Sunday, March 09, 2008

A week in the life

Ah, March, the cruelest month. At least in Buffalo.

You get just a hint that spring isn't far away, and then you get slapped.

Let's take the last seven days. On Monday, the forecast was for temperatures close to 50. The actual high was around 63. People fled their houses to go for walks and runs in the park. The roads had tiny rivers along the curbs as the snowpack was quickly disappearing. In fact, by Monday night, the grass was more or less exposed everywhere except for areas that had man-made piles of snow on them.

Tuesday morning, it was already snowing by morning drive. So much for the grass. By midafternoon, there was an inch or two on the ground. Then at nightfall the temperature aloft went up just enough to turn a light snowstorm into a good-sized ice storm. Words fail me when trying to describe the sound of the freezing rain hitting the windows of my house at 1 a.m.

By Wednesday, the driveway needed plowing, if only to get another coating of snow off of the top of the icepack that had formed on the pavement. Thursday was calm, and the warm late winter sun actually did a little melting of the snowpack.

Now you know where the phrase "the calm before the storm" started. Snow was falling lightly on Friday morning, and the weather service was full alert status -- winter storm warning!. The light to moderate snow continued through the day (another snowblower run), leaving things a little slippery. By late evening, we probably had roughly six to eight inches on the ground ... with a forecast for heavy snow on Saturday.

The snow kept coming on Saturday (another snowblower run), interrupted by ice pellets every so often. That may have kept the accumulation total down a bit, but it was still pretty significant. A representative of the Weather Channel was in town on Saturday, which is never a good sign ("Don't you have a tornado or something to cover?"). On Saturday night the side streets were pretty messy; cars simply aimed down the middle and bounced their way to the main road.

By Sunday morning, the storm was gone and the sun was out ... but about 21 inches of snow officially had been left behind (one more snowblower run). That's a lot, enough to disrupt life a bit even in Buffalo, but at least the snowfall was spread out over more than two days so it was more of an inconvenience than an interruption.

I'm fond of saying that snow totals after March 1 don't bother me too much because I know they won't be around for two months. This week tested my resolve.

A warming trend is forecast for the rest of the week. I'm not getting my baseball glove out quite yet.

No comments: