Jan. 23rd, 2017 08:52 am
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Unseasonably warm, moist air, fueled by climate change, has settled over Michigan.  Because the ground is still cold, it means fog.  Dense, horrific fog.  For the last four days, we've been living in England.  It's thick, heavy, and dangerous.  Occasionally, in late afternoon, the fog thins or lifts entirely, but among trees, it stays.  We haven't seen the sun in days and days and days.

The blue jays are back, too.  Way early.  I heard them screeching and chasing each other this morning outside the bedroom window.

This is strange and odd, and further evidence of climate change.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
A few days ago, it was so warm we opened up all the windows and doors to bring fresh air into the stale winter house.  Every yard was warm and dry.  I even saw some buds on a few brave--and foolish--trees.

Naturally, with this came the Leaf Blower Brigade.

Yes, it was the middle of February, and my neighbors were rushing outside with their leaf blowers to get a jump on spring lawn cleanup.  The neighborhood was raucus with airy snarling and growling.  Really, I wanted to shove a grenade up their blowpipes just to stop the noise.  This =is= Michigan, after all.  What fool clears the lawn in February?

Sure enough, that very night, a windstorm blasted across Michigan.  Forty and fifty mile an hour winds upended everything that wasn't nailed down, and many things that were.  Trees toppled, and debris, debris, debris tumbled.  I felt a deep satisfcation as I saw my neighbors' newly pristine lawns become Nature's dumping ground.  Between the new leaves, pine needs, branches, and medium-sized trees, it looked like they hadn't done a thing.

But before they could get a grip on this, they were punished even further.  The snow arrived.

It hit all at once, promptly as predicted, at 9 AM Thursday morning.  Wet, sticky clumps that crashed down from the sky and turned eveery lot and lawn white in moments.

Rumors flew around school. They were sending everyone home at lunch. One of the other high schools had already canceled.  The superintendent had already decided to cancel school tomorrow but hadn't told anyone yet.

I told my students that in my 20 years of teaching, I'd only seen one instance of everyone being sent home early, and the district never canceled school for a single building during inclement weather.  "Anything's possible," I said, "but don't count on it until it happens."

Meanwhile, the Internet reported that the state captiol was shutting down for the day and county offices were shutting down for the day and the school district was canceling all after-school school activities for the day.  Rumors intensified.

During fifth hour, we got an email.  School was being released half an hour early.  (!)  This was to ensure the buses would be able to get everyone home at a normal time.  (Maksim's bus left way early, but he ultimately arrived home at his regular time.)

I called Darwin to tell him.  "You might want to close village hall for the day and start home," I said.

"I can't," he said.  "I'm swamped."

The roads were horrible and dangerous on my short drive home.  I texted Darwin to tell him he should leave ASAP.

"I'll be leaving at 4:30," he responded.

Ten minutes later, I got another text: "I'm closing village hall at 3:30."

A little while after that, I got the call--school is closed tomorrow.  It's only the second time in twenty years they've closed it this early for weather.

Meanwhile, all over the neighborhood, the same people who had been laboring with their leafblowers were outside with snow blowers and snow shovels.  I glanced at my own untouched lawn, which looked exactly the same as theirs, with a certain amount of un-neighborly satisfaction.


Jan. 23rd, 2016 11:23 pm
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
The great snowstorm missed us.


This is the third big snowstorm of the season to skitter past the Detroit area.  The first one slid past us and buried the Mid-Atlantic States.  The second one rushed up the west coast of Michigan's mitten.  The third one--this one--shot underneath us and turned north to batter the east coast.

This is very strange.  Thanks to the Great Lakes, all of Michigan usually gets buried.  But this year, we've had next to nothing.  A half-hearted blizzard in November gave us some ground cover, and since then--nothing.

My students look anxiously at the weather reports.  They want snow days, of course.  I want them, too.  Snow days are furlough days, and the school district has already reduced my pay by the five snow days we're expected to have.  If we don't have five snow days (meaning I work days I'm not paid for), they tack the extra on as added sick days next year.*

For the immediate future, we have nothing in the forecast.  A few harmless flurries, but that's it.  We got missed.

