Monday, February 18, 2008

Spending Sunday in a floating, frozen world, getting ready for a blizzard that never came

The Floating World
Winter has been dealing us some double whammies recently, sending winter rains our way and then following up with an icy arctic blizzard that piles snow high on top of a frozen, icy substrate as hard as rock. Supposedly we were facing a similar scenario on Sunday, but the heavy snow never quite materialized. The rain did, however. Madison became a floating world Sunday morning, and streets were flooded all over town as ice and snow blocked storm sewers. So digging out the storm sewers was one Sunday project. Finding and getting to the sand to put on our walk after the expected freeze was another challenge.

After that, we pretty much stayed indoors and watched the floating world gradually freeze over. Eventually some of the precipitation turned to freezing rain, then a bit of sleet, and for awhile in the afternoon and early evening, snow. But the snow accumulation was far short of the 12" they had forecast, mainly because so much fell as rain. It was beautiful as it froze, but it will be hell on the roads during the Monday morning commute.

Monday Update: This winter is so weird that almost every weather event sets another damn record. Not only did our 3.5 inches of snow add to our record total accumulation of snow, now adding up to 83.7 inches, well above the old record of 76.1 inches, but we also set a rain record yesterday.
According to the National Weather Service, Madison received 1.36 inches of rain on Sunday, breaking the old record for the date of 0.47 inches set in 1975.
With all that frozen water under the drifting snow this morning, the roads were slick, with lots of slideoffs. One false move, and you find yourself embedded in a snowbank. Definitely a slow down and keep both hands on the wheel sort of commute. -- unless you're lucky enough to have President's Day off.

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