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The Seasonal Thread PostWed Jan 16, 2013 3:27 pm Offline
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Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:24 pm5686The Mormon Homeland
We're deep in the heart of winter now in the northern hemisphere so that seems like a cool subject to talk about (sorry about the pun). Do you hate winter? Do you love it? Are you okay with it? Got any snowstorm anecdotes? Like to ski or something? Ever get your car stuck? Are you Canadian? Anything wintery goes. Grab a warm beverage and cuddle up in a blanket in front of your monitor and regale us with any thoughts on the subject.

I'll get it going.


I've lived my whole life in Wisconsin, a state where winter is a way of life by necessity. I think most folks in "Souther" states would probably lump us northern tier states into that arctic wasteland called Canada, climate-wise. But living here provides one with experiences that don't involve frostbite and hypothermia. Some can be quite fun.

I grew up in the northern part of the state where we usually have a good amount of snow (not this year though :x ). I was also in the Boy Scouts and we generally did some weekend-long outing once a month; winter included. While that often involved staying in cabins, we would do at least one winter camping event a year. Some of these winter camping events involved building a snow shelter called a "quinzhee" (pronounced "quin-chee") and spending a night in it.

Think of a quinzhee as a sort of igloo, but instead of cutting out blocks of ice or compacted snow and using them to build a structure, you simply make a big pile of snow, let it sit for few hours, then dig out a chamber inside of it. The boys eluded to this type of thing at the end of an episode I can't remember calling it a "snow igloo". (Fatass says, "Snow igloos kick ass." Ring a bell?) It's actually way warmer than pitching a tent because snow is an insulating material so heat gets trapped inside warming the air to well above freezing.

Construction of a quinzhee is pretty straightforward, but you have to be careful not to make the walls too thin, lest the roof collapse under its own weight. So once you've got a big mound of snow that's compacted down, we used sticks poked into the mound as depth gauges. When you're digging inside and encounter the end of a stick, you knew to stop. Then it was important to try and make the ceiling as smooth as possible so there'd be no place for water to drip down. This was important because it routinely got up to around 50 F inside and the snow would start to melt and you didn't want it dripping on your sleeping bag.

It was a lot of fun and very rewarding to actually spend the night in a shelter that had been just laying around on the ground a few hours before. It could be below zero outside, but inside you're taking a layer off because three human bodies exhaling was plenty to keep it nice and toasty (relatively speaking). It's also super quiet in these things. It'd be the perfect recording studio, acoustically. Snow settles over time and the warmth inside weakens the roof, so they're only good for a couple nights but still it's a unique way to enjoy the winter.
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Re: The Winter Thread PostWed Jan 16, 2013 4:09 pm Offline
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Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:52 am2270Croatia (SE Europe)
Although I live only 130 km (81 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea, winters here can be quite harsh (mountains stop the flow of warm weather from the Mediterranean).
We get snow almost every year, but it rarely stays on more than ten days in a row.
Zero F is not unusual. The coldest I remember was around - 25C (- 13F). But on occasion when south wind brings warm weather it can be up to 15C (59F).

It's interesting to travel through the mountains to the sea in winter. On one side it's cold and snowy, then you enter a tunnel, and after just five kilometers it's springtime on the other side.

I like snow and low temperatures. Now there is around two feet of snow here, but it's not very cold. Just below freezing. But temperature should go down to - 9 (19F).

I took this on my way to work yesterday.
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Re: The Winter Thread PostWed Jan 16, 2013 11:57 pm Offline
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Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:14 pm1425471 feet.
Colorado isn't bad. As much as people seem to think that because of the mountains it is snowy all year round (continental divide region can be close to it in a heavy snow year) they also forget that Colorado also happens to be the starting point of the Southwest and the southern half of the state is desert. The difference between Denver and Pueblo is night and day.

What it means is that the winters aren't all that bad if you're not in the mountains. It gets cold for brief periods, but seldom sticks around more than a few days on end. We just got out of a cold snap this past weekend with highs in the single digits and it is already back in the 50s. And since the climate is on the dry side, it isn't a cold that sinks into the bones like the chill of the upper midwest where I grew up.

It's nice to have the best of both worlds in that I can have a relatively comfortable climate in most cases as well as all the options the snow capped mountains bring. And the winter sunset when a storm is hovering over the front range never ceases to amaze.
Re: The Winter Thread PostThu Jan 17, 2013 4:54 pm Offline
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Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:24 pm5686The Mormon Homeland
That whole front range can get just about anything over winter. When storm systems push air from the east, it's forced up by the mountains and starts dumping snow. Or the wind is blowing from the west and warming as it descends the mountains and pushes temps into the 60's. And that's normal for them.


