Wednesday, March 8, 2017

For a few minutes anyway, I love winter

           This winter has been a gentle one so far no crippling storms, no tree crashing  ice, no snow roller creating windstorms.   Today I am graced by an enchanting Lake Effect snow, possibly 10 inches of huge fluffy flakes, that at times will fall with an enthusiasm  making it difficult  to see 20 feet ahead, could call  that a ferocity .

For those of you who don't live near the Great Lakes, lake effect snows are created by cold winds blowing across the unfrozen water of one of the Lakes.  They are often called bands or streamers of lake effect snow because on a radar or other image they look like a stripe of snow and clouds.   One can be driving  down the highway and suddenly find themselves engulfed in a wall of falling snow, and just as suddenly find they have driven through that wall, possibly only to drive through others down the road.

Who would think that such fragile  things as snowflakes, could turn into something so strong.   Strong enough to close  schools and business, and even stop trains.   Sound is also stopped, perhaps absorbed is a better word, by fresh snow.   The silence  created by freshly fallen snow is not your imagination, it is real.

Slowly the clouds get thinker and grayer, it no longer looks like early morning, but more like late afternoon.  As first one little snowflake, is joined by a multitude of big fluffy flakes.  Taking a few moments to see if the snow is good for making an army of tiny snowmen, seeing if February snow tastes differently than December snowflakes, as it lands on my tongue, and to snap a few pictures before the snow gets so thick that my faithful little camera gets dangerous wet.  The little kid in me can't wait to come out and play, but now it is time to go inside and watch my world turn into a snow globe.   The flowering quince  harbors a multitude of chickadees that know  that I will soon fill the feeder, so they wait patiently, while I fetch their snack. 
I have all day today to watch it snow and all day tomorrow to dig out, so why not enjoy a big pot of soup, fresh bread and real coffee.   And of course the solitude.  Sometimes I must admit, I like to pretend I am a pioneer, because I , lulled by the silence, know that I only have to pretend.







Except when the winds howl and topple a tree onto the power lines, or an unfortunate motorist skids into a pole, and the power really does go off.  Then I fetch my loverly hand made {by me} candles from the linen closet and  set then up in rows  of jars and lite them, what a warming glow, now I can return to pretending I am a pioneer, Ok that is after I use my cell phone to call the power company and inform them of the situation.  and here  I sit and rock in my great Grandfathers rocker, and what it snow.  Until I am so tired that I drift off to sleep, lulled by the silence and for these few moments only, I Love winter.







Why is it quiet after a fresh snowfall?

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
January 26, 2017, 12:50:24 PM EST

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In the moments after a snowstorm concludes, leaving behind a landscape shrouded in white, the great outdoors often become noticeably quieter.
As it turns out, there's a scientific reason behind the calming silence, with the characteristics of snow playing a big role in how sound can travel.
When light, fluffy snow accumulates on the ground, it acts as a sound absorber, dampening sound waves much like commercial sound-absorbing products.
“Snow is going to be porous, and typically porous materials such as fibers and foams, and things of that sort, absorb sound pretty well,” said David Herrin, a professor at the University of Kentucky’s College of Engineering, who studies acoustics.
snowy street Residential street covered in snow with sunny sky. (Photo/LynnKHansen/iStock/Thinkstock)


Usually it takes a couple of inches of snow, but even an inch can be reasonably absorbing, especially if you go higher in frequency, according to Herrin.
Sound absorption is measured on a scale from 0 to 1. Based on previous measurements, sound absorption for snow is in between 0.5 to 0.9, Herrin said.
"That implies that a good amount of sound is going to be absorbed," he said.
However, as the structure of snow changes, the amount of noise in the surrounding environment could increase.
When the snow surface melts and refreezes, it can become hard and reflect sound waves, causing sounds to travel farther and become clearer, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
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“Generally after a snowfall, the sound absorption is going to be at a maximum then,” Herrin said. “After a snow has gotten hard or icy, then a lot of the sound is going to bounce back or be reflected at that point.”
“It doesn’t seem as quiet outside in that case.”



Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kevin Byrne at Kevin.Byrne@accuweather.com, follow him on Twitter at @Accu_Kevin. Follow us

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