Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Snowballing Violence

March 14, 2011

Geez, I guess snowball fights can be nasty, too.

The Burlington Free Press reports today that two people got into a nasty fight in the Vermont town of Jay over a thrown snowball.

Play nice, boys. Apparently, a weekend snowball fight in Jay, Vermont got out of hand.


One guy threw a snowball at a car on a pretty remote stretch of Route 242. The guy driving the car stopped, and they battled it out with fists.

Both face charges.

C’mon guys. There’s plenty of snow. Build a couple snow forts, heave snowballs at each other from your respective forts and blow off steam that way. You know, like kids do.

Aren’t snowball fights supposed to be fun? Well, spring is coming. So maybe we’ll get through the rest of winter without violence.

Photo Evidence: Spring Coming to Vermont

March 13, 2011

Amid wet snowflakes, cold raindrops, and a low gloomy overcast, I went outside, and out of desperation, tried to get some work done around my house in St. Albans, Vermont.

I dug up the thin layer of unfrozen ground near the shed, that needs to be completely dug up and enriched with good dirt. For flowers. That will allegedly bloom when spring allegedly comes.

The very first, tentative sign of spring at my St. Albans, Vermont house after a long, long snowy winter. Photographed today, March 13, 2011

Hell, I got 20 minutes of work in before I hit solid, frozen ground and gave up.

But wait!  Right up against the sunny side of the house. A fresh, tender green shoot! It’s the first bit of a crocus that I planted last fall. It’s not much, and it’s certainly not blooming yet, but it’s the first sign that maybe spring will get here.

“Sugar Snow” Graces Vermont

March 12, 2011

As is well documented in this blog, I’m anxious for the snow to melt. I’m itching to get the landscaping season going and the snow is very much in the way.

This morning's sugar snow added to the deep accumulation on my lawn in St. Albans, Vermont.

So imagine my disappointment when I woke up to two inches of fresh snow that replaced some of what melted yesterday.

Forecasts had called for absolutely no snow last night around my place in St. Albans, Vermont, so I got the booby prize there.

But I made the best of the new snow. It was “sugar snow.” What that is a couple inches of wet snow that often falls at night in Vermont during March. It’s maple sugaring season now, so such a snowfall adds a little moisture for the trees to keep producing sap.

Snow clings to branches and frames an old courthouse in downtown St. Albans, Vermont this morning.

Granted, we don’t particularly need the moisture this year, but sugar snow is a tradition of sorts, so I have to accept it.

The great thing about sugar snow is it’s very pretty. It usually falls when there’s very little wind, and the wet snow clings to every last twig and cornice.

That’s what happened today.  So of course I took pictures, which you see on this blog post. (You might have to scroll down after this text to see all of them)

Snow on tree branches brightens the facades of buildings in downtown St. Albans, Vermont this morning.

Another good thing about sugar snow is it melts fast. It stopped snowing around 8 a.m. It’s now 10:30 a.m. and the sugar snow is melting fast under the glare of fleeting glimpses of the sun sneaking through the clouds.

The slow March melt now resumes. Until tonight, when chances are we’ll get yet another sugar snow.

Snow on a tree in my St. Albans, Vermont yard this morning.

Snow on the trees around a brook near my house in St. Albans, Vermont yesterday. Ice broke on the brook in yesterday's thaw, exposing the flowing water

Wet snow creates a tangled pattern on a tree in my yard in St. Albans, Vermont this morning.

Best Dust Devil Videos Ever

March 11, 2011

Dust devils are really cool. They’re little columns of spinning air, like a tornado, except they hit on sunny, warm days and rarely cause damage to speak of.

I just found a great video of one  that shows the dust devil sucking up some huge sheets of agricultural plastic in a strawberry field. Sounds strange, but it’s mesmerizing to watch:

A stil from the "plastic" dust devil in the first video.

This video reminded me of another  video of a dust devil, really a hay devil years ago in South Burlington, Vermont. It looked like so much fun.

More Vermont Snowstorm News

March 8, 2011

The day after a huge snowstorm is beautiful if the sun comes out, like it did today.

A downtown Burlington, Vermont restaurant is nearly hidden by mounds of snow awaiting removal. Yesterday's storm dumped 25.8 inches of snow on the city.

Up here in Vermont, we’re digging out from one of the biggest snowstorms in memory.  Most of the northern half of the state got between 20 and 30 inches of new snow.

Luckily, the blue skies and comfortable temperatures (for Vermont, anyway) are making it a little bit easier to shovel away the piles of snow.   It’s also dazzlingly bright out with all this snow. Sunglasses are a must.

The snow is melting a little bit in sunny corners, as the March sun is strong, compared to the weak rays of December. So there’s hope that the snow will eventually melt.