Lake effect snow is an interesting winter phenomenon in the Great Lakes. First you need a huge area of open water. Then you need cold, cold wind blowing across that water. As the cold air moves over that warmer, unfrozen water, evaporation from the lake gets kicked into overdrive as cold air is drier than warm air. It's also takes less moisture to make snow than it does rain.

The evaporation builds clouds which get thick enough to make snow. The snow dumps on the land usually less than 20 miles from the coast, but it sometimes can reach much further depending on several factors, but especially how much open water the cold air is passing over.

Lake effect snow tends to organize itself into tight bands that are parallel to the wind direction. So when you're driving and you come across a lake effect snow band, you can go from great visibility and dry roads to white out conditions in less than a mile. They kill dozens of motorists every winter.

Not all shorelines get regular lake effect snow. The more often you're on the downwind side of the lake, the more lake effect snowstorms you'll get. Air generally moves from west to east at the latitude of the Great Lakes, so being on the east side of a lake generally gets you more snow. South shores are also prime for lake effect snow because northerly winds are colder and drier. In Milwaukee, they hardly ever get any lake effect snow. But across Lake Michigan in Muskegon, Michigan, they get it all the time.

As the winter progresses, the lakes cool down and start freezing over. The ice prevents lake effect snow from forming. So lake effect snow is more of a December and January routine. Shallower lakes freeze over faster than deeper lakes because water holds onto heat energy very well. Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes and this is why it has more of its area covered by ice every winter and why it's lake effect snow season is shorter than the other four lakes.
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Re: The Winter Thread PostThu Jan 17, 2013 11:40 pm Offline
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Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:48 pm1543Dayton, Texas, USA
This just in: SOUTHEAST TEXAS HAS A WINTER THIS YEAR! (No snow, though.) It's supposed to get down to 33 tonight. (I know. Texas problems.)
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Re: The Winter Thread PostFri Jan 18, 2013 12:23 am OfflineBoard Moderator
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Tue Apr 08, 2003 1:57 am17368Hollywood, CA
A few days ago, our highs were in the 40s and 50s, today we almost hit 80.
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Re: The Winter Thread PostSun Jan 20, 2013 10:48 am Offline
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Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:24 pm5686The Mormon Homeland
The next 48 hours will be the coldest of the season so far. We'll be hitting 20 below (F) tomorrow night. And that's without wind chill!

These below zero arctic blasts are pretty normal in these parts, but this is the first time we're getting this cold this season; the winter's been pretty mild until this week.

I call these cold temps "booger-freezing" cold. It's usually anything below 10 F. You breathe through your nose and you can almost feel your nostrils starting to ice up.



Back when I was in middle school (mid 90's), we had a nice arctic blast coming our way. It was the perfectly inopportune time for a major natural gas line to rupture in northern Wisconsin.

Hey, an article! Looks like it was December 1993.

Many homes and businesses are heated with natural gas and the breach caused a loss of service in several northern Wisconsin counties. It was cool in that we got out of school because of it; there was an early dismissal the day it happened and no school the next day. It sucked though because they needed to use the schools as emergency shelters for people with no alternate heating source.

At our house, we sealed off four rooms and fired up a few electric heaters. My brothers and I camped out in the dining room while the rest of the house got super cold. It was kind of a cool adventure for us kids; watching TV in a different room, getting out of school, using our sleeping bags in our own house. But loosing your source of heat in the winter is kind of a big deal. I'm just lucky that this was the only real civil emergency I've ever been involved in.
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Re: The Winter Thread PostThu Jan 24, 2013 5:07 am Offline
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Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:53 pm302
Winter has returned to Southern California; from 80°F weather a few days ago to rain today and through the weekend.
Re: The Winter Thread PostThu Jan 24, 2013 6:59 pm Offline
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Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:43 pm18787I was over nah, but now I'm over heah.
Things've been cray over meah. It's been in themid 50s in the morning, and the mid to upper 70's in the afternoon the past couple of days. The couple of days are set to be cooler, but warm back up again afterwards.
Re: The Winter Thread PostFri Jan 25, 2013 4:58 pm Offline
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Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:24 pm5686The Mormon Homeland
Got 4 or 5 inches of fluffy out of this latest little storm. Not bad, but since it fell on mostly bare ground it ain't enough to get excited about as far as winter sports go.


