Here’s our winter doormat. Be careful what you wish for.

When our kids were little, it was normal for our area to have 6-8 snowfalls of 4-6 inches, as well as one or two snowfalls of 12-14 inches in a season. After 30 years of climate change, however, it has become more typical for us to have several snowfalls of 1-2 inches and maybe one or two snowfalls of 3-4 inches in a season. More snow than that in a single event is becoming unusual and, therefore, remarkable.

This winter has been a snowy one for a change. After a relatively warm November and December (we took our last bike ride on December 29), we had a few light snowfalls of an inch or less in January. Then the pattern changed. At one point last week, 46 states had snow cover on the ground. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Hawai’i were the exceptions.

January 27. We had four inches of snow. Whoopee! I love using my snowblower and this was enough snow to make a snowblower worthwhile. It wasn’t too cold, so I had a good time. Then Ted took a turn and used the snowblower to clear Jim’s driveway. Jim and his wife are 90 years old and they appreciate the help.

February 15. There’s a forecast for a major snowfall in our area. A big snowstorm always sounds exciting to me. There’s something magical about snow, and a heavy snowfall makes everything quiet and peaceful. It started snowing early in the day, but the flakes were tiny and didn’t accumulate much. By late afternoon, it started looking like serious snow. Our normal temperature at this time of year is in the mid-40s, but today we set a record for the lowest high temperature on February 15: 4 degrees. The previous record was 19 degrees in 1905. We didn’t just break that record–we smashed it! The wind chills were a vicious 25-30 degrees below zero. There went our dream of sitting in the hot tub while snowflakes romantically fell on us. It wasn’t a good day to go outside, but it was fun to watch the snow fall and to watch a movie with a fire blazing in our fireplace in the evening.

February 16. The snowfall ended, the sun came out, and we set another record low high temperature. This time, we made it to 5 degrees, probably because of the sunshine. The previous record was again set in 1905. Wind chills were still well below zero. It was so cold, the mailman didn’t even walk our package all the way to the door; he only went far enough to throw it to the porch. Luckily, it was a book and it didn’t break.

I bundled up in three layers of clothes and a sturdy pair of boots and headed outdoors, feeling like Ralphie’s little brother in “A Christmas Story.” My first task was to stick our trusty NWS “Snow? How much?” ruler into the snow to see how deep it was. Wow! Seven inches!

The weight of the snow made our pool cover sag, so pool water seeped through it and froze on the cover.

I took a few more pictures outside, but I could hear my snowblower calling my name, so I got to work. I always go up the middle of the driveway first so I can throw half of the snow to each side instead of having it all pile up ahead of my path on one side.

The sidewalks were a challenge. Because it was so cold and windy, the snow was light and the wind blew it across the lawn, making it impossible for me to see where the sidewalk ended and the grass began. The curves in our sidewalks added to the challenge of finding my way through the virgin snow.

The second pass was a little easier, but our snowblower is designed to work with a foot of snow or less, so 7 inches kept me going slowly to give my little machine a chance to blow a path for itself.

While I was using the snowblower, Ted was using a shovel to clear the places the snowblower can’t go–the back step, the front porch, and the corners. Two-and-a-half hours later, we had all of our concrete clear. Then we cleared Claudia’s driveway. Claudia’s husband died three weeks ago and we know she doesn’t have a snowblower. That was a lot of snow for her to have to shovel in a double driveway. Another neighbor with a snowblower cleared Jim’s driveway. Although it’s only 5 degrees, the sun is melting the snow residue on the concrete. Even a snowblower is hard work–especially with seven inches of snow to move. I was sweating by the time I went back indoors.

February 17. Guess what. We had another two inches of snow overnight. We got out the snowblower–again–and cleared all of our concrete–again. It was easier this time because (1) there was a lot less snow, and (2) yesterday’s paths were visible. It was still mighty cold, however. We had 14 days in a row with temperatures below freezing, and 10 of those days never got above 20 degrees.

