Monday, January 23, 2017

A Little Report on Our January Storms

Intellicast radar image from 23Jan2017, approx 6:10 am, PST.
Our latest atmospheric river is passing through the area and will probably be gone by tomorrow (for more detail about the atmospheric rivers we've been subject to so far this January, see Garry Hayes' excellent live blogging of the storms here).

It was just three days ago, and this current ongoing storm or set of storms had just dumped an additional 8 inches in our area, which is at about 4560 ft (1890 m) in what is essentially the northern Sierra. The snow was wet and heavy, and had fallen on a base that included wet slush in places and thick snow drifts in others. I thought I'd better head out back to knock the weighty stuff off our fairly young fruit trees.
The gate to the back yard was frozen shut, so I went through our gazebo.
Small fir and pine trees weighed down by ice and snow.
A large cable spool.
As I tramped around in the back, shaking trunks and branches to knock snow off the thin limbs, I post-holed into the snow over the tops of my pack boots, to a depth of about 17 inches. Later measurements of this snow showed that the backyard was covered with about 24 inches.

After my backyard expedition was over, I wandered around taking a few pictures.
Snow on a rickety-looking ladder in our construction area.
A mini-avalanche on the roof from snow falling off a pine tree.
The road in front, not yet plowed, with tire and ski tracks.
Pine branches with snow.
Pine tree with needles plastered with ice and snow.
More plastering.
As I walked around, the temperatures were starting to rise, and large clumps of snow and ice started cascading off the trees. I became fascinated by this process and managed to get a number of action pictures.
The falling clumps drove me under some of our scaffolding structures.
Mostly protected from the falling snow, I felt a little more secure in getting photos without having myself and the camera caught by the falls.

Here I'm still under the scaffolding, looking up at a few large clumps of ice and snow that remain near the top of this pine tree, the same one that created the tiny avalanche above.
Finally, my patience in standing and waiting with camera poised was rewarded with a sizable fall.
One clump remains at the very tip-top of the tree, but it was time to go in to warm up hands and have a cup of coffee.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Notes from the North: Rime Ice and Birds

Well, it's weeks later, and I'm not up in the far northlands of Southcentral AK anymore (but instead am in the snowy middle-lands of the West), but indeed, the sun did come out the day after I took the ice and snow photos of my last post, and the trees, especially the deciduous trees, were covered with inch-plus-thick rime ice.
There were birds hanging out, in the birch trees especially, though we can't see them here—at least not clearly.
A tree partly in shadow.
Ice and snow on the back fence. Sparkling. Glittering.
Soft rime ice (from days of ice fog) on a shrubby tree.
Some ducks flew by overhead, as did a few ravens.
More trees!
Ice covered trees and icy cirrus clouds.
And here we can see a few of the birds.
These are Bohemian waxwings.
There were huge flocks of the waxwings hanging out in the tops of the birch trees, and until I got these close-ups, we didn't know what they were. These are fairly common in Southcentral, though I don't think I had seen them up there for a few years.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Notes from the North: Snow and Ice

It's been icy cold in the far northlands, with temperatures hovering not too far above zero for several days. The snow isn't really all that deep, only 8 inches in the back yard, but it's covering everything and hanging fairly heavy on the trees.
Snow on black spruce.
Looking upward, we can see ice crystals frozen on to the needles.
It was about 3°F when I was out taking these photos.
Ice crystals on the twigs of a deciduous tree.
Ice is a mineral of the hexagonal crystal system. The crystals in this photo consist mostly of needles and plates, probably a combination of of soft rime ice and hoarfrost.

I'm hoping for some sun today so I can take more photos of the ice-laden trees.