My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

After the snow

The tittle of this one is a little misleading, it should be “After the cold arrived”. We went through a several week-long stretch of it snowing nearly every day, but it would warm up enough to melt the snow at about the same rate as it fell. That all changed last weekend.

Last Saturday afternoon, temperatures were very warm for a West Michigan winter, approaching 55 degrees Farenheit (13 C). That night, a front passed through, along with some extremely high winds. There were gusts along the lake shore in excess of 70 MPH, and around here, the wind was strong enough to do quite a bit of damage. The wind peeled the shingles off from some roofs, siding was torn off from a few houses, and many power lines were knocked down by falling trees. With the wind came the cold.

As I was out for my walk on Sunday afternoon, my camera froze up as I was trying to shoot photos of something that will appear in another post. It was that cold, around 10 degrees Farenheit (-12 C), with the wind blowing out of the west at around 30 MPH.

It was much the same on Monday and Tuesday, although the wind was dying down slowly over time. On Tuesday, we set a record for the lowest high temperature for that date of 9 degrees F. At night, it was getting down to around -10 F (-23 C).

The reason for my rambling on about the weather is this, when will meteorologists stop relying on computer models which are flawed, and learn from experience?

The forecasts for the first part of this last week were for large amounts of lake effect snow to fall, several inches per day, the National Weather Service had issued warnings and advisories because of their predictions for large amounts of snow.

We got very little, just a couple of inches as the front passed through Saturday night, but very little lake effect snow after that, for a few days.

I know that I have written about this before, when the winds are as high as they were for the time that the warnings were in effect, we get little or no lake effect snow! The air crossing the lakes doesn’t have the time to pick up very much moisture when driven by winds that high! The high winds also “kill” any lift in the lower atmosphere, and you need lift to produce snowfall.

Late on Tuesday afternoon/early evening, the winds finally began to slack off. The National Weather Service cancelled all the warnings and advisories, and we got dumped on! Along the lake shore, there were times when it was snowing at a rate of 3 inches per hour, I know, I was trying to drive through those snow squalls for work. There were times when driving at 15 MPH was too fast, no one could see. People were driving off the road and into the ditches because they didn’t see the turns in the roads.

So it went on Wednesday as well, all told, we picked up over a foot of snow where I live, and well over two feet nearer to the lake from Tuesday evening to Thursday morning. That was after all the warnings and advisories had been cancelled.

This was not an isolated instance of the meteorologists getting it wrong. This happens at least once every winter, usually three or four times. We do not get lake effect snow when the winds are much over 25 MPH.

The meteorologists are college educated, and it’s their job to learn weather patterns. Yet, they rely solely on the computer models, and look like fools when they miss the forecasts like they do. You’d think that they would get tired of looking like fools, you’d think that they would learn from experience, but I guess not. If a weather geek like myself can figure this out, why can’t the meteorologists?

Don’t get me wrong, I think that the NWS does a fine job most of the time, but they sure seem to miss the mark when it comes to lake effect snow.

Anyway, here’s a few photos from this last week. I am going to start with a photo of the very rare, very deadly, albino tree snake. They hang in trees, waiting for an unsuspecting victim to walk under them, then the drop out off the trees to make their “kill”. Unlike vampires which go for the jugular in the front of the neck, the albino tree snakes almost always go for the back of a victim’s neck. If you don’t violently shake them off as you feel their cold fangs on your neck, they will slither down inside your clothing and wrap your spine in their icy grip!

Albino tree snake waiting to pounce

Albino tree snake waiting to pounce

Here’s a couple of a broken tree limb, I liked the patterns in the wood.

Patterns in wood

Patterns in wood

Patterns in wood

Patterns in wood

Of course I had to shoot a few of the snow on trees.

Snow on pines

Snow on pines

Snow on pines

Snow on pines

Snow on pines

Snow on pines

And, snow in general.

Snowy path

Snowy path

Snow

Snow

Snow

Snow

Snow scene at the creek

Snow scene at the creek

I’m not sure if this one “works” or not.

