This year will be the
first full moon to occur on the winter solstice, Dec.22, in over 100 years.
The winter solstice is commonly called the first day of winter. Since
a full moon on the winter solstice occurred in conjunction with a lunar
perigee (point in the moon's orbit that is closest to Earth) the moon will
appear about 14% larger than it does at apogee (the point in
it's elliptical orbit that is farthest from the Earth).
Since the Earth is also several million miles closer to the sun at this time of the year than in the summer, sunlight striking the moon is about 7% stronger making it much brighter. Also, this will be the closest perigee of the Moon of the year since the moon's orbit is constantly deforming.
If the weather is clear and there is a snow cover where you live, it is believed that even car headlights will be superfluous.
On December 21st. 1866 the Lakota Sioux took advantage of this combination of occurrences and staged a devastating retaliatory ambush on soldiers in the Wyoming Territory.
In laymen's terms it will be a super bright full moon, much more than the usual AND it hasn't happened this way for 133 years!
Our ancestors 133 years ago saw this. Our descendants 133 years from now will see this again. I thought you might find this interesting! Remember this will happen December 22, 1999.....
I doubt we will see
it, except possibly through some lake effect clouds and snow, but you never
know. Conditions could be pretty good in some areas of the Midwest.
Well, guess that does it for now. Talk to you tomorrow and fill you in on the first ride!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
December 18 -
What a day! truly magnificent. No new snow, but after a frigid early am (4 degrees), the sun came out and warmed things up. The southerly winds didn't hurt either! Had to go to town and get the hounds their food, they are kind of demanding about this having to eat every day thing. Was able to do ALL my Christmas Shopping in three stores and it only took 45 minutes! That's one nice thing about moving to a place where you can get cool things locally made, with a local flair to it. Can't say what I got, as friends and family read this, but I think all will be happy (if the pasty's don't spoil).
Took the hounds to the beach today, yes, the beach. I had been waiting for the first decent snow to fall, as I wanted to x-country ski the beach. The beach I have had in mind is on the south or east side of the peninsula, so it is sheltered from the gales off of the lake. It does not get quite as much snow, as the lake snow squalls don't always make it that far with their heavier dumps, but there as 4-5" down, enough to let me swish across the beach.
I was really a perfect day for such an activity, as it was cool enough to keep the snow powdery, yet not too cold to make my face freeze. Plus the sun was out and this also helped to make the temps very tolerable. Took the camera along and here is a shot looking south towards Keweenaw Bay and the Huron Mtns. This shot is is looking north on the return trip. I was glad there was enough snow to be able to return in the same tracks, as it makes for an easier time of it, just when I need it! We went about 2 miles down the beach and I can always tell when the dogs are getting tired, because they stop running back and forth and up and down and stay close to my side. It is their way of telling me; "OK, we're tired, time to turn around.". By the time we got back, I had two tired puppys. Here doggie number one, kicking back waiting for me to change my boots, and here is doggie number two.
There is something about a good exersise in the cold to really flush out all the bad stuff and make you feel refreshed both physically and mentally. The trip home was really beautiful, with high clouds beginning to float in, a sign that a new storm is not too far off. The snow piled up on the side of the road and flogged onto the trees like a birthday cake and also the crispness of the winter time northwoods air. This is a shot of the road on our trip home. Brings to mind the tune "Walking (or in this case, driving) in a Winter Wonderland".
For those of you checking in hoping to get a trail report. Sorry, I did hike up to the main trail with the dogs this morning. It was about as you would expect for the early season. Packed down, with some bumps. Not wash board, as there is not enough snow to create those yet, but not perfectly groomed as there is not enough snow for that either. They are set up perfect for when more snow comes. I would say another 8" and the groomers will be able to pull the drags. Based on the latest computer guidance, I would say we could be in for way more than that later Monday through Tuesday!
From a white and wonderful Keweenaw- Good night.
