In theory, weather changes should not come as a surprise any more. We have far more reporting stations, we mostly understand how fronts move across the globe even if we can’t always predict precisely when and where they will arrive and with what ferocity. Those of us who live in rural and some suburban areas can watch insects and wildlife as well as the sky. However, depending on where and in what season, weather shifts may be subtle, quiet as Carl Sandberg’s fog, creeping in on “little cat feet.”
The wind shift line was half a mile north of the playa, as I discovered about three minutes after I snapped this photo.
This is one of the butterflies that are trying to rip the butterfly bush out of the ground as take-out. The last wave of cold air brought a torrent, and we are now in the midst of a monarch-viceroy-queen-frittalery-swallowtail storm.
The swarm of red-winged blackbirds has moved on. Doves have returned to the power lines in that stretch of road, although today I noticed one dove sitting away from the others. It had a longer, straighter tail, a shorter neck, and a speckled tan breast. And a hooked beak. A harrier was pretending to blend in with the doves.
This front is not a “blue norther,” for all that the northern sky did take on a different color as the bulk of the cooler air approached. I’ve had the displeasure of encountering a true storm of that kind when I was younger. Fifth grade, in fact, the year we moved to Amarillo from Nebraska. Since we lived two blocks from my school, and the high the day before had topped out at almost 90 F, I wore slacks and an Oxford shirt to class. that was at 0745. At 1530, the temperature had plunged to 45 F with a wind chill of 28 F. A very miserable Alma schlepped herself and Sib home two long, miserable, painfully cold blocks. At least the sneet had let up for a while, so we didn’t get drenched with ice. No, the babysitter would not have let us walk in rain, even two blocks, without jackets, but it was a very rude introduction to Texas weather.
As I sit and type this, the leading edge of the front is an hour to the south. The north wind coming in the windows feels cool but not to cold, and is much stronger than the southerly breeze was at 1115. There’s no dust on the wind, but I can smell a faint hint of smoke, suggesting that a grass fire is in progress, or perhaps a controlled burn north-to-south into a previously burned area. The wind should gust to 40 MPH before tapering off in time for football.
Autumn washes in on the north wind. The days warm to the 80s and upper 70s, but crisp nights remind people and other critters that the year is turning. The trees have begun exchanging green for yellow, brown, and a little crimson. The hawthorn haws reached peak orange this week. A flock of something migratory chirped and fluttered past the school this AM, and I would not be surprised to begin hearing the high, gurgling calls of sandhill cranes soon.