When I titled my last blog entry “just in time” I didn’t realize how prophetic it would be. After finishing the blueberry garden, the temperature dropped, preventing me from continuing with the next one. But, it’s Oklahoma, so the the temperature soon climbed to unseasonably warm weather, and I was back out building a second garden on Winter Solstice. The weather models were predicting a potential snow storm later in the week, so I worked diligently to dig the trench for installing the gopher barrier. As Christmas Eve day approached, weather predictions were getting dire but still uncertain.
Christmas Eve dawned and I could hear rain. I got up to check radar and the Mesonet data. The freeze line was still northwest of us, but it was slowly approaching. I got the dogs fed and walked, and quickly checked on our neighbor’s cat. As I locked up their gate, sleet started to fall. By 10:30 AM, the sleet was accumulating (photo right).
Just after noon, snow was mixing with the sleet and visibility was rapidly declining. The winds were over 30 mph and gusting over 50 in some locations. We recorded a gust of 47 mph.
Thirty minutes later, we had significant accumulation with mostly snow falling. At this point we were experiencing blizzard conditions.
By 4PM, the storm was officially called a blizzard, with blowing and falling snow, sustained winds over 30 mph and lasting over 3 hours.
By Christmas morning, we had received at least 6 inches of wet snow, and experienced the rare event of a white Christmas in Oklahoma (2% chance).
Now I know, all my Northern readers are saying: “Six inches? That’s nothing! Why I remember the storm of when we got of snow”. I agree that the snowfall was low, but the winds were incredible. It scoured the snow off the frozen surfaces and piled it into high drifts. All the Interstate Highways were closed and emergency crews spent much of the night rescuing stranded vehicles. I know of some areas where the surrounding fields are above the roads. Those roads filled with snow up to the depth of SUV windshields.
Our own drifts were 15 inches deep. Luckily not quite blocking the mud room door. The drift grew about two feet out from the wall all the way along the back of the house.
Not much damage to speak of. The latch on the front gate smashed off, but I can keep it closed with a bungee cord until it’s warm enough to make repairs. Other than that, we just have some fallen limbs to clean up.
There was considerable wind, even after the snow stopped, evidenced by the scrape marks left by the grass tips in the snow
The gardens I was working on are buried in a blanket of snow.
The planted beds have about 1 foot of snow on the east end.
Lots of drifting on the lee (East) side of the house.
The early morning light left beautiful shadows on the wind ridges in the snow.
The dogs were less than impressed with the aftermath of the storm. Although they enthusiastically played in the snow during the snowfall, they didn’t like the solid ice surface left on the porch and didn’t really want to venture out into the snowdrifts.
Instead they’ve been concentrated their efforts on the sheltered area under the peach tree, where the snow is very shallow.
But, it’s Oklahoma. Christmas day the temperatures climbed above freezing, and the melting began. We may even have 40’s by Sunday. Even so, it’ll take a few days to melt this much snow, so in the meantime the children of Norman can have some fun in the snow during their Christmas break.