Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Rain

Big Changes

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Last Sunday, Wintervale declared a “Snow Emergency,” restricting any parking on either side of our driveway until June, but it looks like that will be rescinded very soon. The weather has changed in a big way, from cold and snow, to chilly rain.

The liquid precipitation yesterday made short work of the snow that had collected on tree branches, instantly changing the landscape views. The woods now have an incongruous appearance with so much snow still on the ground, but the trees all wet and dark.

At this point, the deep snowpack is absorbing the bulk of the water that is falling from the sky, but the situation should get interesting after a couple days of increasingly intense rain.

After the saturation point is reached, the water will start the great migration that ultimately takes it to the Gulf of Mexico. Can you say, “flooding?”

The glacier on the front side of the barn already has a lake forming on top, and the piles of snow on either side look like they aren’t going to offer an outlet any time soon. I may resort to a little creative drainage engineering to avoid the water choosing its own alternative route through the inside of the barn.

Up by the house, on the hill where I boasted about not worrying about flood concerns, I noticed the water running down the gutters wasn’t flowing out the end of the ice-packed downspout.

As a result, it isn’t directed away from the house, finding its way, instead, right where we don’t want it, along the foundation.

That situation shouldn’t last long, but in the land of freeze and thaw, I never like seeing any water pooling where it isn’t welcome.

Funny, how the landscaping which used to slope away from the house in November, takes on a variety of gradients after months of settling, being heaved by frost, and burrowed in by rodent pests. The results are rarely favorable.

Meanwhile, it is refreshing to have this glimpse of the next season making its rapid appearance. It’s WAY too early to expect such luck, but I would be thrilled if don’t have to plow again until next year.

On that note, I should probably make sure the lawn mower blades are sharp and ready to go.

Big changes are underway!

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Written by johnwhays

March 13, 2019 at 6:00 am

Not Surprising

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I received another weather warning on my phone last night. This time, it wasn’t about another round of plowable snow, but it comes as no surprise that they’ve issued a flood watch for our county. So, it’s out of the frying pan snow machine and into the fire hip waders for us this week.

Oh, joy.

We’ve got so much snow that our 3-board fence looks short enough in some spots that the horses could high-step their way over it. I think the only thing dissuading them from trying is the deepness of the snow on the other side.

We are due to get significant rain tomorrow and Thursday, without anywhere for it to soak in. There are bound to be a number of new rivers and lakes formed in the days ahead.

We’ll probably have the horses in the barn while it is raining, and the chickens will be given the option of venturing out at their own peril, but I’m not confident either of their structures will stay dry.

At least the coop is on stilts. The wood is shrunk from the dry winter air, so there are some gaps in places, I suspect, but it swells up nicely when it gets wet, so that just leaves drips from a few leaky screws in the roof panels.

The barn, on the other hand, is already suffering from areas that were once standing water that subsequently froze and rendered the two big sliding doors inoperable. More water on top of the old ice will not only make that situation worse, it will inevitably start flowing toward the lower ground available inside.

Thank goodness our house is at the top of a hill.

It is not surprising that they chose this spot on which to build.

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Written by johnwhays

March 12, 2019 at 6:00 am

It’s Possible

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Is it possible that the rising global air temperatures support higher amounts of water vapor aloft which can add fuel and intensity to localized weather events? Anecdotal evidence from my experiences certainly aligns with that line of thinking.

Today, we are granted a calm before the expected weekend punch of significant new accumulations of heavy, wet snow. It’s hard to know what to do with such a day. We don’t feel inclined to start any new projects while consumed by this looming distraction of an “other shoe about to drop.”

Who can concentrate when meteorologists are tossing out phrases like, “thunder snow!”?

“This storm looks likely to produce convective snow bursts Saturday afternoon and evening across southern Minnesota. That could mean thunder snow.

Snowfall rates may reach 2″ per hour for a few hours Saturday. Things could get crazy with lightning, thunder and snow coming down incredibly hard. If that happens, most of the accumulation could occur within just a few hours Saturday afternoon into evening.”

https://blogs.mprnews.org/updraft/2019/03/game-on-major-winter-storm-likely-this-weekend/

 

This storm sounds so intimidating, there was even a Minnesota Judge who issued a restraining order prohibiting any more snow in the state, “especially within Hennepin County.”

