Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How High Can Snow be Thrown?

Things are getting stacked up at the garage

According to the calendar, we are exactly three weeks away from the first day of spring. Of course, that date only demarks the vernal equinox, where the earth’s axis tips enough to provide an even split between night and day. It has nothing to do with warmer temperatures, birds singing, trees budding or flowers blooming… damn the bad luck.

At our house the first day of spring means things should start melting for serious within a month. Truth be told, it couldn’t come soon enough. It’s not a matter of being tired of snow and cold, it’s a matter of practicality. Unlike most of the Lower 48, we’ve had more than the usual amount of snow.

Snowfall on the last three lines. Really? C'mon!

Speaking of which, allow me to digress from the subject for just a moment. I would like to take our local weather monitors to task. Like most local papers, ours provides weather data daily, a provided by some nameless entity at the local airport. According to the paper, those in the Kenai area had to clear 1.5 inches of snow from our drives yesterday, and we’ve had a total of 34.3 inches of snow for the season. I have to call, “Liar! Liar, pants on fire!” to both of those figures. The picture of our snowmachines with two days’ worth of snowfall shows how accurate those figures really are. I have a tip for whoever is reporting the snowfall figures: Take the snowfall measurements OUTSIDE.  (Thank you, readers, for your indulgence. I feel much better.)

Snowmachines in 1.5 inches of snow. Sure, right.

Don’t get me wrong, I like snow. A good snowfall makes our scraggly spruce trees look pretty. Snow makes the long nights brighter by reflecting the glow of the moon. Nothing is more striking than an expanse of snow glistening in pink from alpenglow. All that being said, however, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

We have reached a point of overload at our house. We’re running out of places to throw the stuff, particularly when clearing the back deck. What is most disturbing about the situation is that between the first day of spring and the middle of April, we usually get at least one serious dump of snow (serious being anything more than a foot in a day), and several lesser accumulations. The prospect of throwing what’s coming on top of what’s already stacked up is mind-boggling.

4-foot for sale sign in "34.3 inches" of snow

Ultimately, since we have no control over the weather, there are only two choices: one, rush down to the local Trustworthy Hardware store, where they have an ergonomic snow shovel/hernia truss combination on sale, or two, believe what the paper reports and wear snowshoes with my slippers when I let the dog out. Either way, when the melt starts, things are going to be wet.


  1. Maybe they 34.3 since the "start of winter" on December 21. Anchorage is running out of places to put the snow from the roads and such. The city is "streamlining" the process for permitting snow dump areas. :)

  2. And it was so miserable with 1/4 inch of snow on our camper in Bainbridge Island.