Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

I have been traveling in North Dakota a recently and had the good fortune to run across one of my favorite weather phenomena — hoarfrost. Hoarfrost is a heavy coating of ice that is typically deposited on vegetation leading to a winter wonderland appearance.  As the temperature of moist air drops its ability to hold moisture is reduced. When the air temperature is above freezing, dew forms. At temperatures fall below freezing the moisture in saturated air may condense directly to ice (hoarfrost).  Here are some photos of hoarfrost in North Dakota.

Hoarfrost1

Hoafrost2

Trip to 4Bears - December 04, 2014 - 0023-Edit

Trip to 4Bears - December 04, 2014 - 0013-Edit

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I was recently in North Dakota visiting my father-in-law who lives in Minot. The major winter chill has hit there just as hard as it has hit most of the rest of the country although the area has avoided much of the heavy snow. The cold (temperatures often in the low single digits) has been only part of the story in the area. The wind has persistently been over 25 miles per hour with gusts between 30-50 miles per hour. The resulting wind chill has often resulted in temperatures in the teens and twenties below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

My first photo is of a horse as it tries to get some food from a frozen field. It isn’t snowing heavily, but the snow is blowing around causing near white out conditions.

Along County Hwy 3 (Snow Day) - November 17, 2014 - 158-2

In this photo, the wind has died down for a bit. I simply liked the composition.

Along County Hwy 3 - November 17, 2014 - 001-2

After the harvest (in what appeared to be a relatively rare corn field), the cattle go through the field to eat what they can find.  Again, there was not much snow, but it was bitterly cold with the wind chill.

Along Hwy 2 - November 17, 2014 - 0019-Edit

Finally, some rays of hope — the forecast indicates warmer weather within the next week.

Along Hwy 2 - November 17, 2014 - 0067-Edit

As the cold weather began to settle into the Madison area, the temperature of Lake Mendota, the largest of the Chain of Lakes in Madison, was significantly warmer than the surrounding air resulting in some foggy mornings. Here are some photos from those foggy mornings.

Here is a photo of Maple Bluff (about 3/4 mile [1.2 km] across the lake from where I took this photo and about 120 feet [36.5 meters] above the lake at this point) shrouded in the fog.

Foggy Morning - 0109

Here is a photo of part of the City of Madison shore (foreground) with fog on the lake.

Foggy Morning1

Here are two views of the Tenney Park breakwater in the early morning with the fog in the background.

Foggy Morning3  Foggy Morning4

 

 

 

The ability to see for long distances is one of the many wonderful things about North Dakota because it allows you to see really big things in their entirety. This is nicely demonstrated in this photo of the downpour from a thunderstorm.

Thunderstorm

When I first met the woman who eventually became my wife and learned that she came from North Dakota I asked her what were 5 great things about North Dakota. One of the things she identified was the “big sky” — the fact that you could see forever. Being from Wisconsin, I didn’t have a clue about what that meant, but as time has passed I have come to get a glimmer of understanding.

One of the things I love about North Dakota is its spectacular sky. There is no place else that I have ever been where I have seen such consistently beautiful cloudscapes and they are only visible because of that “big sky” my wife spoke about years ago.

I’ll be posting some of the “big sky” shots from my current trip over the next few weeks. Here is one example.

Big Sky - Cloudscape I

The largest national wildlife refuge in North Dakota is the J.Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge that is 64 miles northeast of Minot (take Hwy 2 East to Towner and Hwy 14 North to the refuge). I was only able to stop there for about 30 minutes, but was lucky enough to catch some rather nice photos.  I will be making a longer visit to this area a priority for my next visit.

 

J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge - June 23, 2014 - 0001-Edit-2

 

 

 

What a wonderful challenge idea Cee.

Here is my story of water – from droplet to ocean and back again. I hope you enjoy the rather lengthy journey.

The first stop is two drops of water that are held by bits of moss.

Raindrops on moss

Raindrops on moss

While much of this water will sink back into the earth to replenish aquifers or run off to do duty elsewhere, some will evaporate. Evaporated these two water drops band together with millions of billions of others to form clouds that can be jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Rural Railroad Crossing - July 19, 2013 - 73

However, those same water drops can become nightmarishly dangerous if you are driving on a rural highway in the blinding rain.

Traveling America - Downpour on Highway 2-2

Of course these water drop can also fall in the form of snow …

In the Cascades - April 17, 2013 - 43

or may become ice and form gigantic glaciers or the most delicate of structures.

Flight.

The gathering of water is among the most common sights on earth given that more than 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water.

Water readily forms puddles …

Circlepalooza - April 19, 2013

and ponds.

Spring at Army Ammunition Plant - May 05, 2014 - 068

Left to its own devices  it will gather into cleansing wetlands.

Cherokee Marsh in the Fog - September 26, 2013 - 53

Water is the great way station and play station for a myriad of wildlife from Canadian Geese

Goose Prepares for Flight - October 02, 2013 - 68-E

to bald eagles (here an immature bald eagle)

Immature Bald Eagle - January 10, 2014 - 15

to Sandhill cranes.

Sandhill Cranes1

When the drops of water do not sink into the ground, they gather together first into streams …

Columbia River Gorge  - April 21, 2013 - 0038

that lead to great lakes like Lake Michigan

Sunset on Lake Michigan

and mighty rivers like the Columbia River

Columbia River Gorge  - April 21, 2013 - 0416

… all inexorably making their way to the oceans.

Here we see two surfers in the Pacific near Cannon  Beach in Oregon,

Surfers near Cannon Beach. OR

while the view of the Pacific in Monterey is much more peaceful.

There is a House Back There

It is in the oceans that the water, heated by the sun, drives the climate. Eventually that water freshened by evaporation raises itself again and ultimately gathers itself into the weather systems we watch for and when the rain falls we see in it our own renewal.

Self-portrait