- JD -
December 17 -
Not much new to report on. I have officially started the count down. T-45 hours and my sled should be in the garage, or should I say - floating through the fields near my house! Snowed very lightly most of the day, but we did have a complete shut down in the falling flakes by about 3pm so that would make about 65 hours of continuous snowfall ended. We ended up with about 14" total for that period, although it was very light and fluffy towards the end and this stuff settles fast. Depth on the ground is about 10" and still settling a bit. I think that because we average 240" a year up here, most folks think that we just get hammered by big storm after big storm. Well, we do get our fair share of big storms, but much of the snow comes in 2-6" intervals a day. It just almost never stops snowing. It would be interesting to see just what the percentage of hours snow is reported to be falling up here from December 1 through mid March, but I would suspect it is close to 65-75%, which is phenomenal if you think about it. The other thing that is nice, is that most of that snow is 6-7% moisture content, which is that really fluffy kind. Not too hard to move around, except for the fact that where it gets moved to piles up fast. Another thing that is great about our climate here is that it rarely gets bitterly cold (below 10 degrees). Sure we have days that it remains below 10 for a high and nights that drop off to the 10 below range, but they also are not as common as our neighbors to the north, west and even south. The same mechanism (the big lake) that brings us the snow also helps to moderate the temps. Plus it keeps us cooler in the summer! Really quite nice.
I took a walk in the same place as yesterday, so no new pics. The groomers have been out around here and I hear they were out in a lot of other areas yesterday and today. They are going out without drags to pack down the existing snow so that we have a decent base for when the next new snow arrives. I would imagine that all we need is another 8" to a foot or so and the drags will be out as well. For those of you unfamiliar with the areas trail system, NO trails cross water, so we do not have to wait for lakes to freeze to have all the trails ride able. There are some low areas which are wet, but they should be freezing up in this weather nicely. I know the wet spots on the trail I walk along are just about all froze up and should be by tomorrow AM. The only trail crossing water is the one that uses the lift bridge between Houghton and Hancock. Last night the canal was still open as far as I could see. It might be in the process of freezing up, but my advice is to stay off it for quite a while. Lots of current and nasty spots to get into trouble on there if you don't know where to go. For now, suck it up and just use the bridge. Usually by mid January, the canal is ok to ride straight across, but I am not recommending this either, as there can still be slush and places to make you trip one you wish you could do over.
Guess that will do it for now. Talk to you tomorrow.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
- December 16 -
As I look out the window at the flakes gently floating down onto the fresh blanket of snow which has been getting deeper and deeper every few hours, I can only thank the powers that be which have allowed me to end up in such a paradise. It has been snowing for close to 48 hours straight now. At times not really more than a flurry, but still flakes falling. Our total on the ground is now close to 12", maybe even past that a little Right now we are in the showery, ending phase of the event, with snow falling very lightly most of the time and occasional heavier bursts of snow. At times you can even see the moon quite clearly through the snow. I had to drive south to Hancock this evening. Normally a 10 minute drive. On the way down, I encountered a snow burst of biblical proportions. Had to slow down to about 5 MPH and even at that speed, it was next to impossible to see. I would have stopped, but figured that would cause someone to rear end me for sure. Went through a small town (Mason) and could not even see the houses that line the road not more than 100 ft away! That's what I call zero vis! The squall passed and things returned to a more normal visibility of 1 mile or more and I was able to speed up to 50 MPH. What fun!
Today was also the first snow blower day. I know I will have tons of them living here, but it was a momentous "first time" event for me. Really happy with the machine, went through the 20" pile of snow pushed up by the plow like a hot knife through butter. Did not even hesitate. Had so much fun, even went over to the neighbors to do her drive so that she did not have to dig out just to pull in after a hard day's work. I realize I started a precedence here, but it took me less than 5 minutes to do her drive, and she's pretty cute too!
Of course what would a day be without a walk with the hounds. But first we had to run a few errands. One of these took me up to Calumet and it's sister city, Laurium. Here is a picture of the scene this afternoon in Laurium. Moderate snow falling, with vis down to about .5 mile. This one is of the hounds heading on a small access trail to the larger access trail. Here we are on the larger access trail, and this last one is yet another shot of the larger access trail. A snowmobile had been down the trail not too long before us, as there was not much fresh snow over it's tracks. Made for easy walking. Wish I was the one making the tracks! Sunday night it WILL be me!
