I disembarked from the Queen Mary on her final voyage from England, landing in New York Harbor on March 13, 1967. That was 54 years ago. My family and I were met by my Mother and one of her neighbors who she had somehow coerced into making that 400 mile round trip from Fort Plain, NY to New York City. He had a big Ford Station Wagon, which incidentally, was the biggest car I had ever seen. It had enough room for himself, my Mother, my family consisting of myself and my wife and four kids ranging in age from 4 to 12 plus Melody, the English Cocker Spaniel we had brought over with us AND all of our luggage including a couple of large trunks that went on the roof. I would imagine that as an extra incentive, she probably paid him for his services.
We headed up the Thruway arriving in Fort Plain late in the evening and I remember looking in wonderment as the very large semi trailers towing another trailer, rushed by us, I had never seen anything that big on the road before and here it was commonplace. I quickly got used to it in the following weekes. That night, we had 13 inches of very wet snow. Like the tractor trailers, I had never seen 13 inches of snow before all at one time. Sure we had snow in the South of England where I lived but never usually much more than 2-3 inches at a time. I honestly wondered just what we had let ourselves in for.
I stayed in New York State for 10 years with it’s cold, snowy and generally miserable winters when circumstances including a divorce, another marriage and a job change brought me to the great State of Texas where I have resided in the Austin area for these past 44 years. That does not make me an expert on any subject neither do I claim to be a Texan but it does entitle me to elaborate my views on the Texas weather as now, I have 44 years of experiencing it. The one constant in Texas weather is that it gets bloody hot in the summer, Every summer. Not just the occasional one but every summer. It’s the one thing that can be relied on is that there will be an unknown number of 100 degree days. The record so far is 90 days at 100 degrees in 2011 but with the climate changing as it is, that could easily be broken in the next few years. Weatherwise, the Summer season will probably soon start around the May 1 and end somewhere around the end of October instead of starting June 20th and ending on Sep 22 as it currently defined. Hopefully, not.
Now, we have another weather extreme at this present time. here in Austin. Three weeks ago, following what had been a very mild winter, we had a very large (for us), snowfall of 3 inches or more. Follow the link to the blog I wrote about it here. It didn’t stay around for very long as there was not any cold or frosty weather to go along with it and was gone with no visible signs in 2 days. Except that is, for broken tree limbs and others things in need of trimming and clearing up. Now, 2 weeks later, we are in the grip of an icy spell for these past few days with temperatures forecast to plummet down as low as 10° Fahrenheit tonight and zero to 1° tomorrow and slowly maintaining the sub zero weather through the next couple of days. It will remain that way until Friday when it will finally get above freezing at night. The daytime temperatures will stay below freezing through Wednesday when it is forecast to slowly start to get to what we consider normal for the time of year. In our case 50’s and 60’s during the day. A little over a week ago, the temperature was up to 80 plus degrees.
We have had the occasional ice storm and freezing weather in the past but never for it to remain at or below freezing for more than a week and never for it to freeze all day as well. This is so unusual and out of the norm and coupled with the snowstorm of a couple of weeks prior, that we can only contribute it to climate change as man slowly destroys his own planet. Like I said, I moved from New York State, where this sort of weather is not a bit unusual, to get away from it. I remember going skiing once in the evening only to walk all the way back down the mountain carrying my ski’s over my shoulder as the windchill was something like 50° below freezing. I still got frostbitten ears even with all the gear on, facemask and all.
All of the brave flowers and plants that started their spring cycle will all be cut down by the frost and the survivors will have to start over. The fish in the ponds will survive as long as the pumps and aerators continue to function keeping the ponds ice free. It will mean that everything in the garden will need cutting back to clean it up. Wonder if I will be in the mood to do that or will I wimp out, again and give it to my garden contractor to do?
I hate cold weather and now as I grow older, have trouble staying out in 100 degree weather for too long. You just can’t please some people. When I moved from England, one reason that finally decided us was that it was always raining and I mean, always. Then I moved from New York State to get away from the winters where it was very cold and snowy. Now this. Where can I can move to next?
And now, as I look out of the window, it is starting to snow. What a hell of a winter and I mean that quite literally. On top of that Sandy, the little girl dog is mad at me because I would not take them walking this afternoon. I tried to explain to her that the roads are icy and I don’t want to slip and fall down but she doesn’t get it. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.
I am completing this the following day as that snow that started last evening kept on all night and we ended up with 5-6 inches of the white stuff. What is worse is that the daytime temperature is not scheduled to rise much above 20° and then drop again overnight to 2° by the morning. Tomorrow is not going to be much better as the thermometer will stay around the same as today and won’t start to warm until the end of the week. This also means that we are stuck with the white stuff for a few days. I hope that the roads get cleared although this part of Texas probably doesn’t have snow moving equipment as it is not the norm for us. I really need to get to Henly and check on the Eagle, my RV and probably change out the gas bottle. For me, this snow couldn’t come at a worse time.
This is a pano of the back yard. Very similar to the one 2 weeks ago except there is a lot more snow.