Ready For Snow? Should We Laugh, or Cry?

Okiedawn OK Zone 7December 2, 2011

I know that the weather has driven us all to distraction throughout 2011, so maybe it shouldn't be too surprising that after everything else Mother Nature threw at us and our gardens this year, we have snow in the forecast for the weekend and/or Monday. Snow! Yuck! I am SO not ready for this.

We still have flowers in bloom: clary sage, Laura Bush petunias and native asters. We still have a lot of trees with leaves on them. On some of those trees, the green leaves still outnumber the brown, red and golden ones. One plum tree still has almost all its leaves, although the other plums lost their leaves weeks ago. Water lilies still bloom in the little lily pond. We are trying to pretend it is still late summer or early autumn, and snow is going to put an end to that illusion, if indeed the snow does fall.

I need to add layers of mulch and compost to the garden beds still before I consider them winterized, and add more hay bedding and heat lamps to the chicken coops before it gets really, really cold.

I need to stop looking at our local NWS point forecast, because every time I look at it, our chances for snow on Monday have gone up. We went from no mention of snow for next Monday at mid-week to a 10% chance and then to a 30% chance. I am afraid that when I look at Monday's forecast tomorrow, the chance will be up to 40 or 50%.

I keep telling myself that this is exactly the weather we were wishing for on those hot July and August days when the sun beat down on us and we had temps in the 110-114 degree range. (Sigh.) After all the heat we endured, cold, snowy weather should be welcome, but I just am not in the mood for it yet.

Who's ready for snow? Sleet? Freezing Rain?

I am looking forward to bidding 2011 farewell and saying hello to 2012, though. It is hard to imagine 2012's weather could bring us more weather challenges than we had in 2011. Right?


Here is a link that might be useful: NWS's Special Weather Statement

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I haven't seen the new model runs yet, but there is only one model out of several at this point that is predicting significant accumulations. I know everyone's getting excited since it's the first winter storm of the season, but I'll wait until the models come into better agreement before getting too worried about it.

I'm usually a big fan of snow, but my husband drives a little car and has to be at work no matter how bad the weather gets. He's had some hair-raising trips already in the last few ice/snow storms we've had, and last year he had to get a coworker with a 4WD truck to bring him home and pick him up the next day. I guess that's the sign you've officially become an adult. Snowstorms no longer just mean you get a day off of school. They become a PITA instead. :p

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 2:27PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I am unexcited about the prospect of snow this early and hoping the model run (and I am glad to hear it is just one model)that is forecasting snow somehow backs off that forecast. I don't like being cold and I hate being both wet and cold at the same time.

Ironically, my project for this afternoon is to make cookies for us to snack on this weekend while decorating multiple fire trucks for Monday's Christmas parade, and for weeks now, my plan has been to use my extensive collection of snowflake cookie cutters to make snowflake-shaped cookies. I hope the cookie snowflakes are the only snowflakes we see on Sunday or Monday.

My husband and son cannot miss work on snowy days either, since police and firefighters are 'essential' jobs, so when snow falls, they pack a bag and sometimes stay at work for several days. We have a long, sloping driveway so once it is very snowy or very icy, you're either frozen in and can't leave, or frozen out and can't make it up the hill from the road to the house.

I guess I am a fan of snow if I am inside looking out, but I agree it is a PITA otherwise.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 3:03PM
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For several days every time I looked the predicted highs and lows were lower. The predicted snow amounts have fluctuated considerably also. As of now some are raising the predicted temps some and lowering the predicted snowfall amounts. They are saying a 100% chance of moisture tonight and tomorrow. Possibly a little freezing rain/drizzle tonight and 1-3 inches of snow. I have seen previous predictions anywhere from 1-8" and many combinations in that range. Due to my job I'm never ready for slick, snow packed or cold conditions. Our low they are now saying might be around 14-15. I still have 2 apples trees with bright green leaves on them. Going to put a little heat in the lean to besides the fan blowing in air from the utility room. I still have some things to do in the garden but they may have to wait till this event is over. I have to leave around 5 Monday morning and head back to east of Forgan for at least 3 days. So hoping the roads are clear. And they are saying high winds will be with this storm so any snow will probably blow a lot. I'm not a fan of snow in the cold months. It would be ok if it wouldn't drift. The best time for snow is March, April, October and the first half of Nov. Chances are it will be wetter and will melt in a short time. And snow then is usually wetter. Jay