On our morning walk, I really felt that I had arrived in the Keweenaw. I have thoroughly enjoyed my spring, summer and autumn months up here. We had tons of fun and I will enjoy them even more in the years to come, but the true reason I moved here was for their winters. Walking in the snow, with the muffled sounds of the activities in the neighborhood, I suddenly was struck with the feeling that I had arrived in the place I had grown familiar with in my previous 9 years of winter visits! Felt really good.
The Keweenaw is a winter wonderland, time to play! Thank God, Thank God, Thank God!!!
- JD -
- December 15 -
A nice step in the right direction today as I awoke to 2" on the ground, snowed all day. Temperatures were in the 32-34 degree range, so that which fell onto my shoveled driveway melted, other areas picked up another inch and then after sunset, it began to accumulate on everything again and we just went through a burst of snow for 2 hours which brought an additional 2". So the count for today is 5" new and still coming. The heavier lake effect will likely start about midnight and continue through about 6-8 pm tomorrow before tapering off to light snow or flurries for Friday and Saturday. At this point, it looks like we should get an additional 8-12" of lake effect from later tonight through tomorrow. The NWS-Marquette office is really conservative with this lake effect episode, with 2-4 tonight and 1-3 tomorrow. It scares me as we should not be this far apart. I have read their forecast discussion and why they are calling for the smaller amounts. I have to say I cannot disagree with one of their reasons, but do have a problem with another. Only time will tell.
Took the hounds out onto the snowmobile trail for a hike. It will likely be the last time we are on it as it will likely become too busy to safely walk down and it is really for snowmobiling and not walking in the winter. Took the camera along. This replacement takes better pictures. Still not as good as the ones which cost $300-400, but for $76 I am satisfied. Here is a shot of my house during the day. Note the nicely shoveled driveway. Tomorrow might be a snow blower day! Here is one shot of the hounds on the snowmobile trail. We started out on a section where someone had rode their sled on so it was nicely packed down. We got to a section where the snow was fresh and it was a lot of work to walk through, especially up hill. Here is another one of the trail. Here is one last shot of the trail, just in case you have not had enough.
Interesting to see the different snow removal schemes being revealed. Most folks who plow out their drive start out by plowing the whole side or front yard, pushing the snow to the far corner of the lot. Visitors here right now would think this is silly, but come late Feb. or into March, the snow is stacked up all the way from where it is being pushed now right up to the driveway. In the really big snow years, even these techniques fall short and the snow needs to be hauled away.
Well, think I will close for now, as I would like to update the seasonal outlook as promised. Maybe tomorrow will get to be a day when I get to update AL Cam more than once. That would be great!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
- December 14 -
A very interesting day to sit and watch mother nature go through her transitions. Overnight, clear skies and low level moisture led to dense fog in the valley. I do not know how widespread the fog was elsewhere in the Keweenaw, but we had it thick here. Temps got down to 19 degrees this morning. Now most would think that water freezes at 32 so why did the fog not freeze? Well, it has to to with a thing called saturation vapor pressure. Quite complicated thermodynamics, so I will not get into it here. But trust me, water vapor does not always freeze at 32, in fact it rarely does. What does happen is that as the water vapor touches an object which is below freezing; car, tree, fence - It freezes on contact, and tada! Hoar frost! We had quite a display of hoar frost this morning. Up to 1/2 inch thick on things. The frost did not discriminate and coated everything. The fog burned off quickly just after sunset so I was treated to a mystical land coated in a layer of thick frost, with the sunlight glistening through and off of all the miniature ice crystals. Pretty neat show mother nature put on for my morning breakfast!
The second act took place by midday and continued into the afternoon hours. The same low level moisture responsible for the fog created some fair weather cumulus clouds. These clouds are the puffy ones which fill about 30-70% of the sky and never grow to a level high enough to even look like they will create precipitation. This act continued, but the flow of low level moisture intensified and the clouds filled in and by about 3 in the afternoon, we were completely overcast. A good sign, as it means that things are coming together to produce precipitation.
The third act actually started in KY and TN yesterday and I have had to follow it via remote sensing (satellite & radar) overnight and into the midday. This act was comprised of a "vort max" (an upper air disturbance or energy, providing lift) and a deep feed of moisture off the Gulf and Atlantic. Anyway, this feature decided to do it's own little thing and track to the due north, instead of track to the east/northeast like all the computer models predicted. The result today was for an area of convective snow to develop over southern and central MI and then into east central WI. Convective snow is also too complicated to explain fully here, but it is a real bug to try and forecast for. Also very cool to be in, as the flakes are usually very big and it snows quite hard for a period. It was interesting to read the NWS forecasters discussions between each other to try and handle this situation. I was afforded the luxury to sit back and enjoy their trials and tribulations.
