Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Post-Christmas Blizzard

There is a traditional Christmas carol that starts, "Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the feast of Stephen, when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even." "Feast of Stephen" refers to the day honoring St. Stephen the first martyr, which falls on December 26. That came to mind on Sunday as I watched snow fall and pile up. In less than 18 hours we got 23 inches (58 cm) of snow in central New Jersey – in other words, sufficient to be deep and crisp. Nearby towns had about the same amount while areas to the north and west got a lot less.

The result was very pretty but also a lot of work to shovel. It also makes me wonder how lingering snow will affect next weekend's Christmas Bird Counts. I am planning to do the Long Branch count with Patrick on Saturday; then thanks to its postponement, I will be doing the Raritan Estuary count on Sunday. Will the important parts of our count sectors be accessible? Will the predicted rain on Sunday turn the local parks into a slushy, muddy mess? Hopefully the answers will be yes to the first and no to the second.

In the meantime, here are some photos of the snow. A photographer in Belmar (about 35 miles from me) made a time-lapse video of the snowstorm. NASA's GOES-13 satellite took a pretty cool photo as the storm was passing over New England yesterday. If you expand the image to its original size (and scroll to the right and down), you can see the snow lying on the ground in the mid-Atlantic states and the Carolinas. One part of New Jersey that does not appear white is the Pine Barrens; I am not sure exactly why it is dark.

Weather Underground, as usual, has informative coverage of the blizzard in yesterday's and today's blog posts.