Friday, March 6, 2009


With all the snow in the lower 48 and what we got here, I thought I would explain some of the differences that I found surprising. Having lived in Omaha for 13 years I went through a few snow storms there. If it snowed 2 inches, you would get drifts of 5 feet due to the wind. Plus the snow is very wet and makes for good snow balls and snow people (need to be politically correct here).

It has been said that, generally speaking, 10 inches of snow is equal to 1 inch of rain. Well that is not necessarily true. A good web page to read up on snow is at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. (bet this place got lots of money in the stimulus plan)

Why do I mention this, well last Saturday we got about about 6 to 8 inches of snow, yesterday we got 8 to 12 inches and we expect 2 inches today.(plus we have a slight breeze blowing the snow out of the trees for another inch). No wind, so no drifts, snow is very dry, can't even make a decent snow ball much less a snow person. So our snow is about 16 to 20 inches for one inch of water.

The problem we get here is near white out conditions when you drive down the road and with no wind. So how does this happen.

Well, when you travel down a 4 lane road, two lanes for each direction, you will generally have one lane in each direction almost clear of snow because of the constant use. Vehicles traveling over the road blow the snow off the road plus whip it up so you need to travel a good distance from the car ahead of you to be able to see. The lane that is not traveled much, tends to accumulate snow.

As you drive down the clear lane to meet driving conditions, there will always be someone who is going faster than you and passes you in the left lane. When this person passes, he/she ( mainly she, bet I hear a lot on this), kicks up the snow on the road causing white out conditions. This is caused by the snow not sticking to the road surface due to the cold and dryness of the snow.

So far this winter we must have close to 60 inches of snow on the ground. The picture I have attached here is our front room facing the river. Can you find the picnic table?

A funny thing happened as we entered Fred Myers last Saturday. My wife paused to stomp the snow from her boots. As she was stomping a large amount of snow fell off the roof right on her head. The other customers, and I had a good laugh. My wife laughed too.

One other thing, all winter I have been feeding Chickadees. They are light eaters and I usually fill the feeder once a month. This Monday my feeders were attacked by Redpolls, hundreds, well more than thirty. So I emailed my resident bird expert at the Alaska Bird Observatory here in Fairbanks. She said that means spring is coming. Plus she always gives me more good information on their habitats.

Well my wife went to lunch with our neighbor across the street this week and she told her of all the Redpolls we have. The neighbor said she stopped feeding hers so they were probalbly from her place. Thanks Janet!!!