Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘deep snowpack

Obvious Evidence

leave a comment »

Based on all the mice caught in our traps throughout the winter, it should come as no surprise that they navigate the harsh elements as well as long-legged wildlife, but I am always intrigued by the obvious evidence rodents are burrowing beneath the snow.

Despite the frigid overnight temperatures greeting me bitterly at each morning feeding the last few days, it appears one little critter was busy making tracks.

There is also obvious evidence of the increasing angle of sunshine and its growing influence by way of melting that is occurring despite the chilly air temperatures. That will prove to be a benefit when it comes to the threat of spring flooding. There is a deeper snowpack now than we’ve had in many years and if it were to melt all at once, flooding would likely occur.

There is an additional aspect that could dramatically influence whether we have any troublesome flooding this spring or not and that is the amount of rain that will fall in spring storms. Based on a recent video released by our county’s historical society, flooding from heavy rain can happen at any time of year. In 1942 there was a flooding rain that happened in September.



When I saw this video the first time, I realized I would quickly blame the extent of warming of our planet if this kind of flooding rain happened today. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen rain of the intensity described by Dr. James Vedder happen in the fall. But it did happen back in 1942.

Flooding rain fell in July of 1879 and washed away a mill and flooded my great-great-grandfather’s house a little over ten miles south of where we live now.

To me, this is obvious evidence that the steep ravines and many rivers of the “driftless region,” of which our county is included, are susceptible to flooding from heavy rain.

I wonder how many mice survive that kind of extreme weather.





Weather Intrigue

leave a comment »

It’s mostly quiet on the ranch now that we are in a pause between snowstorms. My latest solo week at home comes to an end tonight with Cyndie’s return from Florida. There were no spectator sports of my local teams to hold my attention yesterday but something else has been catching my eye.

Some interesting weather events around the world have been in the news lately. Did you know that tropical cyclone Freddy now has set a new world record for the longest-lived cyclone in recorded history? It formed early in February between Australia and Indonesia and then traveled all the way across the Indian Ocean before making landfall on the island of Madagascar.

What I find most intriguing about it is the way it floated back away from Mozambique and returned toward Madagascar before heading back to Mozambique again.

Another event that caught my attention is more news than weather. There were a series of more than 20 earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park yesterday. What are the chances it is signaling something bigger in the making? I never like hearing that there is a supervolcano under Yellowstone.

Back to the weather, how about the pounding California has been suffering with atmospheric rivers dumping crazy amounts of snow at higher elevations and flooding rains below? For a part of the country where they are desperate for water, now they are getting too much all at once. If a cyclone hitting twice seems unfair, I can’t imagine what it feels like to get flooded out in a place that is struggling with a water shortage. It’s some version of a double-jeopardy.

We have received so much snow in our region this year that forecasters are beginning to talk about possible spring flooding. The snowpack is having a noticeable impact on our temperatures, holding the daily high well below average.

I’m feeling very ready to have our snow melt away but I sure hope it doesn’t lead to a wetter than-ever spring season.

A really dry spring after a winter of epic snow? That would be intriguing.



Written by johnwhays

March 14, 2023 at 6:00 am