February 18. The skies dropped another inch of snow on us. The temperatures are warming up, however, and with the concrete warmed a little from the sun after we cleared it the last two days, we knew this last bit of snow would melt on its own.

February 23. Talk about extremes!!!! Eight days ago, it was 4 degrees; yesterday we warmed up to 58 degrees and today it was 71 degrees! You could almost literally watch the snow melt. By the end of the day, it was gone, except for a few places where the piles were deep or where there was shade.

February 24. Today, it was 62 degrees–a little cool to put the top down on my car, but warm enough for Ted and me to take our walk in long-sleeved shirts without wearing jackets. With the snow out of the way, I can smell spring in the air. The snow was fun while it lasted, but I like warm weather much better than cold. Think spring!

Author’s note: Ted and I know how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy this major (for our area) snowfall with the luxuries of heat, light, water, and food. We give thanks for our blessings and offer prayers for those who are suffering because of the storms across the country, especially in Texas.

A local TV reporter presented a human interest story about today’s cold weather and heavy snow. In addition to the cold, hard facts (pun intended), the reporter interviewed some local people. The first person said he wished he hadn’t moved here from the Alabama shore. The second person said he’s loving it and “if it has to be cold, it should be painful.” It is. The wind chills are low enough to cause frostbite in less than 30 minutes of exposure.

The reporter told us there was no one sledding on Art Hill today (wind chills are 20-25 degrees below zero) and neither his car nor his cat would start this morning (video of sleeping cat). Local grocery stores closed early.

To amuse himself, the reporter decided to freeze some clothing. After freezing a wet sock flat on its side on the sidewalk, he used it as a boomerang. He also froze his T-shirt and jeans, but topped his flat clothing with a video of a woman’s dress frozen in 3-D (for lack of a better description) and standing on a porch. It looked like a scarecrow without a head.

The reporter closed by informing us that today’s temperature in Dallas is lower than it’s been in Anchorage all winter. Dallas had a high of 13 degrees today; Anchorage had a high of 23 degrees. Our official high temperature of 4 degrees today broke another 116-year-old record high for the second day in a row. The previous record for the day was (again) 19 degrees in (again) 1905. This time, though, we smashed the record by 15 degrees, not a measly 11 degrees like yesterday.

Our area has had temperatures below freezing for 10 consecutive days and there are 4 more days forecast to remain below the freezing mark. If we’re lucky, we’ll get into the mid-30s after that. Our normal high temperature at this time of the year is in the mid-40s and the daffodils and crocus shoots are appearing in flower beds. They’re probably hibernating under the snow this year. Polar vortex, go home!

Yesterday, February 14, St. Louis set a record low high temperature for Valentine’s Day. If you aren’t married to a meteorologist, that means the lowest high temperature on record or, in other words, as warm as it got. Here are the stats:

Previous record low high: 19 degrees, set February 14, 1905.

New record low high: 8 degrees, set February 14, 2021.

We didn’t just break the record; we smashed it! I’ll just mention that the normal high temperature on Valentine’s Day in St. Louis is 45 degrees.

Today’s forecast: 4-8 inches of snow. We’re right on the line for the heavy snow, so we’ll see which way the storm tracks.

The first of a series of predicted winter weather systems brought us freezing rain overnight. Luckily, we had only about 0.2 inches of ice and MoDOT treated the roads in advance, so they were only wet.

Our arborvitae trees felt the weight of the ice. . .

. . . and we had some pretty views from the front porch.

The ice melted before lunch and then the rain showers moved in. Light snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow. 2021 wants us to know it’s winter.

Google celebrated the December 21 winter solstice and the 600-year close conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter with a Google doodle. The next not-as-close conjunction of these two planets will be 60 years from now.

Reporters told me to get outside by sunset to see the conjunction because the viewing timeline was brief, so my watch time started with a beautiful sunset in a clear sky, followed by 30 minutes of waiting for the sky to become dark enough for starlight to show. At that point, it was easy to see the conjunction.

