In late March 2003, we were convinced Spring had come to western New York, after a long and snowy winter. Of course, in Rochester one cannot be sure until early May that we are really finished with snow! So, to prove the point, we were presented with an ice storm April 3 - 5. The ice storm was the most severe since 1991, leaving up to an inch of ice on everything.
Falling trees and tree limbs knocked the power off to many houses and businesses. (A tree branch covered in ice is amazingly heavy.) The utility lines in our neighborhood are underground, so the local lines are not at risk. But, the main lines leading to the neighborhood are exposed. But, we did not lose power. Many people who spent several days without power were jealous that we kept power. Most houses were back on-line in about 3 - 4 days. We had hundreds of tree and power crews from all over the Northeast working on the matter. In 1991, some people were without power for up to 11 days.
We did lose many small branches off our trees, and several big branches off of the largest tree in our back yard. Amazingly, a tree company was able to trim up the tree so that it still looks like a tree. We think the tree will continue to live.
Even the individual blades of grass were coated with ice.
In such an ice storm, the precipitation falls as rain, but freezes on contact to create the sheets of ice that cover everything. The ice that coats the windward windows of the house then gives the window a translucent quality.
By dawn on April 5, the temperature rose above freezing, and the ice started to melt. Much of the ice on the trees came of in chunks, so we had a rain of ice cubes. But, it took much longer for the sheets of ice on the ground to melt.
If you are interested in the local news coverage, check out the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper:
As the ice melts, the creek level rises! This is the creek in our back yard with a lot more water than normal.
2002 – 2003 finally provided the winter we expected when we moved to the Rochester, New York, area in 2000. We received some 150 inches of snow. (The official snowfall for Rochester this winter is 128 inches, but we’re pretty certain that out here in Webster we received at least an extra 30 inches. We know we received an extra 20 inches in one week alone.). On March 28 the temperature reached 70 F for the first time since October, but then promptly dropped back to freezing. During the winter we had about double the usual number days of below-zero temperatures.
During our brief thaw, many people rediscovered the leaves that didn’t get raked up in time in November when the snow first came. The accumulated snow has melted quite quickly, except for the very largest of the snow mountains in the large parking lots. The ice will melt quickly once the temperature rises above freezing (assuming that ever happens!).
grass is looking very pathetic, and many yards (including part of ours) are
pretty soggy. The topography of the
area is quite flat, so the snowmelt doesn’t have anywhere to go.
It will take a while for the soil to absorb all that water.
stores have much more effective seasonal displays here than they ever do in
Southern California. Here there
really is justification for having big displays of lawn and garden equipment in
the early spring, lawn furniture in the late spring, leaf pickup materials in
the fall, and snow throwers in the winter.
See more of our white winter of 2002 – 2003 here.