One of the bigger winter pains in northern climates is prepping your vehicle for travel when you park outside.
Obviously if it snows, you've gotta brush it off the windshield and the windows so you can see. But it's also a good idea to push all the snow off the hood of your car. Once you start driving, that shit will start blowing off and completely blind you for several seconds; not a good situation. It's also a good idea to shove most of the snow off the roof of your car if you can, because it has the tendency to fall off in big chunks when you're whipping down the highway and create problems for vehicles behind you. Cops can write you tickets for that.

Frost can be a pain in the ass to scrape off in the morning, especially for short people. But what really sucks is getting the inside of your windshield frosted up. When you track a bunch of snow into your car from your boots/shoes, it melts from your heater and starts evaporating. So by the time you get home, you've got a bunch of moist air trapped in your car. As it sits overnight and gets really cold, the moisture condenses on the cold surface of the windshield. The next morning you're stuck trying to use your ice scraper around the inside mirror and where the dashboard meets the glass because you don't have time to sit and wait for the defroster to melt all that.

So solutions to interior frost I've used:
1) Make sure the inside of your windshield is clean; it's harder for frost to form on clean glass.
2) Put up your sunshade; it'll keep the condensing moisture away from the glass.
3) If you're pretty sure it's not going to snow, crack a window a tiny bit. This will allow the warm, moist air to escape and let in colder, dry air. Be aware though, those rain guard thingies some people have so they can crack their windows when it rains are not as effective against snow. Snow is much lighter and it's easy for wind to swirl up under those and deposit snow on your seat.
4) Use that Rain-x shit on the inside of your windshield.

Other pointers:
Keep the nozzles for your washer fluid clear of ice and snow. You don't want to be without that stuff when your windshield is glazing over with salt spray.
Keep snow and ice away from the pivot point on your wiper blades. I've had chucks of ice foul up their operation before.
Keep your headlights and taillights clear of snow.
If the cops in your area are total dicks, keep your rear license plate free of snow. Don't give 'em an excuse, you know?
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Re: The Winter Thread PostFri Jan 25, 2013 6:56 pm Offline
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Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:33 pm382i could tell you, but there would be a pimp slap involved
i've live in the midwest my entire life (well except for that 11 month stint on the east coast) and the winters here are just silly.

i grew up in northwest missouri, where winter guaranteed the eventual freezing rain, snow, freezing rain storm that made shoveling a true pain in the ass.

so i moved to iowa because i wanted to experience living in a deep freezer. i like winter here better because even though it can get cold, THERE'S NO FREAKIN ICE STORMS!

but i did live in buffalo, ny for 11 months for work. while there, i got to experience what massive snowfall really is. we got 30 inches of snow overnight and that caused a snow emergency, which essentially means that if you're not going to the hospital, your ass had better not be on the road. thankfully, i lived pretty close to the office and their back up generators were working, so i went to work solely for the light and heat. (heh)

now back to ice storms. in 1995, we had a really nasty ice storm come through northwest missouri. everything looked really lovely when all was said and done. right before the transformer on the street blew up when the neighbor's tree finally collapsed under the weight of all the ice.

although one of the more memorable snow storms (pre-buffalo) i experienced was in 1994. i was working for the local holiday inn and we got word that road conditions weren't the greatest, so they were encouraging the staff to stay at the hotel so we wouldn't have to worry about driving home. most of us wound up staying, so naturally we were in the hotel's bar after closing hanging out. one of the bartenders was nice enough to let my 16 year old self try my first shot of hard alcohol. [CENSORED] fed me a shot of everclear.

do i love winter? no, not really. could i live anywhere that doesn't have winter? no, not really. it truly is a damned if you do damned if you don't sort of thing :lol:
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Re: The Winter Thread PostFri Jan 25, 2013 9:13 pm Offline
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Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:02 am498My own private torture chamber
I live in Florida. I love winter.
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Re: The Winter Thread PostSat Jan 26, 2013 8:30 pm Offline
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Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:36 am1435in a secret underground bunker
Sorry to do this but to all of ya living in Florida, Texas, and California....You all don't know winter! :craig:

Winter is COLD. Hard to get around, hard to get fresh air. It also brings the Flu :( The dry air is horrible. Dry lips all the time...hard to stay hydrated :| I like the snow...but we actually haven't gotten a *whole* lot this year (for New Hampshire anyways)...probably about 30 inches thus year...normal should be around 50 inches by now.

