Monday, February 01, 2010

My World Tuesday #68: My World In White

"3:00 AM - And still coming down"
Raleigh, NC - January 2010 (Click to embiggen)

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"3:00 PM - This shouldn't have happened until tomorrow!"
Raleigh, NC - January 2010 (Click to embiggen)

Be a virtual tour guide on That's My World Tuesday

Snow is a rarity in my world. For the better part of this century (so far) we only saw snow once in every four years in Raleigh (though 25 miles west in Durham it was a different matter). So it looks like we got some, right? Yes and no. There is some snow in this mix, but I only know that because I saw it falling with my own two eyes. And it's neatly sandwiched between two layers of ice, which is they typical form frozen stuff takes when it falls from my sky. the difference between snow and sleet has something to do with the temperature at various places in the atmosphere and what freezes where and when. I'll let the alpha geeks explain that one. What I can explain is the reason for the ice cream sandwich effect. Simply put, the pavement was still above freezing when the snow started. It takes a long time for something as dense as concrete or asphalt to surrender its heat, so normally -- unless it's been below freezing for several days -- the first of the snow to fall will melt on contact, which bleeds more heat energy off from the pavement, and results -- ultimately -- in a thin layer of ice between the snow and the ground. The ice layer on top was simply sleet that fell on top of the snow. That's not nearly as bad as the light freezing rain that fell on top of it back in 1996. That turned things very nasty -- fast. And there's some talk that we'll have a encore performance of this phenomenon this week since daytime highs aren't expected to get terribly far above freezing, and rain/freezing rain is in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. This could get ugly.

Not that the weekend was any day at the beach. What you'd expect is for the day after the stuff came down -- when there'd been a cycle of thawing and freezing -- that the sandwich would become more dense and break off in slabs. In this case however, it was built in slabs. The photos in the second panel were taken just a few hours after the precipitation stopped. My brilliant idea was that if I shoveled the ski jumpdriveway while the stuff was still light and fluffy it wouldn't be so hard on my back. Problem was that it was never "light and fluffy". It was breaking loose in slabs and floes and bergs and stuck to the concrete like glue. In the right hand photo (if you look closely at the embiggened version) you can see one of my footprints that sunk maybe a half inch into a 4-inch layer of snowsleetice. At 185 pounds, if I'm not breaking through the top crust any better than that, it's got to be pretty stout stuff. After it took an hour and a half to go maybe 20 feet -- and with at least twice that far left to go, I decided to wait and see if the next day's sun would loosen it up any. Thankfully it did. And a couple more hours of scraping and a bag of Blizzard Wizzard later, I'm hoping I can get down it tomorrow without driving through my neighbor-across-the-street's bedroom window (because eeyah! *shudder*).

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Mama Zen said...

We're in aftermath mode right now. An inch of solid ice covered by seven inches of snow. Day five.

Daryl said...

I am in love with this shot .. in love

SandyCarlson said...

I'm in love with it, too. That is some 3 a.m.

Your snow represents a serious administrative error up there.

Marie Höglund said...

So loveli Mojo. You really captured the winterfeeling in mono.

Carver said...

Lovely shots. Once every 4 years? I didn't realize that. I know last year was the first decent snow in several years but I felt like we got a lot of snow from 1985 to 2005. I think though that years flow together for me.

Kathiesbirds said...

Wow, that's some kinda weather! We hardly ever get snow here in Tucson either, though I know it well from when I lived in the north. I hope you thaw out soon. Love the pictures and thanks for the interesting prompt on OSI. I haven't participated in awhile and your prompt sent my mind sliding back to the past!

Louise said...

Can't believe how much snow the southeast got. Wow! First photo is a masterpiece!

Brit Gal Sarah said...

We got sucker punched too here in Okieland, but happily my part missed the icestorm. Great piccies!