Sunday, November 14, 2010

lost a bet with Nature

"Nature is a hanging judge." That's one of my favorite quotes, though the source (a roll of Quotes stickers, in fact) attributes it to Anonymous. Google concurs, and one of those citations characterizes this as an "old saying." Fair enough. (See, Quotes stickers are a vital source of cultural knowledge!)

Thursday's weekend forecast was every bit manifest in the snowfall of Friday night/Saturday morning, and then some. See below:

     Here are some storm highlights from Today:

*As of 1 PM CST:  The Minnesota Highway Patrol reported 300 plus crashes with 395 vehicles off the road or involved in a spin out.
*As of 4 PM CST:  Just over 65,000 Xcel Energy customers were without power in the Twin Cities, Minnesota (east and west areas) with another 10,000 customers without power across the rest of Minnesota.

   Here are some snowfall totals from the Upper Midwest as of 1 PM CST (Nov. 13, 2010):

Emmetsburg, IA:  14.0"
Eden Prairie, MN:  11.0"
Ruthven, IA:  10.5"
Mankato, MN:  10.0"
3 miles north-northwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN:  9.0"

All that snow fell in just under 12 hours. The national radar image told a story of intimidating proportion: A giant convective comma of precipitation, rotating backward across Minnesota to the east, depositing inch after inch of soggy snow, Ely to Worthington. The tail end of that system to the south was a long conveyor belt of moisture sucking precip directly from the Gulf. Sadly, I can't recreate the awe-inspiring mini-hurricane NOAA image, and didn't have the presence of mind to grab it yesterday morning (though according to the NOAA website this is no small feat anyway, as it must be captured in layers and reassembled manually.) Trust Google images to give you something NOAA can't provide.

Huge tree limbs lay in the street, our lights flickered repeatedly, others lost electrical entirely -- the wet, clinging snow weighed heavily and brought down lines, stopped traffic and generally SLOWED us down a lot. But it was Saturday, thank goodness -- kids home safe, having fun with the white stuff, and relatively few folks on the roads.A snow emergency was declared, FINALLY, at around 4pm, and they sent out the plows. Even the city buses were getting bogged down, stuck at the stops, and that's saying something. I normally rely on that mode in weather like yesterday's, but it still took me an hour to travel five miles one-way.
And to think it was 65 degrees and sunny less than a week ago. You pay for pleasure around these parts. Nature is a hanging judge.

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