The final act to all of this has been to watch that area of energy and the precipitation it created continue to defy most of the computer guidance, and meteorological logic and track to the north, even northwest. The models seem to have picked up on this renegade area of vorticity's intentions and have now plotted its track into the UP later tonight and into tomorrow. This looks to give our snow potential tomorrow a shot in the arm. Good news indeed!
Our lake effect potential also has been increased due partly to this one area of vorticity and that is good news as well. Other than that, not much has happened. The hounds and I took our daily afternoon walk in the woods and there was still all the snow in the woods that there was two days ago. This was surprising, as in town, about half had melted in the past 2 days. After today, we might not see the ground for another 3-4 months. I'll tell you what, I won't miss it!
Good night from the Keweenaw
P.S. For those of you who want to know. The sled I bought was a 1994 Polaris Indy XLT Special.
- JD -
- December 13 -
The melt goes on. Still snow remaining in the areas out of the direct sunlight, but sunlight we had and temps rose into the upper 30's here in Lake Linden and I would imagine got to at least the mid 30's elsewhere. With the clear nights we are dropping off to the low 20's by sunrise and then it takes it until about noon to reach the point where any real melting commences. Then, by about 3:30 the sun is low enough so that most areas are in the shade and it cools back down and the melting stops. Tomorrow looks to be the last chance to melt anything for at least a week, maybe more. So that is encouraging. It's not like I did not know the melting was coming, but it is never easy to watch it go, as I'm sure all of the snow lovers out there can identify with.
Days like today don't seem too warm to me and for Chicago, in mid December, they would not have been. However, the average daily high temperature has been dropping about a degree every two to three days since mid October and our average high is now 25 degrees. So even though we only warmed to 35-40 degrees we were still about 10-15 degrees warmer than average. Comparable to a 90 degree day in late July or early August!
I have a new reason to be additionally anxious about getting snow soon. I just bought a used snowmobile today. It will arrive Sunday from the Chicago area via my brother and uncle who are driving up to come play. Maybe that is why we haven't gotten any ride able snow yet, as the good Lord knows how more nuts I would be going if we had the snow and I was without a machine. To tell the truth, there was always a few sleds I could have pulled the trigger on had we gotten ride able snow, but I wanted to hold out and see if the type I really wanted to get came along. It did, and I will be happy.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
- December 12 -
Did not mean to skip yesterday, but my ability to update my site was down and it was out of my hands. Not much excitement since the snow Friday early AM. I am currently undergoing a dry run for when I am snowbound and cannot drive my car. It broke on my way home from the post office. A couple of good things about living in a small town; One, there is almost always a local garage which does good work at reasonable prices and two; The garage is usually very accessible. In my case, both were true. The shop was closed as the mechanic was out hunting (black powder deer season), but I was able to speak with his wife and she said he will be able to get to it first thing Monday. I already know what is wrong and should not be too expensive. I am just glad that it did not happen when the hounds and I were off exploring somewhere far from home. That could have been a real pain.
The snow did not melt at all yesterday and only a little bit today. We did get to about 40 degrees and the sun was bright by the afternoon, but the low sun angle really inhibits any melting. Went for a walk down the snowmobile trail and there was very little melting which occurred out in the woods there. There were some snowmobile tracks on the trail, as well as several tire tracks form autos and ATV's. Not enough to ride or ski on anymore, but it was fun walking down that trail with snow on it, as it has been one which we walked on a lot this summer and fall.
The forecast looks promising by later Wednesday through the weekend for some snow. If this year had not been the "year of disappointments" thus far, I would think that is was a sure bet we were in for some decent snows. However, I have seen to many snow events indicated by the models, only to fizzle out as the actual event draws near. We are really coming close to this lack of snow having a serious economic impact up here, I pray the snow comes. There are a lot of very good people's welfare depending on it.