*But according to state law, calling in sick has to have an impact on your yearly evaluation.  The more often you use your contractually-allowed sick days, the lower your evaluation score. So the district will be giving us sick days we essentially can't use.  Hence the desire for snow days.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
It snowed!  For the second time this winter, we got actual snow.  I'd almost forgotten what it was like.  Wind raged.  Trees shivered.  Roads drifted shut. And, like Michigan snow is wont to do, the snow canceled plans.

Actually, we didn't get =that= much.  Only an inch or two.  Farther north was different story. 


Dec. 28th, 2015 04:00 pm
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
A major sleet and ice storm is sifting over us.  The roads are awful.  It's like walking on icy sugar.  I'm spending the day doing various thingies around the house and noodling with some writing.  Darwin had to work, but after seeing the various weather warnings, he said he'd leave early.  Well, he sort-of did.  He left at 3:10.  It's now 4:00.  I'm trying not to worry.


He's home!

Frozen Out

Jan. 8th, 2015 10:32 am
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
The wave of bone-cracking cold invaded Michigan. Our superintendent said he had a conference call with a meteorologist at 4:30 AM to decide if school would close, but at 10:30 last night, we got the call that school was canceled due to cold.  I am NOT going outside.

Final One?

Mar. 12th, 2014 11:53 am
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
Yesterday morning I learned of another impending storm--rain that would turn to snow.  Lots and lots of snow.  Six to eight inches of it.  Eesh.

We're already at our maximum number of snow days for the year.  Any more, and we have to add extra days to the year.  The students were all hoping for a snow day, of course, but we teachers weren't.  Not that either hope has any impact--the weather is the weather.

And this morning at 5:00 AM my phone rang. School is off!

It was dreadful out there, too.  Snow so thick it looked like fog.

I was still up early.  I made pancakes and hoped this is winter's final blow.
stevenpiziks: (Thunderstorm)
Today we've run through nearly all the kinds of possible precipitation: fog, snow, sleet, rain, thunderstorm, thundersnow, and yuck. Yuck is a mixture of all the above.

We were forced to head into a front of yuck so Mackie could make his eye appointment.  The roads were suitable for Sochi Olympians.  I crawled along, content to remain 10 miles under the limit.  The yuck shifted to full-bore rain while we were at the eye doctor's, and the roads had become merely wet or flooded.

Weird how the bitter cold can change in just a few hours.
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
I just got the second call--no school on Tuesday due to bone-cracking cold.  Right now, it's 7 degrees F before wind chill.

Just to show the insulating properties of snow--I have an indoor-outdoor thermometer. An outdoor sensor sends temperature readings to the indoor display.  The outdoor sensor is completely buried in snow, and it reads 32 degrees F.

I'm not going anywhere, thanks.  I put a batch of chili into the crock pot, and today I'm going to do rewrites, run on my treadmill, and play boardgames with the boys.
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
A great deal of snow keeps heading our way.  We got a bunch on Thursday, and then abruptly the prediction came in: a dumper (up to a foot) on Sunday with -25F to -35F temps for Monday, Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday.


I usually do the grocery shopping on Sunday morning, but since the storm was supposed to arrive on Sunday, I decided I'd take care of it on Saturday.  Darwin was over, so he went with me.

Man alive!  Based on the way people were behaving at the store, you would have thought we were getting six feet of snow with two inches of ice on top.  The parking lot was completely full, and cars were cruising around looking for somewhere, anywhere, to stop.  The aisles were filled with people rushing around like penguins fleeing a pod of walruses.  The bread was totally gone.  (Good thing I don't buy bread--I make it in my bread machine.)  There was a single gallon of milk left, and I got it.  One guy had a cart piled so high, he could barely see over it--and he guided it into the self-checkout lane. (!)