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 3:37PM
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Weather looks pretty good here, pretty good chance of a little moisture but temp will be to high for snow. Its 55 degrees now with low expected to reach 30 Mon., 23 on Tue..

My garden is planted in rye, except where fall garden is. I bought a yard of compost yesterday, another today, bringing me up to 3 yds. stored. I hope to get shavings and leaves for mulch before the ground gets too soft to get the pickup near the garden. Except for the root knot nematodes I feel my garden has never been in better shape this early in the year.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 5:50PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Jay, We have had drizzle on and off throughout the day. It doesn't add up to much in the rain gauge but it made it wet and miserable outside as far as trying to do anything outside.

On our newest NWS forecast, they've raised our low temp for Mon night a couple of degrees, but lowered our high temp to only 35. We now have a 70% chance of precip, likely in a frozen form on Monday, which follows closely on the heels of a 60% chance of precip, possibly in the form of freezing rain or sleet, on Sunday night. I knew I shouldn't have looked at the forecast again, because the last time I looked, it was only a 30% chance.

I hope you don't have to fight too much ice and snow for your drive back towards Forgan next week, and I especially hope the roads are clear for you.

The prospect of freezing rain or sleet while we still have so many trees with their leaves on them worries me. We've never had an ice storm take out our power in the 13 years we've been here, but with leaves on the trees, it is more likely that there will be tree and power line problems.

Larry, It is great your garden is in such great shape. I hope you can get the rest of it done before the ground gets too soft from more rainfall. We had 4" of rain last week and it has been impossibly muddy ever since, but I like 50 degrees and rain better than 110 degrees and no rain.

We overseeded the lawn with rye, and the garden beds overseeded themselves with larkspur, poppies, verbena bonariensis, Laura Bush petunias and chamomile. I'll leave them there this winter, and when it is time to plant in the spring, I'll leave some of them in the beds as companion plants and plant around them. I've never had as many reseeding annuals spring up all over the place as early as they did this year. I guess it was all that rain in October.

Miraje, If you see anything special in the models, please let us know.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 8:14PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Nooooo, not snoooooow! I think it is beautiful on the Currier and Ives cards, but I, too, get stranded if it ices up my slope to the road leading to my house. If I get caught away from the house, I have to go over to my son's and spend the night or if I am home, I'd better hope the larder is stocked. I really, really hate Winter, but now I really, really hate triple-digit Summers. Gee, I'm such an ingrate!.........


    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 10:06PM
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It just figures. Just had drought, then thunderstorms mixed with tornado's and an earthquake to top it off. Might as well have snow, ice, and freezing rain.

I hate working in winter weather, not looking forward to the next couple months.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 12:05AM
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I'd rather be watching the sky for snow-clouds than stopping dead in my tracks every time I hear a rumble and waiting for the earth to shake under my feet. These recent quakes have scared me in a way that I can't even believe. Remind me to tell you all the funny story of getting out of bed, trying to put on PJ pants while the whole house was rattling during the 5.6 we had. Funny now, then...not so much. And to top it all off I live close to Tinker and when they test those engines...(shudder!)

I'm just gonna laugh. Like has been said...after this year, what the H did we all expect? But OF COURSE! More weird weather! I've always thought it was so wonderful that we live where we get ALL I'm kinda wishing we had "boring, same ol' same ol'". We have learned a LOT from these last few years and I think it makes us all better gardeners because we're experiencing ALL kinds of crazy! For example, I'm not going to worry about a spring garden next year...I'm going to focus those plants for a fall garden.