Talk to you all tomorrow-
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
- December 10 -
When I woke up this morning, looked out at the blanket of white we picked up (by surprise), all I could think of was my dream the other night! Really weird. I guess logic would explain it by saying that my sub conscience mind saw something in the computer guidance which made it think snow would fall when my conscience mind was thinking no snow. Anyway, really weird, but I hope I have some more of those dreams!
I took my Christmas picture today. I wanted to take it when we had a bunch (more than a foot) on the ground and maybe even when it was in the process of dumping (usually not hard to do this time of the year up here), but this year the pickens have been slim. So with time running out and snow on the ground, it was photo time.
We got about 2" here and 3-4" in other places of the Keweenaw. Only the northern tip escaped the snows and ended up with a trace to 1/2". It was enough snow to finally slow down the rabbit that has been teasing the hounds in my yard. They got it this morning. Did not harm it (except for maybe it's heart!), just held it down and gave it a thorough sniffing! I got over to them and let it run away. Glad they did not harm it. I don't want them running around spilling blood all over the place!
We went for a cross country ski adventure today. We went out the good old Freeda loop and that was an excellent call. 4-5" of fresh new snow. Several different tracks were all ready on it, car, atv, snowmobile, human and dog, but I managed to find fresh snow off to the side to break my tracks on. I did not go as far as I had planned, as I was suddenly using muscles which did not get that large of a work out. I have actually walked farther than I skied today, but that's OK, as I will get those skiing muscles in shape and be going for nice long jaunts into the snow. The hounds had a blast. I am not sure who loves the snow more me or them. They go absolutely ballistic when there is snow on the ground. Boy are they in for a pleasant surprise for the next 4 months!
Sorry no pictures today. Camera died. But not to worry, I was able to exchange it for a brand new one and the price had even dropped since I bought the first one, so I got some loot back! Cha-Ching! I will try and get out and get some photos tomorrow to show the snow we got.
Well, things are looking up. We have snow covering the ground. Not much more on the way in the next 4-5 days, but the extended period for the end of next week and into next weekend looks quite promising for a good old fashion lake effect dumping. Keep those fingers crossed.
Bye, Bye from a wintery Keweenaw.
- JD -
- December 9 -
Uh oh. I slipped, no entry yesterday. It's not that I forgot, I just ran out of time. We had our snowmobile meeting/Christmas Dinner yesterday evening and by the time I got home it was bed time. I guess it was all for the better, as I am still at a loss to come up with much to say. Kind of in a holding pattern I guess. We continue to enjoy walking in the woods due to the lack of snow, but the local population is really beginning to sit up and take notice of the situation. Cancellations could begin to materialize if the snow does not come soon. For those of you who have plans for up here in the next couple of weeks and are worried. Keep this in mind... Last year there was no snow on the ground up to December 17th. On the 18th, 4" was reported on the ground at the airport, three days later 14" and 3 more days later 29". So in less than a week, almost 2 1/2 feet was added to the ground and continued to pile up. Over 80" fell from the 17th through the end of the month! I'm ready for that!
The ground is still frozen and so are the puddles and small ponds. A trip to Houghton revealed the canal was frozen to the west of town. Still open water near the bridge though. No major warm ups are seen so I guess that any water will continue to become frozen, which is good. None of the trails cross water, but lots of folks like to shoot the canal rather than take the bridge. The sooner we freeze up that canal before piling on the snow, the better.
I can't think of much else to say, except that we are all ready and waiting for the "white gold". The record low for December is 10.9" I really do not want to break any more minimum records this year! Last night I had a dream that I woke up in the morning and looked out to see snow falling at a good clip. It was not suppose to be falling. I take that as a good omen. Back in 1994/95 I kept having dreams that I was up here and there was no snow. That year when we came up here, there was only 12" on the ground in the middle of January and conditions were really bad, as they were the only place in the whole Midwest (including other parts of the UP) that had snow. Maybe there is something to this dream stuff.
