Thinking about Weather

I’ve been talking, recently, with people in different climate zones- specifically @dahob and [personal profile] anke most recently – about “winter” and its varying meanings.

I grew up in Rochester, on the northern coast of one of the Great Lakes – – Ontario, the easternmost. For comparison, my husband grew up in Buffalo, between Ontario and Erie.

The weather there is snowy, wet, with a long winter normally stretching from late October to early April (it was not uncommon to have snow on Hallowe’en, although it was normally gone by mid-April). According to this chart, Rochester gets less than one inch a year less than Buffalo, although, in my memories, it came more steadily, and with less majors dumps of the stuff.

Still, I remember playing as a child in drifts as tall as I was, and having similar drifts to shovel in blizzards when I lived there – ’98, I think, and sometime around ’04 or ’05. They call it lake affect – the cold weather from Canada grabs all the water off the lake and dumps it on us.

Down in Ithaca, this site confirms that we get less snow. It’s colder down here – no giant lake-heat-and-cold-sink going on – but the worst of the weather seems to bypass us; last year, when the entire Northeast US was being dumped on, we had one small storm.

What does winter look like where you are?

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

12 thoughts on “Thinking about Weather

  1. Often wet, cold for here. Minimum temperature just before dawn might be -3C down to the occasional -5C. Maximum temp 16, 17C but can stay colder. It snowed once almost 50 years ago within 20 miles of here but that was higher up and further inland.

    • “It snowed once…” O_O Our winter temperatures are generally below freezing from Nov – Feb, with some thaw in January.

  2. I will bother you about this later (hopefully, if I remember), but thoughts: snow/hills/weird this year. You should include this as archive if you do start that nature-householding-blog.

  3. What does winter look like where you are? Loooooooong. Also, cold and dark. (Our average temperature in January was -29. Average, not average low.) But this is the week our sun starts coming back – I’m really looking forward to that!

  4. In winter here in the Valley it gets so mind numbingly cold that we wear long sleeved shirts part of winter. 🙂 Down to the 60s daytime, and occasionally reaches freezing overnight (the apartment fountain froze over *once* that I know of — looked awesome. Sadly melted/broken up by the time I got my camera loaded with fresh batteries). I can remember one, maybe two occasions where faint wisps of snowflakes were in the air. I say in the air as they didn’t last all the way to the ground. Then there’s the occasional winter storm. Keep in mind that here in central Arizona a half inch of rain qualifies as a major rain storm (I heard the news this year mention a, “heavy rain storm that measured .1 inches at Sky Harbor International airport”). Before thinking this sounds luxurious, keep in mind that in summer it is not unheard of to reach 120 and at that temperature you can be in shade, ten feet from the nearest sun exposed surface, and sweat puddles. And that’s on a low humidity day. We’ll have out of state hikers end up in the hospital because they grab a 20 ounce bottle of water at Circle K and think that counts as carrying water for an all day hike. So no snow in the valley and only the occasional rain storm. But we still get the occasional dust storm. And all the trees are still green. An the foolish grass lawns are still green. Stepping outside at night can leave you shivering withing feet of the door. There’s some risk of homeless freezing, although they are at far less risk of harm than they are in summer. Have I mentioned I think Arizona would be almost perfect without the hottest part of the summer weather?

  5. We are having a rather weird winter. There was a rather large fall of very wet snow at the end of October, before most of the trees had dropped their leaves, which thus did a lot of damage to the trees as well as being confusing and snowing out part of a haunted house I was helping with. That melted in the next few days. Since then, it has been unseasonably warm (ranging from the low fifties to the mid teens, fahrenheit), with a few small snowfalls, none of which have stayed on the ground longer than a day or so. I am enjoying the lovely weather but it’s also kind of freaky. Normally, I expect snow intermittently from December through March; I allow but do not require one snowfall in November and one in April, though sometimes the weather laughs at me and sends more than one. Sometimes we don’t get snow in December. It occasionally but rarely gets above fourty, and sometimes gets down into single digits, sometimes with fierce wind. There’s usually snow around, even if just where it was piled up after plowing or shoveling, into March, though some years the occasional warm day will take care of ice on sidewalks that weren’t shoveled, and if has snowed recently or a lot there are banks of snow at the edge of the sidewalks and nasty salt slush (hiding under snow) by the curbs. That said, the city is really lovely right after a snowfall. I grew up in Los Angeles. It hailed once when I was a kid, wee strange ice pellets. Other than that, I hadn’t seen frozen water fall out of the sky — or even sitting on the ground other than in small icy patches in the mountains in late spring — ’till I moved out to Boston for college.

  6. Just saw this. Our winters in North Texas are pretty variable. The summer usually breaks in the middle of September (daytime highs go from 100+ to 80+) and the first really /cool/ breezes kick-in in late October. During the transition time from hot to cool (Oct/Nov) we can get a lot of rain as cold air from the North squeezes all the humidity from warm Gulf air. The rest of the winter is it typically cold (lows near but above freezing, highs in the 40s-50s) and clear (crystal blue skies with light high cirrus clouds) unless a front moves through. Then we’ll have a week of rain or freezing stuff and then it will be gone. It’s highly varible thoguh. Temps in the 70s are not uncommon, and the 20s are not unheard of but rare. When we do get frozen precipitation, it is rarely snow. We are usually too cold or too dry for it. What we do get are ice storms every couple of years. When we do get snow, it is either light flurries or at most an inch. Regardless, if there is a trace of it three days later, it was a blizzard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *