Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An elemental twist from the weather gods

Utah is not only famous for its off-the-charts birth rate and number of wives per capita ;-). The land of Industry - and Mormons - also prides itself as having "the greatest snow on Earth." Utah doesn't get much more snow than all other cold-weather states. The consistency of the white stuff is what sets Utah snow apart.

During certain snowstorms the flakes are so dry that they don't stick to one another once they fall. You may try for hours to make a snowball out of this snow but you will be unsuccessful because the feathery stuff doesn't pack. It is called "powder" for obvious reasons, and makes for a floating experience while skiing and snowboarding. Other Utah snowstorms offer packable snow - good for snowmen and snowballs. It's the kind of stuff the farmer prays for each winter so he will have water the next summer.

Virginia is not known for snow at all. When there are "snow" storms out here, an icy substance mixed with frigid rain falls from the sky, hits the cold ground, turns all hard surfaces into instance skating rinks and weighs down trees enough to make them lethal. The first winter we were here, I remember thinking it was strange when meteorologists warned people to stay away from the trees. The freezing rain closes everything down and makes the top story on the news for the next week.

Last week, in what meteorologists called a rare occurence, Northern Utah experienced freezing rain, creating vehicular chaos on the streets.

And today, I walked outside and the crunch under my shoe took me back to college, wading through the snow across Utah State University's campus. It is most definitely not powder, but I can almost classify it as Utah snow. It packs nicely without getting your gloves too wet. The flakes flutter down to the ground lazily and it's not slippery when you step on it...

...that is until tonight, when, forecasters say, it's going to be freezing rain.

6 comments:

Emilie said...

The freezing rain was crazy last week. (Thanks for the HJ link, by the way.) Being from Virginia, Garrett loved it — in a nostalgic sort of way. While you may miss "Utah" snow, you probably don't miss the way it piles on the side of the road and stays there for week getting dark and black and disgusting. That's what next week will look like here, I'm thinking.

Jeremy said...

Ah, the days of clomping around in the snow, slush, ice and frigid air of Logan on USU campus. Funny how I'd love to relive it all, yet at the time, saw no pleasure in my soaking wet and frozen feet...

mckenzie said...

i've been needing more info on the freezing rain. such a curiosity here...but now i guess cache valley knows.

Lincs and Ali said...

I seriously almost had a heart attach when I saw the snow this morning

Valerie said...

Sophia and I had fun playing in it also. She loved walking through it with her boots. That is untill she face planted!

JJ said...

That might be the best description of snow I have ever read!