Well, guess I'll go and hit the hay and hope to dream of having to shovel off my roof every week or something!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
- December 7 -
Ok, now I'm up a creek. I still have nothing new to talk about and I gave up all of my little historical weather tidbits. So.... Well..... UMMM.......Oh, we had rather uneventful weather today! Cold, well at least seasonal. Highs the past several days have been in the low 30's and lows in the low 20's. Things are beginning to freeze. The ground is rock hard and most of the puddles are now frozen solid, even at 3 in the afternoon. No major warm ups coming soon so things look to be progressing well (for November 7th!). It looks like we'll see some real snow later Thursday and into Friday. Not enough to groom the trails, but enough to scoot across a field or through the woods on for a while. We might even have our first multi-update AL cam day! Yes folks, there might be enough difference in the snow cover between the morning and the late afternoon to make more than one update to the AL cam. Keep those fingers crossed!
Short but sweet, have a good one.
So long from the Keweenaw!
- JD -
- December 6 -
Well, I have been sitting in front of the computer for several minutes now, trying to think of something interesting to say and I am at a loss. Today provided lots of clouds for most of the day. Temperatures were in the low 30's and if there was any snow on the ground, we would not have lost it! How's that for positive thinking?! Took the hounds to the beach and had a marvelous time. For pictures, visit the journal entry dated November 8th.
I know what I can talk about... I mentioned yesterday that I did a little look back at the historical snow cover data for the Airport up here. Through the course of my study, it was interesting to note that there were three distinct patterns which occurred as far as snow depth was concerned. The most popular pattern consisted of low snow depths (generally 1-6") from the first of the month to about the 15th to 20th. Then the snow depth increased rather dramatically to the 1-2 foot depth in just a couple of days and remained at that depth or got deeper through the rest of the month. This pattern occurred in about 60-70% of the years. Another pattern which was apparent was one in which the snow depth started out in the 1-6" range and never really went much beyond that for the entire month. Depth did then increase dramatically in the first few days of January. This pattern seemed to occur about 10-15% of the time. The final pattern which emerged was one in which a deep snow pack (1-2 feet) was established by the first of the month. This pack then remained or was basically added to through the rest of the month. Again, this pattern seemed to occur about 10-15% of the time.
What does all this mean? Well, I guess it means that in most years, the deeper snow really does not come until about the middle of the month. This would seem to make sense to me as this is about the same time that the Midwest sees it's first real arctic air outbreak. I also noted that as a rule of thumb, whatever snow is on the ground by December 1st is usually only added to. In only about 2-5% of the years did a significant loss in the snow depth occur beyond December 1.
So there you go. More free knowledge!
I guess that about drains my noggin of anything interesting to write about for tonight, so before I say something really stupid, I will sign off for tonight.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
- December 5 -
A truly magnificent day today. Snowed lightly all day. We didn't get any more than a dusting, but old mother nature provided a subtle reminder that lake effect snow is still possible and that this area is the king. We had lake effect snows, all day, with just marginal conditions and were one of few areas that had it. I'm not greedy, I would love to see all areas get lots of snow, it's just nice when we are getting it here.
Took a good long hike up an old railroad grade which runs from Lake Linden up the hill to Laurium/Calumet. It will make a good secret playground this winter for ski, snowshoe and machine. I did bring the camera along and managed to take some shots. This first shot is of the trail itself. Of course, the hounds were too busy exploring to pose for me!
The next two shots are of some of the sights along the way. The photos do not do it justice and I am afraid my talents for expressing what I see are even worse, I wish that everyone readings this could have been along to see things. It was classic Keweenaw bush, lots and lots of hardwoods - maple, birch, a few ash, oak and aspen. The occasional grouping of pines and of course the mountain ash lining the trail down low. Puddles left over from last week's rains were in the process of freezing solid and a grainy dusting of snow covered the ground, attempting to paint the different colors and textures in a monochromatic white.
This shot is of one of the swamps in the region. Some of them are man made and some are natural. The natural ones are usually depressions or leftovers from beaver activity. They seem to remain intact better than the man made ones. This one seemed to be a combination of a depression and the man made grading for the railroad. It was half frozen, it will likely freeze solid this week, as temperatures at night will be in the low 20's and highs will be in the low to mid 30's. Getting closer to the norms! One last thing. For those snowmobiliers out there who see the swamps and head out onto them to fly in some fluff... be careful, most of the swamps have stumps sticking up about 2-3 feet. Some of them likely are only just covered by the snow and would end a trip really quickly if you were to encounter one. Have fun, but be careful!