The TV weather guy said Saturn and Jupiter are so close to Earth right now that, even with a small telescope, it would be possible to see Saturn’s rings and the the bands of Jupiter. I don’t have a telescope, but I looked through some strong binoculars. I couldn’t distinguish rings on Saturn, but I could see that Saturn’s shape was oval, not round. When I compared my view to the Science Center’s telescopic photo of the conjunction, the oval I saw was in the direction of Saturn’s rings–in kind of a 10 o’clock/4 o’clock line. The binoculars weren’t strong enough for me to see Jupiter’s bands.

I took some pictures with my cell phone zoomed in on the conjunction and it’s possible to see the two planets very close together. Not Science Center quality, but not bad for a cell phone photo.

As Ted and I left for an evening bike ride, we noticed a thundershower (TRW) east of our neighborhood. The anvil cloud was stunning.

Our weather has been very hot and very humid, so we’re experiencing Ted’s favorite (i.e., easiest) forecast. He used to say he could use it nearly every day in July: highs in the upper 90s and lows in the mid-70s, with a chance of afternoon heat-induced thundershowers. Yesterday we had three thunderstorms–around 2:00, 4:00, and 9:00 p.m.–including some strong winds that left a lot of tree litter around the yard.

We saw some very threatening skies three days ago and had a thundershower that night too. The worst of those storms hit southeast of us. Two buildings were hit by lightning and went up in flames and four people were hit by lightning. They were playing soccer. One took a direct hit and is in critical condition; the other three were thrown to the ground by that strike. The following day, TV weathercasters reminded viewers that if you can hear the thunder, you’re close enough to be struck by lightning. We were lucky to have only rain and thunder, but the skies were scary-looking. The clouds were very black and dark–even darker than the most distant cloud in the lower photo–but my camera self-corrected the lighting.

A cold front from the north has stalled over our area at the edge of the hot air we’ve been experiencing this past week. Result: thunderstorms tonight. There were some ominous-looking clouds as the storm moved our way.

My phone camera corrected the darkness of the clouds. They were a very deep charcoal color (indicating high wind) with patches of a greenish color (indicating hail)

It’s officially summer in St. Louis. We’re having daily temperatures in the upper 90s with lots of humidity. Today, we hit 100 for the first time.

A National Weather Service employee posted a suggestion on his Facebook page.

Yes, twice in one day, we saw double rainbows. This one appeared a half hour before sunset, so it’s not as bright and the double bow is fainter than the earlier rainbow we saw.

Two double rainbows in 90 minutes–it’s almost like being in Hawai’i!

Thirty years ago, on Valentine’s Day of 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back one last time on its way out of the solar system and captured a picture of the Earth as a blurry dot in the darkness of the universe. The picture serves as a visual reminder of humanity’s vulnerability and the need for interdependence to assure our survival.

NASA released this sharper, reprocessed photo to mark the 30th anniversary of the image.

On Thursday, it was a sunny 72 degrees; on Sunday, it was a snowy 34 degrees. This begs the question: Is it spring?

Or not?

Normal humidity in St. Louis at this time of year is about 40-50 percent. Thirty percent would be considered very low humidity. (Information provided by in-house meteorologist.) On Sunday, our humidity was 16 percent at its lowest; 17 percent when I took this screenshot.

So what do you get in this area when the humidity gets that low? A fire weather warning! If it’s not one thing, it’s another. At least it wasn’t a spring tornado.

For 65 hours, Ted and I sailed across the Tasman Sea on our way from Melbourne, Australia to Dunedin, New Zealand. Just so you know, it’s pronounced duh-nee’-din. Dunedin is a Scottish city and its name is a translation of Edinburgh; therefore, the city is named after Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Tasman Sea is situated in latitudes between 40 and 50 degrees south–otherwise known as the “roaring 40s.” Farther south are the howling 50s and the screaming 60s. The seas in these latitudes have high winds and high swells because of (1) the rotation of the earth, and (2) the lack of large land masses to break the winds. As a result, our captain, who gives us an update every day at noon, has been informing us of 30-foot swells and winds of 40-50 knots (gale force).

