In Western New York, we had what we like to call an “event” last weekend. There was a great explanation of what happened in the Washington Post on Thursday, November 17, the day it hit us:
Lake-effect snow forms when dry, freezing air picks up moisture and heat as it moves along warmer lake water. This causes some of the lake water to evaporate into the air, causing the air to be warmer and wetter. As the air cools and moves from the lake, it dumps all the moisture on the ground.
That’s what occurred. Some areas of our region, the ones to the south, were dumped with a good 80 inches of lake-effect (just learned this has to be hyphenated) snow, while other areas, including where I live, got, at most, three feet. (You can see the difference in the 2 images above; my sidewalk is the bottom one.) Three feet probably sounds like a lot to many of you, but we consider it a significant, but manageable amount.
Most of the “Buffalo snow” memes floating around social media over the weekend referenced an area a good half hour south of the actual city of Buffalo, but this is common.
It’s weather, which we all, as much as we’d like to deny it, find endlessly fascinating and extreme weather is the most fascinating of all. (We had guys from the Weather Channel in town.) It ought to be noted that of all the extreme weather events that could happen – tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, heat waves – snowstorms are among the most benign, as long as you’re in a heated place of shelter and stay there. I won’t even get into wildfires.
For my part, as we move into December and look ahead at the winter months to follow – through most of March, anyway – I’m glad to see the garden covered up with the white stuff and would be just as happy to see it stay that way for the whole winter. (It won’t, unfortunately.) The snow is insulating, protecting from frigid temps and wind.
Most of here in gardening-mad Western New York are ready for the rest from outdoor gardening. I know I am. There are plenty of other things to do – besides work – like read, take lovely winter walks and look after the houseplants and the couple hundred tazettas, hyacinths and tulips I am forcing indoors. Oh, and order seeds and plants for the season to come.
It’s also a great time to get excited about snowstorms; it’s kind of fun to be snowbound, though storms need to be serious to cause that here.
This is a time of year – for us, anyway – when weather is as much a spectator sport as football and hockey.
Here in SE Va near the coast the THREAT of a few inches of snow cause people to jam the grocery stores. It rarely lasts more than a day or two on the roads. Maybe once a decade or two we get a strong coastal storm that will dump 12-15”. Two days later it might be near 60 deg. Gardening season is quite long. I guess we get used to the weather where we have lived all our lives. It took my sister nearly 10 years to get used to living in Oneonta NY!
For those of us here in Southeast Texas, that accumulation of snow would be paralyzing. The three to six inches that we get in some years brings everything to a halt. Stay safe and stay warm!
Is it possible to still salvage canna tubers under such snow? Asking for a friend who lost track of time and suddenly found the garden deep in snow last Friday.
Oh sure. I wouldn’t wait too long to dig them out though.
I love the idea of snow. I even love to see it drifting quietly down. I do not relish digging us out. Why does it always seem to come when we need to go somewhere or have someone come?
But we are having torrential rain and now have a moat round the house. Yep – endless fascination, weather!
Originally from the PNW of Canada the idea of being snowed in once I moved to the Prairies sounded like a lot of fun. Well, if was for the first few days but very pregnant and ungainly, and unable to go out due the tons of snow and ice, it pretty quickly lost it’s charm.
Great report, Elizabeth. I’m old enough to remember the Blizzard of ’78, as we now fondly call it. It was the first time in its long history that the university I was attending cancelled classes for two and a half days. Pictures from the blizzard still surface up on social media around the anniversary of it, every late January. Good times!
Have they given this storm a name? The Lake-Effect of 2022?
After living all our family’s life in the middle Midwest, where a large snowfall was primarily considered an excuse to cancel school, my parents moved to Milwaukee for a few years and I spent some parts of winters with them. We discovered that the locals simply embraced the cold and snow with intentional winter fun. They dressed warmly, flooded their backyards to make ice rinks, went ice fishing or cross-country skiing (depending on whether they prioritized fitness or beer-drinking), and sat in snowstorms to watch football games (high school and college, not just the cheeseheads we see on TV). They couldn’t give up half the year to hiding inside while it was cold and snowy. And snow is a good insulator for the garden.
I’m with you, Elizabeth, hoping for snow cover the whole winter. Alas, here in central, nearly coastal Maine, we haven’t had a winter like that since 2015. It’s discouraging because it means ticks, weed seeds and all other disagreeable species still flourish – the ticks even come out in Feb. if it’s above freezing! Gardens do look nice under snow. I hope I see that more often this winter.