I will close with this little tidbit. I did a little studying of the snow depths recorded over the past 50 years at the Houghton County Airport. I know that the depths measured here are generally smaller than which is on the ground in many other areas up here, but the data is extensive and I know the measuring techniques have been consistent over the years. I was looking for the maximum depth and the smallest maximum depth for the years. The all time maximum is 57" recorded on March 6, 1953. The lowest maximum for any year is 29". Recorded on March 7, 1964. Interestingly enough, the total snow accumulations for those years was 153.80 and 185.10 respectively. That is not a typo, the maximum depth was recorded in a year which received only 154". I was expecting the maximum depth to occur in a year which came close to setting the snowfall record. Learn something new every day!
Well, class dismissed, your homework is to go out and make the next 24 hours enjoyable for you and all you share your time with.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
- December 4 -
Cloudy, foggy, damp and cool. That describes the past 10 hours up here today! These types of days seem to subtract about an hour's worth of daylight from the day, as it takes about 30 minutes longer for things to become light in the morning due to the thick overcast and fog. Plus it gets dark about 30 minutes earlier for the same reasons. A cold front is about an hour away and things will clear up some once it passes. We could get even get a flurry or two, as a very marginal lake effect set up develops, but not looking for any accumulating snow.
Took a nice long walk up in the woods today. We took the same general route as in the journal entry for Nov 11. Up along the western ridge line of the Traprock Valley. Of course you would never have even known we were along the ridge line, as the visibility has been about 1/2 mile all day, but it was kind of neat to walk in the bush in that type of weather. Everything takes on a new perspective, with the gray backdrop. We stumbled across some old relics of the mining era as we neared Calumet/Laurium. No roof on the 3 story building and some of the walls knocked down. This would have made a cool picture, the ruins silhouetted against the gray sky. But I forgot to bring the camera. Actually I thought the weather would not provide much to see. I'll know better next time.
It is amazing how even on a day like this, this place is absolutely beautiful. The pure beauty of the hills and valleys, with all the trees, creeks, rock outcroppings and meadows. I really hope it is able to retain its current state, while still allowing for development and growth. There have been several meetings in the area regarding just that topic. I missed the latest one, but was able to attend previous ones. It seems like most of the others in the area share my same feelings that this place is truly special and needs to have some sort of a plan for growth so we can avoid some of the problems other areas around the country have. Nice to see people in the area taking such an interest in things. Even though all parties do not agree on all issues, at least there is concern and an awareness to what is happening up here. I think that the ones who are for unrestricted development up here should be forced to stay away for 1-2 weeks. Upon returning, they all would be able see how special this place is and might have a different opinion on things. It only took me about about 24-36 hours of being away to miss this place's beauty!
Well enough of that. Looks like an excellent night to stay in, build a nice big fire and take in some good reading.
Talk to you all tomorrow. Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
- December 3 -
I fear tonight's entry will also be a short one, as there is not much to report on. I have received several e-mails telling be to "hang in there" and "keep my spirits up". I appreciate the concern, I did not realize I was giving the impression that my spirits were low. I will admit I have been anxious for the snow to come for real, but it was not really getting me down, except for today. I do not know why, but for some reason, about midday, I just felt really depressed about the snow season thus far. I did some surfing to catch some web cams out in Colorado in the middle of a snow storm. That was the wrong thing to do, only made things worse, as the sights of trees and other objects coated with 6-12" of fresh snow really made me miss it that much more! I bopped over to one of my favorite reading spots, the general discussion board on trailconditions.com and there were several threads (discussions) going on about how the weather in the Midwest is bringing us snowlovers down. I have to admit, that was my medicine. It was hilarious to read some of the things these other frustrated people were writing. I got several good laughs and felt much better.
The day here turned out to be quite beautiful, lots of sunshine and temps in the 43-44 degree range. That is about 14-15 degrees above the average high for the day. I am not going to lie and say that this is one of those days that I will wish I had in the middle of February when we are buried in snow, because, I won't. If we are buried by snow, I am positive I will be happy with the snow and would never want it to be in the 40's and sunny. That does not take anything away from this day and what it provided me TODAY.