Of course, he was clear to communicate that this did not prohibit the storm from impacting Wisconsin, Iowa, or North and South Dakota. I suppose he did not want to seem to be ruling beyond his jurisdiction.

Weather forecasts being the educated guesses that they are, computer models show a possibility for some of Saturday’s precipitation to fall as rain, south of an indeterminate rain/snow dividing line. The restraining order doesn’t appear to include any provision for restricting rainfall.

Rain can really spoil a good snowscape, but if we get some of that, it will, at the very least, reduce the amount of plowing I would need to do.

Anything is possible.

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Written by johnwhays

March 8, 2019 at 7:00 am

Weather Delays

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What a day of travel we endured yesterday. Florida was experiencing a cycle of non-stop rain and Minnesota was getting smacked with heavy snowfall. It impacted our plans on both ends.

I took one last photo of the pool before we left, in the dreary rain, all covered up for the cool week ahead.

By noon, we were at the Fort Myers airport for our early afternoon flight. Unfortunately, it didn’t depart in the early afternoon, as planned. In fact, it didn’t depart at all.

The initial delay was rumored to be because of a wind shear situation that was preventing our plane from being allowed to land. It circled the Fort Myers airport until it was so low on fuel that it needed to divert to a different airport to refuel.

Eventually, after several delays that pushed it to a 4:30 departure time, our flight was ultimately canceled. The next flight that airline offered was going to be in a couple of days.

That didn’t work for us.

Cyndie contacted her parents and they were able to find us seats on a Delta flight that was to leave at 6:30. We had to get to baggage claim to find our luggage and then make a second trip through security.

We got a little nervous when that flight announced a departure delay, but it only happened once. This time they said air traffic control in Minneapolis was dealing with bad weather and pushing arrivals out. Once our plane was in the air, we figured we were done worrying, but there was a moment of discomfort when we got stuck circling a couple times before final descent was able to happen.

Initially, we only found one of our bags at MSP baggage claim, a process complicated by their announcing the wrong carousel for pick up. The clock was ticking for us because every minute of delay allowed the snowy roads to get worse than they already were.

By 11:00 p.m. we were finally in our car and ready to forge our way on unplowed roads for the hour-long drive home.

It was wicked. Visibility was poor, and the snow-covered roads were treacherous. As we got close to home, the wind was creating bumpy waves of drifted snow across the pavement.

Surprisingly, the harsh conditions only added 15-minutes to our drive home from the airport. Unsurprisingly, the horrible driving convinced me that I would not be making the trip to the day-job this morning, like I had originally planned.

Looks like I’ll be plowing and shoveling, instead.

That’s one way to welcome us home again.

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Written by johnwhays

January 28, 2019 at 7:00 am

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Snow Wrecker

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The worst thing to happen during snow season is a rainstorm. Dry snow is so much better than wet snow. Wet snow becomes slush after a time, and after the day-long rainfall we experienced yesterday, we ended up with nothing but a soupy slush.

The ground is frozen enough below the snow that water won’t soak in. Instead, it pools until the water reaches an outlet to the next lowest spot.

The drainage from the paddocks that flows across the back pasture was running like a river when Delilah and I braved the rain for her mid-day walk.

She made it across without much effort, but my big feet were going to make a definite splash. I stopped to gather my courage and plan my maneuver. Delilah busied herself with a face wash while waiting for me to take some pictures.

Everything I tried to do was made significantly more complicated by the umbrella I was fumbling to keep over my head.

As we neared the road on this typical trek around the property, I spotted the stump where our mailbox is usually mounted. That meant a snowplow must have roared past and tossed up a blade-full of the slush; a mass that packs more punch than my plastic mailbox can survive.

We found the box portion unceremoniously discarded upside down in the ditch, soaking up rain. Luckily, the plow had blown by before the mail delivery arrived, so there were no drenched bills inside.

Delilah growled at the odd scene as we approached.

I guess I kind of growled, too. Expletives.

The paddocks are a disaster of packed down slush, transformed into a dangerously hard and slippery wet surface against which the horses struggle to maneuver their hefty weight. We didn’t bring them inside overnight Wednesday, despite it ending up being the smarter thing to have done.

I brought them inside last night, with hope they might appreciate it even more, after their previous misery.

Even Pequenita was able to express her opinion about the nasty conditions outside yesterday, even though she is supposed to be an exclusively indoor cat.

