Two weeks ago, my part of the world did not have an ice-storm. Things worked just right so that the edge of the warm layer came down low enough in the atmosphere that we did not get super-cold rain that froze on contact.
It froze, but more came as rain, then as snow, and not too many limbs dropped from the trees in town. My hind-brain still shivered, listening for the sound of exploding transformers. Silly Alma, the utility company and home owners here trim their trees. And when the sun rose on the third day . . .
I had to go to work that morning, but a touch later than usual, for which I was very grateful. On the other paw, I had time to shovel the walks and part of the driveway. Win some, lose some.
I stopped by the playa I’ve been watching and took a few pictures. keep in mind, this is considered a “dry playa,” in that it has no open water in it at the moment. There may be some standing water in the center, in the sedges, but I was not tromping out to check. I have permission to visit, but not to go all the way into the inner ring of the lake.
The grass catches and holds the snow. Bunchgrasses and other native plants are not lovely even swards of mowed and trimmed fescue, so it takes at least seven or eight inches to cover the grass and turn the plains into a smooth spread of pure white, more or less.
By trapping the snow and holding it, drifts tend to be lower, and the snow soaks in better instead of blowing, piling up, and then drenching one spot while others are bare and dry. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t drift. The last “oh my gosh, where did town go?!?” storm was 1976, when snow drifted to the second story windows of houses in the far northeastern Panhandle. At a certain point, even the grass gives up. I’ve seen five foot drifts in the drive at Redquarters, and that’s well in town. A good snow is one that is wet, falls between December and early March (trees not leafed), and no wind. We usually get two out of three, and I’ve dodged a falling oak limb on occasion.