Thursday, February 26, 2015

Icy Winter in the South

25 years I spent living in Colorado so you know that means I lived through a lot of snow. With a birthday in February, I even learned to drive in the snow.  I've seen more than my fair share of snow. Snow in drifts, snow in blizzards, snow in snowmen, snow, snow, snow.  Then I came to the South.  (Yes, I know, Nashville is the Mid South, but stick with me here.)

One of the first weekends I spent in Tennessee, it snowed.  Oh, I thought, this here is lightly inconvenient.  Then I went for a drive.  I still have nightmares of that night.

You see, in this area, the cold weather doesn't produce the soft powdery snow that the Colorado Rockies are famous for.  Here, we get ice.  Then Sleet.  Then a touch of snow on top of that, and it looks so pretty, but under it is....deadly black ice. You don't drive on ice like this.  You shouldn't anyway.  What you do in a car is more of sliding and hoping that at the end of the slide you will arrive at your destination and without banging into any of the other sliding cars along the way.

This last month we had another of those storms come through.  I got out of the house just long enough to take a few pics, like the one above.  Look at that closely, it's got a full 1/2 inch of solid ice on top.  You can't tell, but every surface, even the sides facing the camera are covered in a nice thick coating of solid clear ice.

Here's another way to look at it.  See this tree?  (Again, my humble back yard.)

Here is a close-up where you can see that every branch is coated with ice.

When the sun hits these, it's like living in a fairy land, where the trees sparkle like diamonds. (oooo purrrrty...) The only problem is that this is as deadly as driving on the streets. Well, almost... When the ice gets this heavy, a simple breeze can cause trees to lose branches as the heavy ice tears them apart. They come crashing down on cars, homes and even bystanders. Some trees split right down the middle! Worse yet, when the ice starts to melt, the ice itself falls off in huge chunks causing damage to the aforementioned cars, homes and yeah, innocent bystanders.

We have a huge elm in our front yard which always scares us when it gets coated like this.  We're waiting for the day that it splits right down the center and causes us grief, or pain, or both.  Thank goodness these storms are usually short lived, and the ice is then gone and we can get back to enjoying our lovely 2 weeks of spring weather before the rain storm season hits.

Even with all that, I still love living in the South. I'm cold... But still, I do  love it here.

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