The hounds and I took a hike up into the woods by my house and the trails were much drier. It was a very pleasant walk, as the weather and it being a Friday afternoon combined forces to wash away any anxiety that was still running through my system. I had one of those truly blessed moments when you are about as happy as you can get to be alive and in the current place and time you are in. Almost felt like I was floating through the woods, rather than walking.
So for all of you who are worried I am in some sort of agony for the lack of snow, do not be concerned. I am excited for it to come, but also am able to make the best of what is dealt to me. The hounds and I will continue to take special pleasure in walking the woods while we still can. And will then rejoice when there is too much snow to continue to walk in the woods.
From a brown, but yet still beautiful Keweenaw - Good Night.
- JD -
- December 2 -
Not much exciting to talk about. Cloudy, cool, no snow, but another wonderful day here in the Keweenaw! I'm going to make this short and sweet, because I have a ton of e-mails to respond to. Lots of new net friends!
I decided to head off to the higher elevations and see if we could walk where there might still be some snow. We were in luck. Did not have to travel far, only to South Range and we encountered snow on the ground. Not a lot, but about an inch in most spots in the woods. It was really fun to walk in the woods with snow on the ground. Did I mention that my hounds like the snow as much as I do? Well, they do and they had a blast running up and down the trial in the snow. We were out for about an hour and a half and I walk fast so I bet we put on about 6-7 miles on the trail. With them running back and forth, they easily doubled that. Right now Bailey's is sound asleep at my feet and Burt is in the other room, also sound asleep. They are both snoring away, making me jealous as I am sleepy myself!
Here are a few shots of our walk. We went down the Freeda Loop starting out in South Range and heading out towards Freeda, got about as far as Obenhoff Lake. Picture uno, Picture Dos. Not a whole lot of snow, but only another 12-18" is needed and we will be in business!
From a sleepy Keweenaw, good night!
- JD -
- December 1 -
BON HIVER ! (Good winter)
I realize that astronomical winter does not begin until the winter solstice on December 22nd this year, but for us weather guys, December 1st is the start of meteorological and climatological winter so Bon Hiver!
Felt more like spring than winter today, as the little snowpack we had melted through the day. It hung on pretty tough given the temps reached the upper 30's to near 40. However, clouds did keep the sun from eating it too fast. There is still some snow in the woods, but most open areas around my house are bare.
Not much exciting to talk about except the fact that we were able to return to the woods. That was very enjoyable and we will make the most of it while we can. It looks like we will be able to walk the woods through the next week or so, based on the current forecast. This time, I will not be too sad when we cannot walk in them, as it will mean there is enough snow for the trails to be ridable!
Pretty messy out there, with the snow melting upon a fairly frozen ground. Lots of 1/2" deep mud! I'll put up with it, small price to pay to be amongst the tall maples, birch, oak, pine and fir trees! Did not see any wildlife, they must still be in hiding. Don't really know how that is that they know to hide during the season, as the only ones who get shot at are shot and die, and the other ones don't know anything is even going on! Oh well, I'm not a hunter and will not even pretend to know all the stuff about the woods and nature that those folks know.
Not much snow on the horizon, but not much rain either. I think that is what I will like a lot about this place. Once we get to Dec 1st, most of the storms produce snow and what ever is on the ground usually stays and is only added to. There are a few exceptions and the way this season has been going, could be one of the exceptions, but our average high is now 30 degrees and monitoring snow depth data over the past 10 years and studying the history going back into the 50's shows that as a rule of thumb, Dec 1 is when it starts to stay. Yesterday I mentioned something about the 6.4 degree temperature departure which occurred at the Houghton County Airport. Today I read where Marquette smashed the old record for November with an average temp of 7.7 degrees above average. That was 2.6 degrees warmer than the old record set in 1963 for that location. I don't know what the record for Houghton was, but I believe we had to have come close to breaking it or even did break it. One good thing, I guess, is that Lake Superior had that much more heat energy pumped into it, so when the cold finally does come, it will be that much more able to crank out the snow. That is a fact, not just some kind of wild dream of mine. One of the factors why lakes Erie and Ontario produce bigger early season snows is that they are warmer than Superior at that time of the year.
Anyway, I believe I will close for now, kind of a busy day for my real weather duties and I am tired.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -