Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow Lobsters

OK, I'm really talking about "crabbing about another snow storm"!  Yep, another is predicted to be coming our way later this weekend and the complaining aka crabbing starts.  In case you don't have a good book ready, here's some snow reading:

Nor'easters are among winter's most ferocious storms. These strong areas of low pressure often form either in the Gulf of Mexico or off the East Coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Although they most often hit the northeast shore line, at other times, the term is used to describe storms that end up driving through the Midwest.

Snowin' Like A Banshee
This is a term Southerners use when they are caught in a blizzard.  Or as I like to describe:  high winds, driving snow, white out, snow flakes the size of houses kind of banshee.

Blizzards are characterized by low temperatures (usually below 20 degrees Fahrenheit) and accompanied by winds that are at least 35 mph or greater. Blizzards also have sufficient falling and/or blowing snow that reduces visibility to 1/4 mile or less at least three hours.  A severe blizzard is considered to have temperatures near or below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, winds exceeding 45 mph, and visibility reduced by snow to near zero.

Blue Norther
This is a Texas/Southern Plains term that begins with a strong cold front moving down the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. As this front moves into the Texas panhandle, winds switch to the north and temperatures drop markedly.  The term refers to the blue-black sky.

Snow Cannon
The machines that are used to make snow in areas where it doesn't occur naturally.

The stuff that snow cannons make.

Columns, dendrites, needles, and graupel
Shapes and kinds of snowflakes.

This covers varieties of snow that all but advanced skiers find impassable.

Finger Drift
A narrow snow drift (1-3 feet in width) crossing a roadway. Several finger drifts in succession resemble the fingers of a hand.

Pillow Drift
A snow drift crossing a roadway and usually 10-15 feet in width and 1-3 three feet in depth.

SnirtSnow that is dirty, often seen by the side of roads and parking lots that have been plowed.

Packing snowSnow that is at or near the melting point, so that it can easily be packed. This is perfect for snow fights and other winter fun, such as making a snowman, or a snow fort.

SnowburstVery intense shower of snow, often of short duration, that greatly restricts visibility and produces periods of rapid snow accumulation.

Come Sunday evening, I expect to hear some heavy conversation sprinkled with snirtting, dendrites, and crud.

Drive cautious and safe!  And if we MUST have more snow, let it be good packing snow - I've missed seeing snowmen scattered in front yards this year.

Thanks to the University of Illinois and NOAA for some of this data.   Also, check out my article "Snow Trivia" #266. 

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