Now if I can just quiet those seed catalogs that keep tempting me.....hehe!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 12:25AM
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I'm ready, just in case, but that doesn't mean I like frozen precip by any means. If the roads are bad Monday, I told my daughter I probably wouldn't make it to her house to caretake. Hate that, but while I am not afraid to drive in it, I am afraid of the other drivers out there who don't have a clue how to drive in it. People get so upset when I am driving slow to accommodate the conditions! Go figure. I had a guy get frustrated one year, decided to speed up and go around me, and ended up doing a 360 into the ditch! Idiot!

I have enjoyed all the moisture we have gotten over the last 2 months, and hopefully will continue to get - just not the "form" of it particularly.

Larry, I envy your compost! I wish I had enough room to store some myself.

Meanwhile, I've ordered a few native seeds that I plant to direct sow, including Clammy Weed (Polanisia dodecandra), Prairie Dandelion (Agroseris cuspidata), Winecups (Callirhoe bushii), Cleome serrulata, Castilleja coccinea, and I am going to "try" Impatiens capensis. Not much this year.

Of course, McKenna is looking forward to a promise of snow! I remember being excited about it, too. Argh.....I'm getting too old!

Pallida, the Currier and Ives prints are gorgeous! After living up in the NE, they are portrayed in exact detail. Everything up there is "quaint". There are a lot of small ponds, since the area is very swampy. Walden's Pond is a very large pond. The drawback is that people now swim in it - lots of people - and tbere is a beach area, neither of which I expected to see.

I will just putter around the house doing "catch up" jobs that I have let go since early summer. I think I need to get some bird food, if the weather will permit a quick run to the store.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 9:20AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Against my better judgement, I looked at the NWS forecast this morning, lol, and our chance for Monday precip has gone from 70% to 80%.

I would love snow on any day but Monday. If we can just have the Christmas Parade in town that evening and have it safely, then it can snow every day after that and I won't complain. At the parade, we collect a lot of food and donations for our local food bank, so we need to have decent weather so we'll have a large turnout. I actually think a lighted parade, Santa's arrival and the lighting of the Christmas Tree on the courthouse lawn would be beautiful in snow (not sleet or freezing rain!) but the snow also could hurt the size of the crowd and/or make travel difficult.

Jeanie, I know we all are ingrates. No matter what weather we have, we seem to want something else. I am dreading a long, cold winter like last year's and was hoping it wouldn't start up until January, but it looks like it is starting early. Actually, for the OK Panhandle and for Jay's part of Kansas, the cold weather already has brought them some snow. We're all stocked up on groceries now for winter. I keep the pantry really full because the nearest grocery store I like is 30 miles away. There's a small one in town, but I don't care much for it and won't go there if I can avoid it. I do need to start stockpiling deer corn and wild bird seed for the really cold weather because we feed a lot of 'visitors' in the cold months.

Jeff, I know that early snowfall fits right in with everything else this crazy year. I was looking at the video footage of all the damage in California from the Santa Ana winds yesterday and thinking to myself "at least we don't have those here".

Paula, I agree with you on the shaking and the quaking. I am sure it was felt much more strongly at your place than ours, but even though y'all have had a lot of quakes in central OK, I never, ever expected to feel one way down here and I don't like that feeling at all.

My plan for the spring garden is to plant less cool season stuff because it takes up so much space for so long, and instead try to get warm-season crops in the ground as early as possible with the use of low tunnels of floating row covers. Then, if I can get the warm season crops to produce before the dreaded heat arrives, I'll be happy. I won't spend endless $$$$ watering all summer long either. I'll stop watering the big garden at the end of June, and then everything can sink or swim on its own.

When we first moved here, an older gentleman I met had his own planting strategy, developed from long battles with the intense summers and late cold springs. He planted on April 1st. He stopped watering at the end of June. Then, in September, he planted spinach and other hardy winter crops. He didn't have to deal with the recurring freezes in spring. He didn't spend money on irrigation in July and August. He got pretty good harvests most years, and great ones some years when rain actually fell in adequate amounts in the summer, without letting the weather drive him crazy. The longer I live here, the more I see the genius in his plan.

