for a couple weeks (ie: no sharps).

    Speaking of critters, I ought to man up and go feed them. I always enjoy your Blog Walt, it’s a real service and inspiration! Best to you and yours!

  5. Peter says:

    I seem to think there’s an old saw about “wait long enough, and the weather will change,” or something like that. ;-)

    Frankly, the one idea that everyone, regardless of their political stripe, should be demanding is to markedly support improvement of the science behind everything having to do with climate — and I mean EVERYTHING, i.e., instrumentation, modelling, data warehousing, satellite measurement, oceanography, etc. The tech to do it is there already, it’s just a question to me of getting all the stupidheads together and allocating the cash for it (instead of, say, buying 20 more F35s).

    • Heartily agreed! There is some very interesting new satellite technology coming online. I have also thought for years that they should sell at a very low price WiFi connected weather stations people could have in their homes. If this was done at cost a lot of people would buy them. The deal should be you set it up and let it report its data back to the central computers who will analyze the data from millions of these placed all over the world giving a lot more real data about local temperatures, humidity, light, air pressure, etc. Sort of an NSA with permission for weather. The information that could be gained from this is enormous. It would be better than the recently lost weather satellites and a lot cheaper.

      By the way, I want an F-35. So make that number 21.

      • Peter says:

        I think the fly-away cost of the F35, and a new GOES satellite, may almost be equal. I’ll have to check that out. :-)

        After I put in the above comment, I also remembered that I think there is some data warehousing project at the Weather Service right now that is compiling old weather data gathered from lightships, cargo freighters, etc to add additional datapoints for climate records. Will have to find it and repost it….

        I would also suggest Googling “watt’s up with that.” Nifty site on weather stations and how, if you put them in the wrong place, it can skew the data! We IT guys don’t like skewed data.

      • Patrick says:

        What you talk about exists and is open right now. Gliders and skimmers catch oceanographic data (temp, salinity, etc.) and then upload using satellite beacons on stationary deep water buoys. Gets aggregated and stored, and is open for any person any where to use. Data is global in nature because a number of nations are contributing. Here in the USA, the NSF leads up the program and the online portion should be available this summer.

  6. Patrick says:

    Colder in the mid-Atlantic than it has been in a long while. A little more snow than usual, but no big deal. The recent weeks made it feel more like Syracuse than below the Mason-Dixon line.

    All this carbon talk distracts from the real reason to clean-up coal plants: mercury. I love fish and sushi. Ate a lot of it for years (especially tuna and swordfish). Had my blood tested and I have quite high levels of mercury, and the most probable source is my diet (we tested family who have been with me, and they have low levels and the only difference is diet).

    So industrial pollution is an issue, whether it’s fish or food or asthma. This stuff is literally a religion for many. If the alarmists/deniers started talking about things that really affect us, I’d want to work with them a bit more. Of course, that means everyone would have to moderate their rhetoric.

    Who am I kidding?

    • Absolutely. I keep saying it’s the toxic pollution we need to be worrying about but the neo-ecovists don’t get it. They’re too young to remember and seem to have failed history. A great deal of improvement was made on toxic pollution and now this is getting forgotten. There is still a long ways to go.

      • Patrick says:

        I lived on the west end of Los Angeles for about seven years and could see the north-south line some of us called ‘the rift’: the zone generally over the 405 freeway where the ocean air gave up its fight against the brown smog. West of the freeway had blue skies; east was muted blue to odd brown.

        This was less than a decade ago, and my neighbors told me stories of what it was like two decades previous. It wasn’t good, at all. They said the progress was amazing. I looked up, saw the mess and realized they had spent a little too much time looking down the rabbit hole that was southern California. Soon as my work was up I sold my house and got out. Blue skies, indeed.

      • J says:

        Thank you for saying this. I’ve been saying a very similar thing – that toxic pollution is a bigger and far more tangible problem.

        I have a friend who has a masters in environment science and is a “true believer” type regarding global warming/climate change. Even suggesting to him that there are other environmental issues more pressing that gw/cc makes him have a tantrum. He’s exactly the kind of neo-environmentalist you mentioned and I image there are a lot of others like him. One thing about him is he is a city-boy, and I wonder how much that affects his critical thinking of these issues.

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