We haven’t been in danger, but it’s been difficult to walk a straight line on the ship. Last night, my dish of dessert was delivered on a plate and, due to a large swell and the rocking of the ship, nearly slid off the plate as the server reached to put it on the table in front of me. The server caught her balance by putting her hand on our table, thus avoiding falling into my lap. On the other hand, everyone has been commenting on how well we’re sleeping. It’s like being rocked in a cradle.

This photo was taken from Deck 7. The waves look much higher from Deck 2 when they are closer to eye level. The large swell on the right is probably a 30-foot one. When the swells are 6-10 feet high, the water looks calm from Deck 7.

Some of the very large swells are wide and curled on the top. We can often see wind-blown spray at the tops of the swells.

We expected to spend today in Dunedin, but had a surprise early morning announcement from the captain. The safety level for us to enter Port Chalmers (the port for Dunedin) is winds at 35 knots. This morning’s winds were blowing at 40-50 knots–gale force–and there was no indication of a change in the weather. We were unable to safely dock in Port Chalmers and will not be visiting Dunedin after all. The captain made arrangements to berth early in Christchurch, so we’re spending another day at sea and will be arriving in Christchurch this evening.

Ted and I went to the port talk about Dunedin yesterday. Port talks are presented by the cruise director and give us information about the city we’ll be visiting. At 19 degrees (35 percent), Dunedin’s Baldwin Street was the steepest street in the world until 2019, when it lost the title to a street in Wales that has a 37.45 percent slope. Baldwin Street is short (1.8 miles) and straight. Each year, the Cadbury factory in Dunedin sponsors a candy roll of 25,000 Jaffas down Baldwin Street. The candy roll benefits three charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The annual event is called “The Running of the Balls.”

Today’s first thunderstorm hit as we returned from our excursion to Mataram. We had a break for a few hours and then the storms started up again. We’ve sailed past some of them, but they are continuing south of us.

We met two very nice couples at dinner and talked for over two hours with each other until the restaurant closed for the evening. After that, Ted and I sat on our balcony for awhile, watching the lightning and listening to the distant thunder. I took a few pictures of the lightning.

The storms are making the sea a little rough and our ship is rocking slowly back and forth. I’m hoping it will rock me into a good night’s sleep–just like a baby in a moving car.

Like much of the U.S., we had some bad weather yesterday. We were under a tornado watch and a wind advisory. Weather radar indicated circulation in the atmosphere near us, but Ted and I didn’t hear about any tornadoes, so I don’t think the circulation got beyond funnel clouds. That’s good news. The peak wind gust, measured at the airport 10 miles from us, was 64 mph. That caused some minor damage at our house.

We had a few fallen twigs in our yard, . . .

. . . and one of our lawn chairs was blown out of place.

Later in the afternoon, the wind changed direction, and set the lawn chair on its feet again.

Now we’re waiting for the wind to push it back in place against the house.

Jeff also had 60+ mph winds in northwest Montana last night, but his damage was a bit worse than ours. One tree was blown over and managed to take two more with it, blocking Jeff’s driveway. In addition, their area was without electric power for six hours–and Jeff’s house has electric heat.

As I write this, all is well for Jeff, his family, and their Thanksgiving guests. The lights are on again, the heat is running, and they managed to clear the trees that were blocking the driveway, using hand saws and their Honda CR-V.

Oh . . . all is good in our yard too.

In December 1998, Ted set two personal records for his last lawn mowing of the season: (1) He did it in December instead of the usual November; and (2) it was so warm, he wore shorts to do the job.

Today, Ted set another record for the last lawn mowing of the season. He had to mow through snow in the shady areas for the first time ever. Even more noteworthy, the snow has been on the ground for six days in spite of sunshine and above-freezing temperatures all week.

When Ted and I biked on Sunday, the high temperature was 67 degrees. When we biked past the National Weather Service on the MO Research Park of the Busch Greenway, Ted wanted to stop in to see some of his previous co-workers. While we were chatting, one of the forecasters told us they were preparing to issue a winter weather advisory for Monday. And so they did–just a short while after we left to continue our bike ride.

