Sunday, January 21, 2007

Woo-hoo! It's snowing in Shenandoah Valley!

Finally! First snow of the winter!

It's finally here ... the first snow of winter in the Shenandoah Valley! A blanket of white is creating a beautiful winter wonderland on the mountains and fields, lining tree branches and settling on the backs of cattle on a nearby farm as they graze unfazed at the weather around them.

The temp at my house was 24 degrees this morning and the gray sky looked like snow when the first flakes began to drift down around 9:00. I was getting in my vehicle to head out and, as I drove our rural mountain road, the snow quickly picked up so that by the time I was on the Libby Loop, "snow snakes" were swirling on the roadway. Since temps have been freezing and in the teens the past few days, the ground was frozen and the snow was not melting as it hit the pavement. Within an hour there was at least an inch of packed snow on the road ... slick and treacherous for those still zipping along at the speed limit.

We've all been waiting for it. Young employees at a Staunton restaurant had their noses pressed to the windows gazing out at the snowy scene before them ... and I gave them a thumbs-up as I walked by. I'm happy to see it, too! Excitement hung in the air as out-of-towners expressed surprise at the heavy snow ... after all, it arrived three hours earlier than forecasters had predicted.

As I returned back to my house the homey smell of wood smoke hung in the air ... the woodstove was cranking out heat to combat the cold drafts creeping in around the edges of the house. The snow lights were on, the chili pot was going, and all my family was back in safe harbor ready to stay close and enjoy the storm.

My snowboarding kids have already checked with Massanutten where three slopes are open and they're busy making snow to go with the natural stuff. The kids and their friends will be on the mountain tomorrow night ... it's unusual to be hitting the slopes for the first time this late in the season. Everyone is going to be heading in that direction....

Meanwhile we're all in for today, warm and snug, for a movie/game board day together. As I look out the window the snow is heavy and coming down at the rate of about 1" an hour. Looks good to me!

Woo-hoo! It's snowing in the Shenandoah Valley!

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