Darwin was a big help.  He took charge of the cart, which let me snake through the crowd, locate an item from the list, and snatch it from the shelf.  I brought it back to the cart like a retriever puppy, and we went on to the next section.  We got the normal groceries for the week, minus a gallon milk, and navigated the checkout lane.  The moment we pulled out of the parking space, someone snatched it up.  It was crazy!

The storm isn't supposed to be =that= bad.  But everyone was going absolutely nuts at the store.  And why do they always grab up extra milk and bread?  Why not extra fruit or yogurt or eggs?  Those items were left untouched.  Oddly, bagels and rolls and hamburger buns were fully stocked, but all the hot dog buns were gone.  What's up with that?  "Storm coming!  Stop eating eggs and bagels and start in on the hot dogs, everyone!  And slug down more milk!"

To top it off (so to speak), the gas stations were also totally blockaded.  Lines went all the way to the street.  That made me laugh.  Everyone is  worried about being snowed in and being unable to go anywhere, so they fill up the car.  Makes perfect sense.
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
I took Aran to his piano lesson, and was planning to make a little trip down to Ann Arbor afterward, but during Aran's lesson it started to snow.  Hard.  I checked the weather on my phone.  "Snow showers" was it said.  So maybe this was a passing squall.

Got out onto the road.  Stuff was accumulating fast, and visibility was poor.  By the time I got to the highway, the wipers were caked and I had to pull over to clear them.  Checked the weather on my phone again.  "Snow showers."


I headed back up to Wherever instead.  Stopped for a quick lunch with Aran, then stopped at the store for a few necessaries and for a more complicated puzzle for Maksim.  By the time we got back out, traffic was at a crawl, our car was half-buried, and visibility was down to less than fifty yards.  I checked my phone.  "Snow showers."

Drove the remaining distance home.  Carefully.

The weather on my browser home page calls for snow with "less than an inch of accumulation," but with a weather alert.  If you click on the alert, you get snow totals of 2" for my area already with more to come.  The forecast?  "Snow showers."

stevenpiziks: (Snow)
A few minutes ago, I bundled up and went tromping around in the Great January Blizzard of '11.  The snow rushed sideways, darting around the houses.  My footprints vanished moments after I made them.  The wind flung a steady stream of snow into my face and stung my eyes.  Trees appeared and disappeared in the near distance like monsters in a howling mist.  I shouted, but the wind shredded the sounds.

It was a relief to stomp back into the house.

White Doom

Feb. 1st, 2011 07:27 pm
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
We've been hearing about the mega storm for a couple days now, thanks to an overactive media.  Twelve to fifteen inches of blizzard-blown snow expected for my area.

The moment I got out of work, I bolted for the shopping area.  Picked up some prescriptions from the pharmacy, then headed for the store.  It was CROWDED--and not even 3:00 yet!  The milk was completely gone.  Got a few things I needed, then stopped at the gas station.  Maybe they'd have milk?  They had exactly two gallons left, and I grabbed them.  Sheesh!

At 3:40, I got a robo-call from the school district.  Due to the impending storm, all school events were canceled for this evening, and all schools were closed for tomorrow.


I've been working at Wherever Schools for sixteen years now, and never in that time have they closed school the afternoon before.  Very late evening and night, yes.  Afternoon?  Never, ever.

It's now 7:15.  The boys are fed, the larder is stocked, and the snow is just starting to come down.  Hard, stinging pellets.  Already buildings across the street are half-hidden in the dark and snow.  The wind is building.

Gonna be a big one.

Our Turn?

Jan. 30th, 2011 01:37 pm
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
The National Weather Service has just issued a weather watch for my area: big storm possibly coming Tuesday evening and Wednesday during the day.  8-12 inches of snow expected.  Eep!  Though considering what the east coast has been getting lately, is this merely our turn at last?
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
The Great Pre-Christmas Blizzard dumped 6.7 inches of snow on us (fump!), then blew off, leaving gusty winds in its wake (whoosh!).  And 542 school closings.  The call came at 5:00 a.m.  Snow day!


Dec. 12th, 2010 12:18 pm
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
Some big snow coming down right now.

What's it doing where you are?
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
Our first big snowstorm is on the way.  It's already causing conflict.