Those NWS forecasters were spot on, including the flash freeze–except we had more snow than expected. Compare our Sunday (high 67) and Monday (13 degrees) temperatures. I took the Monday picture when we went to bed. Overnight, the temperature dropped some more, down to 8 degrees at our house. The official low temperature (at the airport) was 11 degrees–one degree lower than the previous record of 12 degrees set in 1911–108 years ago!

After biking in 67-degree sunshine Sunday, we woke up Monday to falling snow that continued until late afternoon. The previous record for snowfall on November 11 was one inch in 1991; the airport had an official 1.5 inches yesterday, and we had 2 inches at our house. The average date for a St. Louis snowfall of at least one inch is December 21–more than a month later than this.

After the snow stopped, the skies cleared, the moon appeared, the temperature dropped some more, and a meteor streaked across the sky just before 9:00 p.m. Within minutes, people were posting security camera videos of the event.

According to NASA, the meteor was a basketball-size piece of rock that broke off from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter before entering Earth’s atmosphere. It passed near St. Louis just 59 miles above the ground and continued for about 70 miles before breaking into pieces when it was about 12 miles above the ground. The meteor traveled at 33,500 mph, creating a sonic boom that was heard for miles.

Ted and I didn’t see the meteor first-hand because we weren’t outside in the cold for the few seconds it streaked through the sky, but videos show a bright flash as the meteor streaked by. If we had been outside and seen the flash, we’d have probably looked at each other and asked, “What was that?” and the meteor would already have been out of sight.

The temperature didn’t go up much today, As a result, we also set another 100+ year record for the lowest maximum temperature for today. We made it up to 21 degrees. The previous record low maximum was 22 degrees, also set in 1911. The normal high for today is 58 degrees.

What a day, with record low temperatures, record snowfall, and a falling meteor, all within less than 24 hours.

Today we had our first hard freeze of the fall season and our first snowfall. We didn’t get much snow, but just 15 miles north of us, Troy had about an inch of it. It was definitely cold and blustery today with a low temperature of 30 degrees and a high of 37. The wind chill was in the low 20s. Tomorrow’s forecast: 53 degrees and sunny. Much better.

The only places our snow was visible was on the cold lawn furniture. You can even see a little bit of snow on the table top.

I had some shopping to do in downtown St. Charles today, so I checked out the riverfront. This is our (gasp!) third dry day this week, so the rivers have gone down a little bit. (We had two dry days, then rain, then a dry day today and one more coming tomorrow. After that, the forecast predicts rain for six consecutive days.)

The Missouri River is very wide right now. Beneath the trees and just left of the center of the picture, you can see the top of a park bench above the water. In 1993, the river covered the road and the parking lot, and stopped rising just before it reached the back doors of the shops on Main Street, about thirty feet behind where I stood to take this picture.
The Katy (M-K-T Railroad) Depot is above water now. The brown ground is grass covered with river silt, and marks last week’s high water point.
The bandstand still stands in water. If you look closely, you can see the water used to be three steps higher on the bandstand–almost up to its floor.

What a rainy spring we’re having! At the end of March, the TV weathercaster told us that the St. Louis area was already a full month ahead on rainfall for the year—and it hasn’t stopped. At this time, most river levels in Missouri are at their second-highest—second only to the record flooding we experienced in 1993. Levees are failing because they are so water-logged from standing water. St. Peters was under two tornado warnings two days apart just before we left for Zaque’s graduation in Colorado. Thankfully (for us), the tornado that hit Jefferson City the night before our trip dissipated six miles west of us.

As Ted and I drove through Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa on our way to and from Colorado, we saw standing water everywhere. Kansas has many new wetlands, and that was nothing, compared to Nebraska and Iowa, which can nearly qualify as large lakes! I-29 was under water from Council Bluffs, IA to St. Joseph, MO, so we had to take two-lane roads west of the Missouri River to get home. As we crossed the river at St. Joseph, we received a “tornado emergency” warning on our cell phones because a tornado was sighted west of Kansas City, heading for St. Joseph.

