Finally, Snow

December toyed with us. Temperatures averaged 2.1° F above normal according to the National Weather Service (NWS), and we had just over half the average snowfall. Snow was predicted for Christmas, which we got, but two days before that, we awoke to temperatures below zero. The windows glittered.

This frost was inside the storm window, fortunately. Photographed on December 23, 2022.

A week later we had over ¾ inches of rain, which ushered in a normally wet January—but daily temperatures averaged 8.3° above normal. There were only five high temperatures below freezing and only four low temperatures below 20°—in January, in Michigan! Crazy.

We had a couple of inches of rather wet snow on January 23, a very easy shoveling job.

Echinacea purpurea, wearing snow caps. Photographed on January 23, 2023.

And then we had what may be—perhaps—the only snowstorm of the season. It was pretty, wet snow. The storm track had shifted in the night on January 25, and the NWS revised the winter storm warning shortly before 4 a.m. It started earlier and dropped more snow than was predicted the night before. In the end, we had 8.6 inches of new wet, heavy snow; 3–5 inches were predicted, leaning towards a lighter snowfall. It was beautiful, but the plow drivers worked long hours to catch up.

The view into the backyard. Photographed on January 25, 2023.

Oddly, although it has not been unusually wet, I would have guessed differently. It has been frequently humid and drizzly. The monthly drought outlook shows that, for this area: “Drought remains but improves.” The long line of storms that created havoc in California seemed to drive Gulf moisture our way. There have been many days this winter when I could have closed my eyes and been standing in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, bone-chilled from the wet wind blowing off New York Bay. It is something I have been unendingly grateful to leave behind.

Today is quite cold, but the weather will moderate again by tomorrow. The NWS 30-day outlook is for above-average temperatures and precipitation. I will start checking the witch hazel sometime this weekend. I hope these few days approximating winter have chilled it sufficiently to bloom.