A handwritten sign on a piece of cardboard reads "Look up, look out" as a mass of snow on the roof over Nectars Restaurant in downtown Burlington, Vermont threatens to crash down on pedestrians on the sidewalk below.

There’s about two feet of snow on the ground at my house in St. Albans, Vermont, and in Burlington, and three to four feet in other towns away from Lake Champlain.

They’re worried about spring flooding, because there’s a lot of snow to melt, and we’re getting toward mid-March already.

Yes, I want to get rid of the snow, now that the excitement of the storm is fading. But maybe a big flood would be too much excitement so let’s go for a gradual meltdown for the rest of the month, shall we?

More On Vermont’s Record March Storm

March 8, 2011

It’s official. Today’s snowstorm in Burlington, Vermont was the largest March snowstorm in the city’s history.

Battery Street in Burlington, Vermont, usually full of cars, is full of snow but lacking in traffic as the snowstorm comes to an end.

It’s also now the third snowiest winter on record, so far, and more snow is in the forecast.

I thought I’d share more photos and videos of  the day, since I like weather porn so much. (Weather porn is pics and videos of storms. So don’t worry, no naked people in this post)

First video, below, is what it’s like to drive in a whiteout, as I did today.

Second one is Church Street in Burlington during a vain attempt to clear snow. Usually they get rid of all the snow on Church Street, which is a pedestrian mall.

Third video is a Burlington sidewalk plow getting hopelessly stuck.

Epic Snowstorm Slams Vermont

March 7, 2011

This was one of those snowstorms you tell your grandkids about

Except I’ll never have grandkid, but never mind.Visibility is low in today's snowstorm along the road in front of my St. Albans, Vermont home.

About two feet of snow dumped on us since yesterday, and things have basically fallen apart. A foot of snow is not that big a deal in Vermont. When you get to two feet, you really notice. Such a storm really changes your routine.

I shoveled for two hours today, just to get a narrow path out of my driveway that barely accommodated my truck. I will do a lot more shoveling this week.

This is what my truck looked like when I stepped outside my St. Albans, Vermont house this morning after nearly two feet of snow fell.

After I got out of my driveway, I drove to work, barely. Sometimes, I had to guess where the road was because of the whiteouts.

Burlington, Vermont really is a ghost town today. There’s a few intrepid people in cars out in the streets, but some of those cars are stuck. A few people are going to and fro on skis and snowshoes.

Downtown Burlington is shut down. All businesses are closed, and all but the main arteries have a foot of snow on them, at least. You can’t drive anywhere.

Here's what I looked like after shoveling my driveway for two hours in a blizzard this morning.

As regular readers know, I wasn’t looking forward to the snowstorm before it came. But now that it has turned out to be such a huge one, there’s some excitement, at least for now.

I love how such a big storm changes things so dramatically. Things stop. The world looks completely different when its buried in snow, and snowbanks seem to reach for the sky, like the damn Alps or something.

College Street in downtown Burlington just before noon today. The street is usually jammed with cars and people during the middle of the day. Not today.

Lately, we keep getting record-size snowstorms up here in Vermont. Eight of Burlington’s 20 biggest snowstorms over the past 120 years have occured since 2000. Three of Burlington’s five snowiest winters, including this one, have happened since 2000.

This might be related to global warming, believe it or not. A warmer world means more water vapor sits in the atmosphere. More water vapor makes stronger, wetter storms. The stronger wetter storms can still produce epic amount of snows. There you go.

This car and bike in downtown Burlington, Vermont Monday don't look like they're going anywhere anytime soon after a storm dumped two feet of snow on the city.

So, if trends continue, I’ll have to get used to epic snowstorms. Seems they come fast and furious.

I also loaded some videos I took of the storm on YouTube. You can see them below.

The Snow Goes, the Snow Comes, Drearily

March 6, 2011

With my growing list of things I must do outside to fix my yard  in St. Albans, Vermont and build up the landscaping, I was heartened by the rain and thawing that got rid of half my snow yesterday and last night.

I took this picture of my snowbound shed on Wednesday, before the thaw. I'm itching to repair and paint it, and landscape around it.

There’s enough bare patches out there to start get rid of unwanted brush, tidy up things, start prepping my derelict shed for a paintjob and some landscaping around it, and get ready for transforming the property in earnest.

There’s hope, yes?

Well, no. All the snow that briefly disappeared is coming back tonight, and then some, so it’s back to square one. We’re going to get eight to 12 inches of  heavy, wet, new snow.

March is the cruelest month. You get ready to go outside and attack your projects with gusto, only to be slapped in the face by a lingering Vermont winter.

By this morning the snow had retreated from around the shed. At this point, when the rain stops, I can begin work around it. But no such luck. A foot of snow is due tonight, delaying any kind of work.

