Ramble with Storm: Archival snow, wisdom of crows & unfariness of graupel

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Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, our family’s mixed Lab.

It is hard to tell where one snow ends and the other begins.

We still have a big drift in the backyard from the biggest snow three weekends ago. I know that some of the snow from that storm still forms the base of the snow piles by the driveway.

At some point, it all blurs together and doesn’t really matter. The snow and cold just go on and on.

We caught something of a break this morning. Overnight it briefly warmed above freezing. That was a remarkable shift, considering that made it nearly 40 degrees warmer than yesterday morning.

It was warm enough to turn the last shot of snow to sleet and snow pellets. I was astonished to hear the wind pelting the office window with sleet while I worked around 5 a.m.

According to the National Weather Service glossary, I think I am using snow pellets correctly (even if I did not measure the pellets down to the millimeter):

Snow Pellets Precipitation, usually of brief duration, consisting of crisp, white, opaque ice particles, round or conical in shape and about 2 to 5 mm in diameter. Same as graupel or small hail.

That’s not the sort of thing, I can leave alone so I looked up the definition in the NWS glossary of graupel (I love that spell check automatically figures graupel is misspelled):

Graupel Same as snow pellets or small hail.

That’s not fair, just leading me back in a defining circle.

The morning, compared to the rest of this week, was more than fair.

And critters took advantage.

Mourning doves and gray squirrels scattered as the meathead and I came up to the house with multiple feeders by the bus barn.

The racket of Canada geese on the lake to the west carried all the way downtown.

It was our first visit to the town pond in many days (neither the meathead or I ventured that far in the bitterness of this week).

He loved it, his inner Lab coming out as he cavorted in the snow.

I suspect, the sleet and graupel have formed enough of a crust that when the next round of snow comes tonight and tomorrow, that they wind will have a flat surface to blow it into drifts easily.

Such is this winter.

Two doves fluttered out of the brush along the trail, formerly a side rail, above the south old clay pit.

At the grain elevators on the edge of town, a pair of crows battled into the wind, which was shifting west and northwest.

I always thought of crows as the smartest of creatures. Not sure why they were flying into the wind. Maybe there was a piece of carrion on a road somewhere for them to maul (or maybe they are smart enough to mull).

Back in town, the meathead did his usual round of going nuts when a snow plows passed clearing the downtown area of Stations Street.

A pair of doves whistled off from the evergreens across from the bus barn.

Back home, a gray squirrel loped across the street. The temperature was again dropping below freezing on winds shifting toward the arctic directions.

Everyone is out, at least until the next round of winter settles in for a long stay next week.


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