Strange

Strange

I couldn’t resist this one, even though it is very cliched.

Split rail fence covered in snow

Split rail fence covered in snow

There were a few birds braving the cold and snow (like they have a choice) within range of my camera.

Dark eyed junco

Dark eyed junco

Northern cardinal

Northern cardinal

Turkeys

Turkeys

Tom turkey getting worked up for spring already

Tom turkey getting worked up for spring already

I found out that 1/800 of a second at 10 degrees wasn’t enough to freeze the motion of a downy woodpecker!

Downy woodpecker

Downy woodpecker

But, it would freeze a fox squirrel enjoying the sunshine.

Fox squirrel

Fox squirrel

It would also freeze the Michelin Man in place, although I have no idea why he was hanging out in the woods like he was.

Natural snowman

Natural snowman

We had some beautiful days, despite the cold!

Sunny day

Sunny day

clouds

clouds

It seems that many people have posted photos of queen anne lace covered in snow, and being the contrarian that I am, I shot a few of it not covered in snow.

Queen anne lace

Queen anne lace

Queen anne lace

Queen anne lace

Queen anne lace

Queen anne lace

And finally, one that I hope I never see again, the aero-med helicopter on a run to pick up one of the many people injured in car crashes this last week.

Helicoptor

helicopter

I did get a few more shots of birds, but they are actually fairly good, so I am going to use them for photographic life list project, which I will get back to after this post. On that subject, I am going to cheat again, and recycle the photos of the pileated woodpecker that I posted a few weeks ago, so if you want to skip that one, you have my permission. πŸ˜‰

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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18 responses

  1. Vicki

    I really like all these photos.. especially the “tree snake” and the Cardinal..

    January 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    • Thank you Vicki

      January 27, 2013 at 6:57 pm

  2. Northern Narratives

    That albino tree snake must be related to the ice snakes we have here that wrap around your feet and pull you down when you are walking πŸ™‚

    January 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    • Yes, you’re right, I believe that they are both in the same family!

      January 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm

  3. Wonderful all pictures! πŸ™‚

    January 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    • Thank you!

      January 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm

  4. Nice shots! What balance that squirrel has-he isn’t even hanging on!

    January 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    • Thank you,I hadn’t even noticed that! I suppose that critters get really good at doing things that their live’s depend on.

      January 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

  5. Fantastic winter scenes you’ve captured here. I love the Albino Tree Snake ! The description of it is just priceless !
    I remember that wind storm! It blew through Maryland overnight and woke me up. I thought it was a tornado the winds were so strong. Oh, and the weather man?
    I pulled up the dopplar one night and it said it was pouring rain over me…not a single drop fell!
    Great post!

    January 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    • Thank you! It remains to be seen if the albino tree snake will become as popular as the drunken raccoon was a few years ago. I doubt it, the albino tree snake must have claimed a victim, as it was no longer there today.

      January 27, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      • πŸ™‚

        January 27, 2013 at 7:58 pm

  6. plantsamazeme

    We have had an outbreak on the Albino Tree Snake here along the lakeshore! They must come out because of the sun, I guess. Right now I hear a tick tick on the window, I think the ice is coming.
    Thanks for some nice shots.
    πŸ™‚

    January 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    • Being cold blooded, I’m sure that the albino tree snakes love the sun! I’m hearing that same sound on my windows, I think that it’s going to be a nasty night!
      I hope that you don’t have anywhere to go, stay safe.

      January 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      • plantsamazeme

        Just sitting here hugging the woodstove.

        January 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm

  7. Great winter scenes! That’s one cold squirrel!

    February 1, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    • Thank you, I’m happy to report that the squirrel did not freeze. πŸ˜‰

      February 2, 2013 at 1:44 am

  8. Wonderful snow scenes, loved the snow snake and natural snowman, you made me snicker! πŸ™‚

    February 2, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    • Thanks Donna!

      February 3, 2013 at 12:18 am