Everyone else was forced to use the secondary roads as well, so traffic was heavy. At times, the rain reduced visibility to less than a quarter-mile.

The day after we got home, we had another severe thunderstorm warning in our area. When it passed, we went out to do some errands, and saw this tree across the road about two miles from our house.

Make it stop! We want to have at least two dry days in a row so we can clean and seal our concrete, but we’re still waiting.

My college roommates and I are planning a get-together for Fall 2019. Our email exchanges have included contact information updates for some of us, mutually agreeable meeting dates, etc. In addition, each of us usually adds a line about what’s going on in our lives at the time. The current conversational thread is spring.

Eileen (Marquette, MI): The last bit of snow melted in our yard yesterday. Hurrah! Happy spring!

Me (St. Louis, MO): We live farther south than you, so have been mowing the lawn for over a month. Happy spring!

Leila (Madison, WI): As for the weather, …

Leila wins!

St. Louis is having a wet spring. One of the TV weathercasters said that, by the end of March, the area was an entire month ahead on rainfall for this year and April was wetter than usual. Now it’s May, and it’s still raining. Last week, we had more than 5.5 inches of rain at our house. The forecast for the coming week includes another 3-4 days of rain (depending on whose forecast you look at). Squish!

All that rain meant the water level in the pool got too high.

Ted is measuring for me. The water is only 1.5 inches below the top of the liner.
Here’s Ted, getting the hose connected to drain some water from the pool.
That’s better. The skimmer is exposed again and can get back to work cleaning the surface of the water.

We’re ready for the next batch of rain that will hopefully produce a more moderate amount of precipitation. At least in the Midwest, we don’t have a water shortage.

It’s spring, so it’s thunderstorm season in the Midwest. USA Today had a video of unusual upside-down lightning. It actually grows upward instead of striking downward. Wow! I wish I had seen that!

Ted and I were up early today and on our way home from Colorado before sunrise. It was a cold, sunny day.

The good thing about getting up early is watching the sun rise.
The snow-covered mountains west of I-25 were spectacular in the early-morning sunlight.
We saw hoarfrost during most of our drive through Colorado.
The trees at the eastern CO rest stop were decorated with hoarfrost.
The cold, snow-covered ground produced heavy fog for more than 50 miles in Kansas.
The high winds and heavy snow two days ago in Kansas gave us some beautiful scenery after the morning fog cleared.

It was a long day’s drive after a wonderful family visit. Tomorrow we’ll take the winter clothes out of our suitcases and replace them with our shorts. We’ll be leaving for Hawai’i–and a big change in climate–early the following morning.

Last February, I posted this cartoon.

This year, we in the Midwest called it “Wednesday.” It was cold in St. Peters.

It was even colder at my brother Tom’s house in St. Charles, IL (west of Chicago).

From inside his house, where he said he was enjoying the furnace, Tom texted me this photo.

Anyone can throw a cup of boiling water into frigid air to watch it freeze instantly. This girl was more creative–she froze her hair.

All the local K-12 schools closed today because of the cold, but we’re Midwesterners, so Tom and JoEllen went to an appointment and Ted and I went to our morning Pilates class. The rest of the class was there too, so we all warmed up with a good workout. It’s practically summer!

Tonight’s super wolf blood moon eclipse was beautiful. After a cloudy day, the skies cleared in time for Ted and me to see the eclipse. It was only 10 degrees outside, so we just checked it about every half hour and then went back indoors to warm up. The reality was much better than my phone pictures.

We could see the beginning of the eclipse from the front porch. Nearly half of the moon is already in the earth’s shadow.
The moon is entering the umbra and is already turning red.
Here’s my photo of the total eclipse. With the moon in shadow, the stars were unusually bright and we could see more of them than usual, even in our suburban ambient light.
NASA’s telescopic camera takes better pictures than my phone does. Awesome! I’m looking forward to the next total lunar eclipse in 2021.

