Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's Baaaaack!

The warm weather of the previous week has ended. Last night the winds shifted so as to be coming out of the north-northwest and they are howling with sustained winds at 25-30 mph and gusts up to 50-60 mph. Sounded like a freight train throughout the night and continues through this morning. The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning that will remain in effect until this evening. With luck, it won't have to be extended beyond the 9 PM hour.

The culprits in creating this situation are a deep low pressure system over the Canadian Maritimes and a very high pressure system west of the Great Lakes. The huge difference in the pressures of these two systems means a narrow zone of very strong winds lies between them. And that's exactly what's passing over us now.

Accompanying these winds are bands of lake effect snow coming off Lakes Ontario and Erie. Normally such bands would not extent more than a hundred miles from the lakes' shores but the high velocities of these winds are pushing the bands even further out. We had a brief snow shower early this morning and the skies remain overcast and threatening.

The temperature immediately after midnight was around 36 degrees. It has fallen steadily since then and reached 22 degrees at 10:30 AM. We should not see them rise much above 30 today.

The local state park (Hills Creek) scheduled its Winterfest this weekend. Cold and snow are one thing, but the high winds will undoubtedly going to keep attendance down. I know it has discouraged me! They planned demonstrations on harvesting ice from the lake, ice rescues, and ice fishing among other things. They also planned to install some wood duck nesting boxes for which they asked the Audubon Society for assistance. It was for this reason I had thought to go out there, but they will have to do without my help.


The birds--or at least some of them--have returned to the free buffet. Easier to simply grab-and-go than have to forage for their own damn food, I guess.
Chickadees, Mourning Doves, White-breasted Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, Common Redpolls, Blue Jays, and Dark-eyed Juncoes--the usual suspects.

1 comment:

Shelley said...

Too bad you weren't able to attend that winter fest. This year we are going to move our wood duck box to a different location since we were not successful last year. Sounds like you are getting a good assortment of birds!