Saturday, December 26, 2009

12/23/09 Old Man Winter's Icy Wonderland

Barbed-wire illustrating a freezing-rain event locally

A minor ice event occurred in the local-area here in Kewanee, IL this past Wednesday. It doesn't take much ice to cause serious travel problems and add the Christmas holiday to the's a recipe for chaos. The good thing with this such event: surface temperatures rose fairly quickly especially pavement temperatures. Other than elevated and untreated surfaces the roads in this area were in decent shape during this freezing rain event. Before this system took aim on the Midwest I was monitoring this system for about a week in advance "wishcasting" for a blizzard or ice storm in the local-area. It was a all for naught though...yes a strong winter storm did indeed develop however, but the track of the system was unfavorable at least in this area. The unfavorable track allowed the central plains and portions of the Midwest to get bombarded with yet another blizzard. Lucky or darn right unlucky for them? make the call! Anyhow, another powerhouse storm...that's three now for the month of December alone. It seems El Nino isn't disappointing thanks to the active southern branch of the jet stream eh? Furthermore, even though we missed out on the big "winter-side" of this storm its warm conveyor belt gave unseasonably heavy rains to much of Illinois. Heavy rains instead of heavy snow(s) and ice accumulations...a bummer to say the least, but oh well. This winter storm did show some interesting characteristics as it began the occlusion process. It began to retrograde west/northwest...very unusual. I actually have a water vapor loop to illustrate this as well. The photos I took of the minor freezing rain event can be found below:

One of my favorite shots of the morning
Wide-angle shot of some large ice-coated
trees in rural-Stark County, IL
Shatter-proof holiday tree ornaments
were obviously glazed overnight
Nice row of icicles here...(macro-lens)
Outdoor trellis showing off the effect when rain freezes on contact
Power-lines glazed over...wouldn't have took much more
ice accumulation to cause some power outages
(Canon telephoto-zoom lens)
Outdoor poinsettia encased in ice...
Lonesome ice-coated tree...
Lots and lots of ice accumulation
Example of what .10"-.20" in of total
ice accumulation looks like...
Even this minor freezing rain event had the look of an ice storm...
Nature freezing rain shot...(macro-lens)
Icy glaze
Personal outdoor weather station obs. compromised
Christmas light amidst the icy wonderland
Evergreen tree completely glazed here
Ok, I've never heard of an icy snowflake...
Ice-coated tree
Another nature shot...(macro-lens)
Some green vegetation now glazed-over
Icicles galore on this fence
Green grass in late-December...hmm
More and more scenes like this everywhere you could look
Definitely a "seasonal shot" here

Here are a couple night photos before all this ice melted with intense warm air advection overnight:

Icy holiday light display
Icicles all lit-up thanks to some rope lighting

We also had some light snowfall over the Christmas holiday. This was very minor however so it almost was the perfect opportunity for some photography of a different sort so here are a couple snowflake macro-lens shots below:

My favorite (macro snowflake) shot of the season

I added a short YouTube clip of a quick snow burst during Christmas Day (above)

We may have missed out on yet another big winter storm here in Illinois, but just a little bit of winter weather can create some dramatic effects and picturesque photography...