Oh, happy day! Today we had a snow day with a total of 11+ inches of snow. At 33 degrees, the snow was too deep and soft for sledding, it was too wet for snow angels, and it packed too hard to have a snowball fight (it made ice balls), so snowblowing was my choice of outdoor play.

This was the view from the kitchen window when we got up this morning.
The holly bushes were snow-covered.
It’s time for me to get to work.
Happiness is . . . . Notice that it’s still snowing.
Once I cut a path, we could use our official NWS “Snow? How Much?” ruler to measure it.
When I finished, it was still snowing. We had another inch+ before the storm moved east of us, but the temperature was above freezing, so the additional snow melted on the cleared concrete.
Then it was Ted’s turn to play. He took the snowblower across the street to clear our neighbor’s driveway. Jim has difficulty walking, so we’re glad to play in his yard too.
Meanwhile, the kids across the street built a giant snowman. There was plenty of snow for it!
I built a snowman too, but on a smaller scale.

This was the fifth heaviest snowfall in St. Louis weather history, and next weekend might include another snow day. Yea!

We better put an extra blanket on the bed. It looks like we’ll set a record low tonight.

We had some weather excitement today: a wake low. I wouldn’t have known a thing about it if I hadn’t watched the TV weather report while I ate my lunch.

I learned that a wake low is a very special meteorological phenomenon, because: (1) only modern weather technology has made it possible to detect wake lows; and (2) they have been observed only in the Mississippi River valley (us), Florida, and the Great Plains.

A wake low occurs when there is a small low pressure area behind (i.e., in the wake of) a squall line, which is under a higher pressure area. As the squall line passes over low-level warm air, the air behind it cools (rain-cooled air). A wake low forms as a result of a unique rate at which the rain warms and cools the air, combined with a unique pressure difference between the high and low pressure areas above and behind the squall line. An identifying characteristic of a wake low is strong winds.

For those who didn’t see the noon weather report and therefore didn’t know we had a wake low, that means we had strong winds gusting at 50+ mph this morning in St. Charles County (us) and northern St. Louis County (Lambert airport), resulting in flight delays, some downed trees, and minor property damage. We didn’t have downed trees or property damage at our house, but we did have property movement.

This is our normal winter placement of four lawn chairs that we leave outside for sunny afternoons and firebowl evenings.
This is the wake low placement of our chairs this morning. Three of them found new positions.

In November, when the St. Louis area was hit by a 4-7″ snowfall (depending on where you live), I posted a front-page St. Louis Post-Dispatch photo of Mr. Burst , shoveling his driveway in his bathrobe.  I was surprised Mr. Burst didn’t even take time to put on his pants before going out into the cold.

I was even more surprised to see today’s paper.  In a special section titled “The Year in Pictures,” Mr. Burst made the front page again.  The November photo of Mr. Burst was used as the cover shot for the special section.  What a guy!


This picture accompanied the headline on the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the day after our big snow storm.  Apparently, Mr. Burst was in such a hurry to get his driveway cleared, he didn’t even take time to put on his pants.  Maybe he couldn’t wait to try out his kind of neat two-handled pusher shovel.

Today, the NWS had a winter storm warning out for the St. Louis metro area, predicting snowfalls from 4-7 inches, and we had about 4 inches at our house.  All the K-12 schools announced their closings on the 10:00 p.m. news last night.  The snow stopped around 3:00 p.m., the sun came out, and the temperature shot up to 46 degrees.  The melting has begun.

The snow looks like a soft cushion on the lawn chairs.  In spite of that, no one is sitting in them.

Finally!  After three years, I had a chance to use my new snowblower for a snowblower-worthy event.  The snow was melting almost as fast as I was clearing it, but I had to play with my new (?) toy.

The weird part?  This is so early for snow in St. Louis that the trees still have most of their fall-colored leaves.

We have six inches of snow in our forecast for tonight and tomorrow.  Ted and I went out to dinner tonight and our waitress told us her mother would call this “french toast weather.”  Why?  Because everyone goes to the store to buy milk, bread, and eggs–the ingredients for french toast.