The beginning of the new year has started a new trend in our weather. Cold and snowy. We are currently in the middle of one of the coldest cold snaps (close to the top 10 for Columbia), and from the period of January 1 - 8, our mean temperature is a mere 9.8°.
A low pressure system plunged SE on Wednesday, January 6. In the morning, the system was centered in South Dakota, and by 2:50 p.m., we started to see our first flakes fly. The line of snow had to push through the area by about 50 miles before the snow could saturate the lower layer of the atmosphere and reach the ground. With the sub-freezing temperatures we experienced prior to this (we hadn't seen above-freezing temps since 12/31), the snow stuck quickly and the roads got slick in a hurry. Of course, folks in Missouri really freak out when snow hits the roads. Many people don't realize that you can't drive the same in all conditions.
The snow continued at a moderate rate throughout the night. I went to bed around 10:30 p.m. (late for me) before the winds picked up. We had right at 2.0" of light, fluffy snow. The flakes were beautiful, perfect dendritic works of art. The true work of a master craftsman.
By morning, the scene had changed quite a bit. After the strong low pressure system pushed through, the backside brought strong NW winds gusting around 30 mph. I have picures to share with you, and will add them to this post early next week. The houses in the neighborhood created wind tunnels and provided some wonderful drifts between and around them. This made measurement a nightmare!
How in the world do you measure such a snow??
I went around, taking multiple measurements...some were 1/2", some over 12". I finally decided to let math do the work for me. Using the data from the KCOU station at the Columbia Regional Airport, I calculated the snow density, and using my melted snow from this station, I figured up a number of 5.4". This turned out to be close to the average of all my measurements, so that's the figure I went with. Not as quantitative as I wish, but it's the best I could do! If any old hats have any suggestions for measuring blowing snow, I'd be happy to learn more. Our snow density was 20 : 1
Here's a rundown of this month's temperatures so far:
1/1: 20 10
1/2: 18 0
1/3: 15 2
1/4: 16 -3
1/5: 21 -2
1/6: 24 3
1/7: 19 1
1/8: 10 2
It has snowed 5 of the past 8 days. It's turning out to be a beautiful winter. Look for updates including pictures early next week.