I haven't been out much as of late. Of course, wind chills haven't helped....It can get fairly windy around here this time of year (especially when dealing with Nor'Easters). This year has been wild in comparison. First highs in the upper 40's, then we retreat into the teens/ low 20's for highs...and now they are talking 40's again later this week :roll:

I would gladly give this up for warmer nicer temps. Unfortunately, we'll get the last laugh (hopefully) when the summer rolls out and you are all dying from the EXTREME heat...while its low 80's here. :wink:
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Re: The Winter Thread PostSun Jan 27, 2013 10:13 am Offline
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Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:24 pm5686The Mormon Homeland
When it's cold, you can always put on more clothing, but when it's hot, there's only so much you can take off before you'll get arrested. :lol:


Most of you probably don't live where it gets cold enough for long enough that lakes and rivers freeze over (hell a lot of you probably don't have much for lakes around you). Even fewer of you probably live where that ice not only gets thick enough to safely walk on, but also drive all assortment of vehicles on.

I had my vehicle out on the ice yesterday as there is a local winter festival going on this weekend. There was no concern at all about falling through because the ice is like 20 inches thick. 12 inches is more than enough to support a pick up or an SUV.

The ice does tend to groan and crack loudly as vehicles drive around on it. The weight of a car slightly depresses the ice surface and causes most of the cracking. It sounds a little scary if you've never been out there before, but you're in no danger. Ice has a tendancy to groan and crack on its own anyway because of wind or because it's a bright sunny day (thermal expansion and stuff).

Clear ice is always stronger than opaque ice. The opacity comes from tiny air bubbles trapped in the ice and they weaken the structure. You can see right through clear ice and that can be a little unnerving to the newbie. I think it's awesome because you can see all the weeds and rocks and other stuff. I've even seen fish from time to time.

Lake ice used to be a valuable commodity in the days before electric refrigerators. Folks would go out and saw blocks of ice, drag them into special barns and cover them with hay so they would last into the summer. The ice was sold to people (often delivered door to door) to keep in their refrigerators and cool their food. That's why old timers might call the fridge the "ice box".
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Re: The Winter Thread PostSun Jan 27, 2013 1:59 pm Offline
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Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:52 am2270Croatia (SE Europe)
triplemultiplex wrote:
But it's also a good idea to push all the snow off the hood of your car. Once you start driving, that shit will start blowing off and completely blind you for several seconds; not a good situation. It's also a good idea to shove most of the snow off the roof of your car if you can, because it has the tendency to fall off in big chunks when you're whipping down the highway and create problems for vehicles behind you. Cops can write you tickets for that.

Here it's the law. You have to clean your vehicle from snow completely before you hit the road.

triplemultiplex wrote:
But what really sucks is getting the inside of your windshield frosted up. When you track a bunch of snow into your car from your boots/shoes, it melts from your heater and starts evaporating.

Gee, that sucks. It never happened to me. As a matter of fact, I've never heard of that happening. Ever. But, I see how it can happen.

triplemultiplex wrote:
So solutions to interior frost I've used:
1) Make sure the inside of your windshield is clean; it's harder for frost to form on clean glass.
2) Put up your sunshade; it'll keep the condensing moisture away from the glass.
3) If you're pretty sure it's not going to snow, crack a window a tiny bit. This will allow the warm, moist air to escape and let in colder, dry air. Be aware though, those rain guard thingies some people have so they can crack their windows when it rains are not as effective against snow. Snow is much lighter and it's easy for wind to swirl up under those and deposit snow on your seat.
4) Use that Rain-x shit on the inside of your windshield.

5) When you track a lot of snow in your car turn the AC on. It will dry out the air.

triplemultiplex wrote:
Most of you probably don't live where it gets cold enough for long enough that lakes and rivers freeze over (hell a lot of you probably don't have much for lakes around you). Even fewer of you probably live where that ice not only gets thick enough to safely walk on, but also drive all assortment of vehicles on.

I remember as a kid ice on a river nearby cracked, and I saw that the ice sheets were over 20 cm (8 inches) thick. I knew it was thick enough to walk on, but I had no idea it gets that thick.
I never drove my car on ice though. River and lake shores are too steep here.

triplemultiplex wrote:
Lake ice used to be a valuable commodity in the days before electric refrigerators. Folks would go out and saw blocks of ice, drag them into special barns and cover them with hay so they would last into the summer. The ice was sold to people (often delivered door to door) to keep in their refrigerators and cool their food.

A bit different situation in the town where I was born. It has Mediterranean climate (it almost never snows) and is sandwiched between the sea and a 1700 m (5700 feet) high mountain.
In the days before electricity people would climb the mountain and down into its deep caves where ice never melts. They'd cut the ice and sell it to bars and restaurants in the summer.
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