The Ways of Weather

This morning I awoke to screaming winds and the sound of snapping tin outside. I quickly dressed in warm layers and went outside to assess the damages. The temperature? About four degrees – before wind chill factor. The rhododendron leaves huddled like pups, curling their leaf-bodies inward around the central pod of each stalk. Branches had fallen and I was reminded that I am low on kindling. The neighbors lost a gutter (which I chased through the woods to retrieve), the tools along the shop had blown over, and the temporary skirt I placed around the base of the cabin had blown and shifted in the night. It didn’t take long to make everything right again but by the time I finished, my fingers stung from the cold and snot ran from my nose. I came inside to check the forecast.

It’s difficult to get a precise weather report for my exact location. Even Littleville, which is where the nearest post office is, doesn’t have it’s own weather station or come up on internet searches for a weather report. So I settle for SmallTown, NC which is lower in elevation and in the valley, rather than against the mountains. In general I find we’re ten degrees cooler than town but if you account for the high winds, rolling down the east slope of the Blacks, it’s a whole other ball game.

I learned that the peak gust on the top of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in the Black Mountains, was 75 miles per hour, creating a wind chill temperature of –44 degrees. Forty-four degrees below zero? Whoa. I did a little more research and discovered that in SmallTown, the wind chill temperature was ten below zero and a high wind advisory was in effect (and it remains in effect tonight as well). If it was ten below in town with wind chill, it must have been at least that cold and probably colder as I ventured out this morning to check the property.

It’s supposed to stay this way for several more days, then warm up a bit – relatively speaking. I love cold-to-the-bone weather but the way I see it, we should get some nice, powerdy snow in exchange. Something I can cross-country ski on. Something that lasts and doesn’t halfway melt during the day, then freeze with a coating of ice overnight. Something, well, more like out West.

Oops. There I go fantasizing about place again. Colorado ate a hole in me and the only way to fill it is to go back. I can tell that if/when I make me next big move, Colorado is where I must go. Dry. Cold. Crystal sunlight. Mountains galore. But that’s a long ways off. Guess I’d better plan a hike for this weekend.

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