Monday, January 25, 2010


Yesterday afternoon, when we came home, there was about a foot and a half of snow on the ground. We've had a fair amount of snow this year, but not much ice, so the snow is still fluffy.
Then I woke up this morning.
It's raining. It's 48 degrees. The snow has a crust because it's The paths that were touched by fluffy snow yesterday, are now pure ice. It's treacherous outside. Schools have cancelled classes for the day and the radio is bubbling cancellations for all kinds of meetings.
In this part of the country, we are experiencing what we affectionately call the "January Thaw".
According to Wikipedia:
"During this "thaw" period, usually lasting for about a week, temperatures are generally about 10 °F (6 °C) above normal. This varies from year to year, and temperatures fluctuate enough that such a rise in late-January temperature would be unremarkable; what is remarkable (and unexplained) is the tendency for such rises to occur more commonly in late January than in mid-January or early February, which sinusoidal estimates have to be slightly warmer."
So, we're in the middle of it. I guess it's a day to collect our thoughts, read a good book, split or stack wood, and generally get prepared for winter to resume again. In the meantime, we have to deal with the realities of the thaw. We may experience flooding because of the rain; it's a time when the rivers melt enough to toss their frozen tops downstream causing ice jams which can be a huge threat to bridges. These ice floes also get left on the sides of the rivers in meadows and other river lowlands when the high water recedes. They will sit there until spring when they will gradually melt providing a slow release of water into the soil.
Enjoy your "found day". If you have kids, enjoy making cookies or helping with that report that was due today, (providing a wonderful gift of an extra day!) Stay warm and dry and prepare yourself for the resumption of winter in a few days. This is just a fleeting moment of warmth.


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