Kala was to have the boys this weekend.  She's leaving for Arizona in a couple weeks and won't see them much after this, so she's taking them this weekend and next.  Or that was the plan.  She picked them up on Friday, and I had a boy-free evening. 

On Saturday I paid bills and caught up on house stuff and then noticed the storm watch.  Big storm probably coming.  And then it turned into a warning.  Three to five inches tonight, five to seven inches on Sunday.  With much wind.  Great.  I called Kala and told her I'd come get the boys this evening because I didn't want to drive through that.

I did this, got home, and made out the grocery list for the next week.  Then I did the grocery shopping.  The store was all but deserted, which rather surprised me; I thought there'd be more blizzard stocking up going on.  Guess not.

Partway through, I realized I hadn't had supper.  On a whim, I grabbed some frozen crab legs.  They're a favorite, and if I was going to lose half a weekend, I wanted at least one treat.

Back home, the boys put everything away.  I went to work in the kitchen.  In a very short time I had a huge pile of crab and baked potatoes.  ("Why do you never buy these for us?" Sasha demanded.  "Because whenever I get seafood, everyone complains. These are mine, so hands off.")

They were very good.

Now we can watch the storm roll toward us in safety.


Dec. 4th, 2010 11:00 am
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
Snow?  What is this snow? 

It seems like every place in the world that gets snow at this time of year has been getting lots of it, more than usual.  The east coast has been hit, the Plains, Europe--snow, snow, snow.  Buffalo just got slammed extra hard.  But southern Michigan, which is also famous for lots of snow, has gotten none.  Oh, we got a light dusting a couple days ago and we're scheduled for a feathering of it tomorrow, but more than that?  Nope.  We have bare ground and chilly temps.  That's it.

So odd for early December.
stevenpiziks: (Snow)
You know, I'm discovering a huge side-benefit of moving to Wherever: I'm not worried about winter coming.

See, driving from Ypsilanti to Wherever in winter was often tricky.  I never knew if a medium-sized snowstorm might blow through and make the roads iffy enough for treacherous driving but not iffy enough to close school, or if a storm might brew up during school and make the drive home nasty.  Driving 50 minutes on iffy roads is just no fun, and every year I greeted coming snow with dread.

But now I'm only 20 minutes from work, and none of it is highway driving.  I'm only driving five miles on iffy roads instead of thirty.  It's a relief!  I can enjoy the nicer aspects of winter for the first time in years!
stevenpiziks: (Thunderstorm)
Saturday was tornado day.  Many, many issues about the house came up.  We're downsizing, which brings up a number of issues to deal with.  Sasha dropped two enormous personal issues into my lap, both requiring enormous thought and emotional drain to resolve.  I have three deadlines coming up, two this summer (writing is either desert or tidal wave), and the trip to Ukraine to prepare for.

After dealing with all this and still managing to write 1,200 words, I had figured on kicking everyone out of my life for at least an hour.  Naturally at that moment, the warning sirens went off.  A quick check of the local stations told us a tornado warning was in effect for our area.  Aran and Mackie were already in bed, so we got them up and brought them down into the family room, where they watched TOM AND JERRY.  Sasha was agitated--he had never lived through a tornado warning before.  Actually, neither had Mackie, but he wasn't awake enough to care.

Much rain came down.  Flood warnings came out.  I went upstairs to check the weather, which didn't feel like tornado weather.  Some time around midnight, the warning expired and we sent the boys back to bed. 

Only a few minutes later, the sirens went off again.

This time we read the warnings more carefully and learned that no tornado had actually been sighted, but clouds were sending down fingers here and there.  We elected to let the boys sleep and keep watch ourselves.  More rain fell, but no actual tornadoes arrived in our neighborhood.  At last we went to bed.

In the morning we learned a tornado did strike Dundee, about 30 miles south.  It tore up the indoor water park, Cabela's (a big shopping area for camping equipment), and a chunk of the town.  It missed us, thank heavens.


stevenpiziks: (Default)

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