The Never Ending Cloud

My oh my, how quickly things can change. That goes for a lot of places in the mid-latitudes when it comes to weather, but sometimes the changes in the Keweenaw (especially with regards to snow on the ground) can be very dramatic. Such was the case late last week and weekend, with the snows that fell. 

The first flakes started falling around 4 am on Thursday, but ended fairly quickly, as they were associated with an “advance” push of moisture and energy out ahead of the main part of the storm. The main part of the storm’s snows arrived around midday on Thursday and came down lightly at first, but then intensified to the point where we had around 4-5″ by sunset. I did not sleep real well Thursday night, as I was like a kid with a big storm going on…hoping there was no school the next day. I did not get off work, but schools were cancelled on Friday because of the snow and blowing snow. Incredibly, that was the first “snow day” of this season! Typically we do not get too far into December before school is called due to snow and I have seen the first snow day happen in early November.

I did take a few peaks out the window Thursday night and each time I looked, I could see flakes falling in the light of the Woods Cam- which will be fixed soon. However, I did not have anything to reference to in order to gauge how much had fallen. I did bring my tall snow boots over from the shop the evening before, just in case we got enough snow overnight that it would have been deeper than my short boots. It was a good call, as I was very pleasantly surprised when I headed out the front door to walk to the shop at 4 am and found there to be well over a foot of fresh snow!

I did not take any measurements at that time, as I needed to get into my work day, the first act being to check to see what was going on and what was to go on during the day Friday locally, as I fist produce a forecast for some local radio stations and then get into the global weather scene for my other customers, before finishing up the morning’s work updating the website.

School on Friday had actually already been called off for Friday. A pretty rare thing up here to call school for the next day. The Keweenaw locals and, more so the road crews, are quite adapt to handling snow and it takes quite the snow event to call off schools up here. The forecast Thursday afternoon called for snow to fall all night Thursday as well as all day Friday, with falling temps on Friday into the upper single digits and lots of wind. So it was pretty much a no-brainer that school should be called off, but then again, the weather does not always follow the play book! So I was glad to find Friday’s weather to be following the script to the letter!

I finished up my work Friday morning and then headed to the house for a late breakfast. The sun had not risen yet, but there was enough light for me to snap some shots of the newly fallen snow. It’s so cool how a coating of fresh show can bring beauty to just about anything. Behind the shop and kind of between the shop and house sits an old outbuilding. We call it the “red shed” as it is painted red and was used as a shed. The roof has collapsed and it has a severe lean towards the woods, so we plan on dismantling it this summer. Normally it is just an eyesore. Kind of a nostalgic eyesore, but still an eyesore. With the snows covering it and the trees around it, the eyesore part had been diminished greatly. While the house is not an eyesore, I do look forward to the day when we can update it’s look on the exterior. The fresh flocking of the crabapple tree on the side of the house, as well as the thick covering of nature’s frosting made for a very serene and beautiful look

My mornings are very busy now, with added work of the SnoScoop videos, so I was not sure if I would be able to clear the snow before my midday updates or after. As it turned out, I was able to move the snow before the midday. I sure do love moving a big dumping of snow with Big Red. It so easily eats into the snow and tosses it aside. Plus I am in a heated cab, listening to my favorite tunes with headphones on. I am not sure exactly why, but Friday mornings clearing was particularly satisfying. Perhaps it was because nothing went wrong! Typically operator error will cause some form of mishap to occur. Some very minor and others a little more complicated to remedy, but I have yet to bring things to a halt for more than a few hours! Anyway, it was just so fun to sit in the cab and guide Big Red and it’s massive blower through the deep snow.

All the Dee’s stayed put on Friday and Friday night. It continued to storm pretty bad and as the temperature dropped into the single digits, the snow was picked up by the wind much more readily, which also decreased visibility. None of us went anywhere during the day on Saturday either, but I did drive to Hancock to meet up with a buddy for dinner. The drive varied as I passed through the differing banding of lake effect snow. At times, I could barely see past my hood and at other times I was afforded the vision of a few hundred yards.

With the heavier snows, the critters- large and small, have all been on the hunt for food. Grace and Nora have been keeping the bird feeders nicely stocked and there always seems to be a few hanging out there

Last week, before the snows and cold hit, I moved the new satellite setup from Starlink (cha-ching) to give it a better look at the north sky and it’s performance has improved a bunch. When it was in the yard next to the shop, there were some trees partially blocking it’s view, but now it has a clear line of sight. I ended up putting it on the picnic table to get it off the ground and keep it from getting buried in snow. Good thing, as it would have been buried. Here is a shot of it from Saturday. The snow where the dish is represents what we got from Thursday morning to Saturday afternoon and the deeper stuff to the right of the dish is for the season. We have had more snow than that for the season, but it had melted and settled, so that we only had around 6″ on the ground before this snow cycle started. The dish produces heat somehow. I do not know if it is intended, or just a by-product, but enough heat is produced to keep snow from accumulating on it. When it is near zero out, a bit can accumulate, but still not enough to block the service.

Since the big snows arrived, it is also more pleasurable to look out into the backyard. To me, the yards really are the focal point of where we live. We do have plans to remodel the exterior of the house (as well as interior), but for now, I prefer to look at the yards rather than the house! The only problem with the deeper snow was that it was more difficult for Huck and Kashi to get around. Huck has some really bad joints in the back legs and Kashi has shorter legs. Bleau is like a horse and has no problems! Yet!

Yesterday I decided to take Big Red into the back yard and clear some paths for the dogs. That was a ton of fun too. I was grinding through the entire season’s worth of snow, but Big Red still was able to get through it without hesitation. I did not cut the snow right down to the lawn, but did clear enough to make it easy for the old guy to get around. The only downside was that I had forgotten that I could not bury the cable from the dish to the router in the house, so when I got to that spot, I suddenly saw the cable pop up out of the snow and begin to be pulled into the blower like spaghetti onto a fork. I hit the lever to disengage the blower from the PTO, but it did not stop in time, the cable was cut. Thankfully I was able to splice it back together and it is working just fine! It was a scare though, I’m not gonna lie! Incedentily, that was the reason why I did not write yesterday. I used up most of my free time fixing the cable!

 The game cam has been catching quite a bit of action lately. On Saturday, we had a burst of snow heavy enough to trigger it to take a picture. Also on Saturday it managed to catch a pair of deer doing their yoga exercises and earlier in the week, or friend the canid stopped by to pay a visit. I still cannot tell if it is a coyote or wolf. This latest shot of it looks like a wolf from the ear tips, but a coyote from the muzzle! Perhaps it will come around again and give us a picture that will settle it once and for all.

I guess that about does it for this one. Sure is nice to see the snow deep and getting deeper. We had some sun today, but Calumet north looks to get around 8-12″ tonight and early tomorrow. Might have to take a road trip to see the really deep stuff!

Good Night from the Keweenaw..