Ice frolic

16th February 2021

With a terrific CRACK, a branch peeled itself off one of the fir trees and fell to the icy, snowy mess beneath.

Trying to keep track of weather trends is pointless, but I was not expecting to wake up and find the world sheathed in ice today.

Overnight, we’d apparently had that worst possible combination of temperature and precipitation that creates an actual ice storm.

In England they get “black ice” quite often, which is a version of the same thing, though in my lifetime I can really only remember three, maybe four real ice-storms.

Dreadful events, especially to aviation.

Damaging events, always, and dangerous.

And quite stunningly beautiful, in the right circumstances.

Today, we lacked sun which makes all the difference.

The first ice-storm I experienced was on Long Island. It came overnight but disappeared with the dawn, as sunshine lit up a world transformed. It was magical, extraordinary.

But my aunt was ill and I had to drive her to hospital, through Glen Cove where many trees were down and the roads a sheet of ice. So I got to witness both aspects. We made the trip safely.

After the round-trip to Glen Cove, I made my way to JFK where I enjoyed the delights of delayed flights and irate passengers.

Still, I could not forget the images etched in my brain of ice-cased fences and trees, sign posts and roofs, lit up like so many diamonds had been encrusted upon them.

The second serious ice storm I remember was not until many years later when I was living in Washington State. Freezing weather was unusual, but when it happened, it normally caused drama and this storm was a beaut. I was without electricity for five days.

The house I owned then was surrounded by trees. As my initial picture reveals, trees don’t do well in ice-storms. I lay all night listening to loud cracks over my head. Why I did not retreat downstairs, I’m not sure.

It would have been the sensible thing to do.

Fortunately, nothing came through the roof.

The tree that would have been a problem had actually split in half the previous summer and I’d had to have it removed, much to my chagrin.

That night, I was glad I didn’t have to worry about it.

Next morning, the sky was clear and the world was stunning.

So, while they are generally not a good thing, I do like ice-storms

They create extraordinary images.

There is a down side, of course, as with most things.

Not that I really want wildlife eating my bushes, but when there’s nothing else, they are most welcome and recently the deer found early buds made a tasty treat.

All encased in ice this morning.

As was my poor lilac bush:

Last year it was ruined when we got Spring snow. I am hoping these little buds will survive the shock of being frozen.

It wasn’t long before the day warmed up sufficiently to melt these sheaths of ice.

Underfoot, of course, is where the trouble will form later. It’s one big slushy mess that is bound to freeze tonight as temperatures plummet once more.

Might need crampons on my galoshes tomorrow.

See what I mean….

Poor sparrows had no-where to perch this morning

Though they were nattering quite happily when I went out just now to see if the ice palace had fallen down.

“February” was wobbling badly this morning, so I propped it up.

Tomorrow promises (ha) sunny but cold, with another snowstorm in the offing and 6 to 10 inches more snow. After that, the melt….supposedly….

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