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Snow Hits Hard

Rare “Arctic” Snow Hits Region

It hit before dawn and by first light was peppering down at a fast and furious pace. Indeed 2008’s first snow was more typical of Alaska as it was accompanied by strong winds (gusts to 30 mph) and low temperatures (teens). As we soon found out, this was a true “Arctic” Snow.

This Polar Express did a real number on the day’s school schedule as more than 100 school districts closed their doors for the day extending the Christmas holiday by a day. I expect as many delays and closings on Thursday as icy side roads play havoc with rural bus traffic.

Of course the kids who found sleds or skis under the tree were first out. In my neighborhood, two brothers tested out their new snowboard and cross country skis. I didn’t catch their names, but they reminded me of the days growing up in Philly where I would ice skate on the side streets if the snow was accompanied by very low temperatures.

The dry powdery nature of the snow was a sure sign that this was an Arctic Snow. With very little water in the snow, the snow was blown into small drifts (deeper in the mountains).

While main roads were plowed and salted, back roads with enough traffic saw the snow compact into glare ice. This will be especially an issue tonight when a fresh dusting hides the ice underneath.

As my loyal readers know, I am still at age 50ish intoxicated by winter weather. Yes, I am still a kid at heart. This accounts for why I shovel not only my walk but the neighbor’s too.

Anyway, using a new “wide-body” circular shovel, I plowed thru the morning’s 2”-3” snowfall like a knife thru warm butter. No sooner had I begun to shovel, that a phenom I have never witnessed awe struck me. The snow was so dry and powdery (if you are reading from a warm clime, this snow was truly light as a feather), that I was able to push the snow into natural snow rollers. Like bails of hay, the snow was spun into a neat circular bail. AMAZING!

Watch out for hidden ice tonight and again Thursday night as any slush freezes solidly.

Special thanks to Big Louie Grimmett of Man who sends this ATV in the snow e-pix along. Send me your e-pix and I will post as many as I can tonight.

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