Strange drifts on the back deck and postcard winter scenes... after the winds died down.
(Click pictures to enlarge)
"A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!" ~ Author UnknownJust a few more pictures of the remarkable snowfall on Christmas Day night and the 26th; these are mainly for my brother who had to spend Christmas in Tokyo. He's been here when it is really hot and when heavy thunderstorms produce circulations and trees that snap off and he has been here when it seems to rain every day and when it is dryer than the desert in July; but, he has never been here when the soft and quiet snow is falling on the steaming hot tub, or when the north winds are howling outside his window with heavy blowing flakes drift strange shapes in the snow on the ground below or when we find it easier to simply stay inside by the fire than to dig out the vans. We had two of these storms in 2010... a very unusual happening indeed.
Virginia is an unusual state.. not quite north, not quite deep south. I remember spending Christmas in Roanoke with my grandparents and many times the Shenandoah Valley sported temperatures in the 60's on Christmas Day, but it was just as likely to be cold with 15 inches of snow on the ground. Roanoke is in a valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is supposed to be colder there. Here in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake where we live, this is not the case. The average temperatures in November and December are in the 50's and January is usually the coldest month with the highest chance of snow. The Gulf Stream flows just off shore and keeps the air just a bit too warm for snow most of the time. We do get snow.. at least a little each year and most often this is one or two inches at most... four or five inches is a lot. 2010 was a different year. January brought several small dustings and then a 10 inch blast... not much wind, few drifts, but a heavy snow that stopped almost everything. Then we had an inch on December 4th, a dusting on December 13th and another three inches on December 16th. Then the big one on the 25th and 26th.
Below are pictures that Nyssa took out the van window while I was grasping the steering wheel with white knuckles and going 25 mph. Our neighborhood roads were simply packed snow and ice... I do believe we must have had a short burst of ice between the snow layers at least some time during the storm. The road on the left is Hwy 17 or Dominion Blvd and is one of the main routes from Virginia to Elizabeth City, North Carolina. It was horrid, with ruts that made you slip and slide and all the turn lanes were covered with inches and inches of snow, slush and ice. The pines had a hard time... lots of broken branches... but the other deciduous trees seemed to weather the storm fine. Now all that is left is a gray pile of shoveled snow mounds here and there along with the inevitable mushy ground. We had two days of normal temperatures in the 50's and low 60's and now it is back down into the 30's and 40's.
But it is dry and sunny and the squirrels are being their obnoxious selves, raiding the bird feed ball and twisting themselves into contorted shapes to try and get sunflower seeds from the "squirrel proof" feeder. I decided to buy a snow shovel, but Walmart is sold out, so I will have to go off to Home Depot or Lowes. Yes, I should have bought the shovel BEFORE the snow storm; but, if I go ahead and get one now, probably... or at least possibly, it will be enough to keep any more snow storms from coming our way in 2011. A positive preventative purchase, perhaps.