So, I’ll wake up tomorrow back in my dreary winter routine. I’ll throw out my shoulder again clearing the driveway and hefting the snow onto huge piles. I’ll have to hack my way through the frozen snow and ice to get into my truck, and gingerly drive down the skating rink-like roads.

After the snow stops falling tomorrow,  I’ll look in vain for just a bit of warm sun to start the melting process over again. It’s going to take a long time to get rid of it, especially given the forecasts of continued cold weather and maybe another snowstorm Thursday.

Unlike the last two springs, the seasonal landscaping drive, both for myself and my clients, will get off to a very late start because of the snow.

I wonder if I can buy some napalm to get rid of the snow?

The Vermont Snow Keeps Coming, Setting Records

February 27, 2011

It snowed again here in Vermont last night. Not much, just an inch or two. But it was enough to make this the snowiest February on record, at least in the Burlington, Vermont area.

I spotted this tree skier Saturday in Vermont's Underhill State Park. It is northwestern Vermont's snowiest February on record.

Burlington has had 42.6 inches of snow this month, barely beating out a record for the month set just three years ago.

As a weather geek, it’s always fun to set some sort or climatological record, but I’m chomping at the bit more than ever for the snow to go.

But instead, it keeps on snowing.  I have all these plans for landscaping on my property, plus I want to start getting my clients’ yards into shape at some point. The snow has got to melt by the first of April, and prospects of that seem to be dimming.

The sun’s a little stronger now as we’re heading into March, so that helps me grab glimmers of hope whereever I can get them. As I cleared the bit of new snow from my driveway this morning the sun felt warm and I could see it starting to melt the snow up against sunny corners.

We’re at a stage where the snow comes, a little melts, and little more comes. It’s a snowy standoff.

A tree skier enjoys lots of powder in Vermont's Underhill State Park as one of the snowiest winters on record continues

I can’t do anything about the snow. I could complain about it, or embrace it. I did think it was pretty out this morning with a few glittery snowflakes falling through the winter sun.

Yesterday, I went snowshoeing in Underhill State Park at the the base of Vermont’s Mount Mansfield. All this snow makes things look and feel incredibly clean and fresh and healthy. It was good for me to get that bracing air.

The woods was winter quiet, which I like, except for the bursts of excitement as tree skiers crashed through the woods, expertly zigzagging around all the brown tree trunks and leafless branches.

So that was nice. But I’m actually ready for Vermont’s ugly mud season with it’s slush, slop, dampness and gray.

It won’t be nearly as pretty as this weekend, but mud season will at least signal we will finally throw off the weight of the snow that has confined us since December.

They STILL Can’t Drive in the Snow!

February 25, 2011

So far this winter in Vermont, we’ve had about eight feet of snow, including what fell in a standard issue, run of the mill Vermont storm of six to 12 inches of snow today.There were no crashes on this Burlington, Vermont street when I snapped this picture today, but I'm sure somebody eventually caused an accident on the slightly slushy road.

You’d think people would have learned to drive in the snow by now. But this was one of the worst storms this winter in terms of people crashing their cars and hitting each other.

Video below is a dash cam from my truck of Interstate 89 in South Burlington around noon today, slowed to a crawl by a minor collision in the snow.

I’ve railed at this state of affairs before. Now it’s time to get serious.

Vermont State Police routinely ticket people who cause these crashes for going too fast for the road conditions. But the most these people pay is maybe $200.

The ones that own those expensive SUVs that cause the crashes probably regard $200 as chump change, worth the cost of racing down the highway in a snowstorm.

After all, many of the people that cause these crashes are just narcisstic jerks subconsciously trying to get attention because they can’t get attention for their own accomplishments. Because they’re incapable of accomplishments.

So they gain attention to themselves by making people focus on them and  grumble about how fast they’re going past them. And people rue the huge traffic jams they cause with their snowy weather crashes.

I have two possible remedies. One is sentence these jerks to 3o days in jail, to make them contemplate their stupidity, and maybe make them lose their jobs so they can’t afford their expensive SUVs.

The drawback to that approach is we, the taxpayers, must pay for their jail time.

The alternate proposal is to comfiscate these idiots’ vehicles, and if they are still intact, sell them to raise revenue. Or if they’ve totaled their SUVs, make them buy two new cars instead of one. Then they can eventually drive one of the new ones, and sell the other to the state to offset taxes. Or give the vehicles to a charity like Good News Garage, which provides vehicles to people who need them and don’t have them.

In any event, we do have to crack down on these reckless winter drivers. I know a few of them just make a momentary stupid mistake, But most of these crashers are habitual offenders.

It’s time we start treating them as such.