Before the rain had totally destroyed the several inches of new snow that had fallen on the deck at the beginning of this weather event, I was preparing to light a fire in the fireplace. I opened the door to grab some kindling from the box out there, without noticing the cat had positioned herself right in front of me.

‘Nita walked outside before I had a chance to corral her.

Two steps into the sloppy snow, she just stopped. It was not a good day for an escape.

Maybe not good for her. Escape is pretty much all I want to do from this weather fiasco.

Rain has no place in our northern snow belt during winter. Bah, humbug!

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Written by johnwhays

December 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

Following Up

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Picking up right where I left off yesterday, the story is rain and more rain, and a raccoon that needed to be dealt with once and for all.

Tuesday was a crazy day for Cyndie at home. First, she had to move the horses into the barn for an appointment with Marcus to trim their hooves early in the morning. After cleaning up from that project, she started calling around to see what interest our local authorities might have in our ailing masked bandit.

Since no humans had come in contact with the raccoon, Public Health referred Cyndie to the DNR. They said they didn’t have anyone who could come out, but gave out the number for their biologist. They also suggested she could call the Sheriff.

The Sheriff’s office suggested she call the DNR. Figures.

Eventually, the dispatcher offered to pass on the issue to a Deputy who would call Cyndie back.

Cyndie said she was finally trying to have some breakfast around 10:30 when Delilah started a barking fit at the front door. It was a Deputy Sheriff.

The officer asked if we had any firearms. Nope. Then she offered to shoot it for us.

In her estimation, there was a good chance the coon was suffering from distemper. Regardless the affliction, ailing wildlife is not something you want around for other predators to eat, so she assured Cyndie that it was the right decision to call.

The Deputy elected to use a shotgun, so she could keep a distance. Cyndie said the weapon was almost as long as the petite officer was tall. After several warnings that the shot would be loud, the results possibly messy, that it would startle our horses, that it would be very loud, and that Cyndie didn’t have to look if she didn’t want to, the deed was done.

By the way, this was all accomplished in the rain.

The very kind and helpful officer stayed around to give Cyndie a hand triple-bagging the body and putting it into a closed garbage can for storage until our trash gets picked up.

One good thing about the rain is that it washes away any residual mess that might appeal to our dog on her many walks past that spot in the days ahead.

Delilah is more interested in the sound running water makes as the mini-waterfalls pour over the edges of washouts in the drainage ditch cutting across our fields.

Seems like that water is going to be flowing for days, so she’ll have plenty of distraction.

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Written by johnwhays

October 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

Soaking Wet

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A flood watch has been issued for a wide area around us through Wednesday because they are expecting we could receive between three or four inches of rain. It’s not that big a deal except, we are already saturated beyond belief. There was an inch in the rain gauge when I got home from work yesterday.

The trails are like soup and the drainage ditch is flowing like a spring melt.

At least our trees are going to be well hydrated heading into winter this year. That’s a bonus I’ll be happy to take.

I don’t think it’s rain that is bothering the raccoon that has become a permanent fixture in the grass beside our north loop trail.

We are leaving it alone because we aren’t sure if the problems it seems to be having might be related to rabies. There is an outside chance it was hit by a car and made its way from the road to that spot, but we are keeping our distance and letting nature take its course, regardless.

The first time we took notice was because it was out and about during the day. It was walking, although not in a completely normal way, and never moving very far away from that area on our property. After three days of seeing it out during the day, we surmised it was not healthy and started giving it a wide berth.

We are careful to keep Delilah on a very short leash because she is very interested in checking out the mysterious visitor.

I’m half hoping some other nocturnal predator might show up to carry the raccoon away so I don’t have to deal with it. If it stays in sight, I’m eventually going to need to check to verify it is no longer living. I’m under the assumption it will not suddenly recover, based on what I’ve witnessed thus far.

I’d like to relocate the body far from our trails so Delilah will no longer be tempted to investigate.

While researching to find out if our local authorities would want us to report possible rabies in wildlife, Cyndie came upon an announcement from September that reported a dead crow was found to have West Nile Virus in our county.

The concerns all seem to focus on actually being bitten, either by a mosquito or a rabid animal. We didn’t come across anything that indicated concern for the possibility of sick animals or a need to report on them.

Maybe all the rain will wash away any germs.

I bet that giant crayfish Cyndie saw a few weeks ago is pretty happy with the moisture. Do crayfish get rabies?

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Written by johnwhays

October 9, 2018 at 6:00 am