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Snow Day

Against all odds, we did not lose power last night, and having gone and looked outside, I think that's a minor miracle. The weather forecasts for our county basically said "If it stays sleet, we're good, when it goes to freezing rain, we're screwed, and a tiny shift in any number of factors will change EVERYTHING."

We were very, very lucky--it stayed sleet for most of the night here. Sleet doesn't coat the trees and wires quite as enthusiastically as freezing rain does, so the build-up was all on the ground and much lighter on the trees and wires. Trees did not come down, wires did not come down, we kept power all night and it's starting to melt off the trees now.

...the road, mind you, is a horror. We are driving nowhere for awhile. All the sleet that didn't stick to trees landed on the ground and was glazed with ice. It's SOLID ice, not that thin crust you get over snow--this is a dense, heavy, slab. You step on it and it does not go "crunch." There is no sense that you are standing on a skin over snow. It just...sits there.

Well, it has two days to melt off, but our temperatures will sink to -1 on Thursday, and if it's not clear by then, it won't be until Saturday. (This is ridiculously cold for North Carolina, by the way. I am zone 8a. That means that our average low temperatures rarely sink below 16 degrees Fahrenheit. I am gonna lose a LOT of plants over this one.)

We have food and meds and mealworms, so as long as the pipes don't freeze (and we do leave a faucet to drip, just in case) we'll be fine. I anticipate a fine case of stir-craziness by the time the roads are clear, but eh, it happens.

Is Thrush-Bob coping with this bizarro-winter okay?

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Holy shit, I'm glad I live in Arizona. Everybody may totally lose the plot here on the rare occasions that we get snow in Tucson, but they ARE rare. Nature did not equip me with a coat of fur, so from this I'm assuming that I wasn't meant to live in snow and will stick to sunny climes.

Snow is USUALLY rare in NC - generally the state gets MAYBE 2-3 inches a year.
This winter is just BUGFUCK INSANE!

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Seattle has been sunny and high 50s/low 60s for some days now and looks to go on for a bit. We are awash in blossoming fruit trees. It sounds delightful, but it's still wrong, wrong, WRONG.

Yes, this! We had a string of almost-70s days here in Colorado Springs last week, and everyone was celebrating it. The trees started budding, even! And I had to stop myself from yelling at the sky, "Would you just snow already?!"

(Course, I got my wish the last two days: 3 whole inches! But it's already melting away. :( )

There is a chance that the ice will protect some (many??) of the plants from the extreme cold. Snow also works really well if you can get it on the plants in question.

Freezing rain is Satan's payback for all those warm days we get. And payback is...

So glad you didn't get it.

I'm in 8b, and find that my yard doesn't get as cold as the online temps say. Most of the time, if there are just a couple of freezy days (ie, single digits) covering stuff up keeps most of it alive. But not everything.

We had those solid-ice roads last year around this time. They did eventually melt, but hard to imagine. I couldn't have gotten my car out of the driveway. I once was in Beijing when it was like that, 20 years ago, and people were driving mules pulling wagons loaded with bricks over the ice. Poor mules. It was hard to see.

Edited at 2015-02-17 10:22 pm (UTC)

I live in southern Illinois. Nestled up between the rivers. We are painfully familiar with this sheet of ice you describe. It's not an every year occurrence, but it happens often enough that I know exactly what kind of ground cover you're talking about.

I am sorry.

Edited at 2015-02-17 10:32 pm (UTC)

Good luck with not losing too many plants!

We had a similar weather event in my neck of the woods a few years ago (Indiana zone 4, so extreme but also not too out of the ordinary, either) - a few inches of sleet topped with freezing rain followed by below zero temps. Schools and pretty much everything else was shut down for 4 days - there was just no way to clear the 3-4 inches of solidified ice-cake from parking lots. I had to use a pick axe to chop away the two foot tall hill of ice that had blown up around the back door at work so we could get the doors open per fire regulations. Fun times!

Keeping my fingers crossed for your plants! Under a blanket of ice is probably better than no blanket if temps are in the negatives.

At least it's not Minnesota, eh?

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where the other term for freezing rain was "silver thaw." We'd get it when the cold air was moving out, with a layer of warm wet air on top--rain falling through the cold air would splat on whatever it it and freeze solid there.

Beautiful destruction. It was like living inside a chandelier but we would lose power, sometimes for days.

We've got something like that around my house in Tennesee right now, but fortunately only a few branches have come down, and we still have power. And the roads melted off this afternoon, so we could get out if we needed too. They're calling for more snow tomorrow, though.

Grandma was always talking about the silver thaw!

I wonder if there's something that differentiates freezing rain from a silver thaw...I want to say that there's a difference between that and freezing rain, but I can't put my finger on it.

Are you feeding the dried, dead mealworms? I've heard that they have to be rinsed but I can't find a method on-line. Please could anyone tell me about this?

I've never rinsed them, or heard of that...

One of my fondest childhood memories is The Year We Had The Blizzard. First we got about a foot of snow, then a freezing rain. It was just like you describe, a solid sheet of ice over a thick layer of snow. (I'm sure there were places that lost power, but no one we knew did.) Schools were closed for the only time in the 16 years we lived there. The neighborhood gold course, closed for the winter, became almost a holiday carnival; you could skate everywhere, not just on the water hazards. For once there was enough ice for both the pleasure skaters and the hockey players! And there were people with sleds (you could get an amazing run even from the little bitty hillocks, because the ice was so frictionless) and even some iceboats. And the trees looked like they'd been coated in soap bubbles! It was absolutely glorious, and of course being a child at the time all I remember is the fun parts.

Here in the Boston area, we got seven and a half feet of snow in the last three weeks. I'm tired of winter, I want my global warming they keep threatening us with.

That's what the seven feet of snow was. Climate change sucks.

Weird weather, eh? Here on the west coast it's like spring, and the local ski hills are bare. I must admit to being okay with that.

I live in upstate NY. Most of my perennials are zone borderline and they bounce right back. Its more likely to be the road salt that kills them then the cold. If you're worried, feed them in the spring. And yes, I usually have to prune off all the flowers and buds on my roses as they insist on blooming until Halloween or Veteran's Day.