I know we are better gardeners for having experienced all the extremes, but I sure would like to have a nice, quiet year when the weather is mild and mellow. It's not likely to happen, is it?


    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 9:32AM
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Dawn, why do you heat the chicken coop? Is it to keep the eggs and water from freezing? I never heated my coop, even when I lived up near Cheyenne, WY, although I did have to collect the eggs frequently or just not add light in winter and let them stop laying so that I didn't have frozen eggs. It was colder than cold up there. We had one winter that I remember -28 actual and close to -100 with the windchill, really! I got stuck on I-25 because my gas line on my old Subaru froze up, out in the middle of nowhere, between Wyoming and Wellington, CO. Cell phone had no service and I thought I was going to literally freeze to death!
I hope y'all don't get too slammed by this storm. N.Az just got two feet and their predicting today's storm will dump more snow than yesterday's.
How about that wind Thursday, did you get any of that? 100 mph in LA and 123 mph up in a ski west of Denver? I forgot what those chinook winds could be like when I was living in Boulder but they were enough to drive you insane some weeks.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 10:36AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Yes, we heat it to keep the eggs and water from freezing. All we use is a light bulb or two, so it doesn't keep it especially warm, but it generally keeps the water from freezing in the bird waterers. It didn't necessarily work last year. We had so many days in a row where the temps never got above freezing that I still had to thaw out the ice in the bird waterers every morning and then refill them with water, and usually every afternoon too. We've never had a spell like that here before. I think we went 5 days without getting above freezing.

We do like to leave the lights on in the coop in the winter so the birds will keep laying.

Our winds have been in the 20s at the most this past week, so we didn't get anything like those Thursday winds, and I am very grateful for that!

My biggest worry with potential ice is that a lot of the red oaks, blackjack oaks and a few post oaks stubbornly refuse to lose their leaves, and if freezing rain falls, which we often get instead of snow, the freezing rain could stick to all that foliage and bring down the trees. Some years the post oaks do hang on to their brown leaves well into winter, but probably 75% of them are already bare. For some reason, and I am betting it is an overreaction to the heavy autumn rainfall, the red oaks don't want to shed their leaves and neither do many of the blackjack oaks. I think it has something to do with us being in a somewhat sheltered creek hollow, because on higher ground near us, all the oaks have lost their leaves. Down here in our low-lying area, they haven't.

Every year when there are ice storms and people losing power right and left, we've never lost the power here. If these leaves don't hurry up and fall, that could change.

This may be the year we finally have to buy a generator.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 2:39PM
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Most of our leaves are down, and as we drove to Joplin yesterday they had also fallen. An exception is my neighbor's Bradford pear trees. Since they break so easily in ice storms anyway, I can't imagine what will happen if they ice over with leaves still on them. It is raining here now but is still a warm 57 degrees. Our forecast tonight is 31 with 100 percent chance of rain. Monday and Tuesday seem to be the big threats for us also.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 3:04PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Our forecast for today and especially for Monday has changed quite a lot since yesterday, and in a good way. They also have removed the words "snow" and "freezing rain" from our forecast. The NWS has raised both our low and high temps several degrees, and we won't even go below freezing until after the rain has moved on. Hooray for that!

It has drizzled here for most of the last 24 to 36 hours, so we are surrounded by standing water and mud, but at least we don't have to worry about frozen stuff, and the moisture is really needed to help the hard, dry ground continue to recover from the drought.

Our Aristocrat Pear still has leaves too. I'd forgotten about it. I'd be OK with it toppling to the ground in an ice storm since it isn't near any power lines. It was planted our first or second year here to provide quick shade for two large bay windows, and now that the slower-growing oak trees are tall enough to shade that area, the pear tree is expendable.

Unless the forecast changes dramatically again, this will be only a rain event here.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 9:54AM
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