Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Ice storm

Monday, January 16th, 2017


One of the great joys of life is getting well when you’ve been sick. Robin and I have both had this awful cold that’s been going around — I missed parts of a couple of days of work, and last weekend we both just stayed in the house the whole time. I finally went to the doctor and got some antibiotics for the secondary infection and some predisone to clear up my sinus inflammation. Along with some good cough medicine, it started to do the trick. Still, I was happy on Friday the 13th that the university closed due to freezing rain, giving me a four-day weekend.

There wasn’t much ice in Cape Girardeau, but Pocahontas is enough farther north to make a difference. We had about a 1/4 inch on the trees, though the roads were warm enough that I don’t think it accumulated. Robin and I never left the house Friday, but I had to go out and refill the feeders, because it must get pretty tough to find food when it’s under a sheet of ice.

By Saturday I was feeling much better, and I started wondering if I could get anywhere to do some birding. I thought about Perry County Lake, which is close to the highway, and thus perhaps accessible; but when I went out to run an errand mid-morning I found that the roads were pretty clear. So, if I had my choice, I wanted to see Apple Creek for the first time in the new year.

When I got to the parking area near the boat ramp, it was raining lightly. I was warm enough in my coveralls and fedora, and I’m trying out a new shoulder bag for the camera that keeps it dry. So, rain or no I started walking the path westward. The fields nearby were thronged with sparrows; lots of white-throated, and it appeared to me that there were others mixed in, but they were shy, and staying too far away to be sure. Goldfinches mixed in as well.

When I stepped into the woods, the noise was almost deafening. At 36 degrees, with some new rain, the ice on the trees was melting and falling all around — it sounded like a downpour, and I could hardly hear anything else. But one thing I could see was a Brown Creeper who flew down to a large tree trunk and worked his way up in front of me. I’m always pleased to see a creeper — they’re so inconspicuous that I always feel like I’m in on a secret.

Ice falling off trees

Walking on down the track, I crested a hill and had a view of the woods all glazed with ice.

Apple Creek after the ice storm

By the time I got to the wetlands, the rain had stopped, and whenever I was out from under the trees I was staying pretty dry. A Hairy Woodpecker squeaked loudly at me from a snag, and when I lifted the binoculars to look at it, an immature bald eagle flew by behind. There were no waterfowl on the wetland – perhaps because there were a couple of loose dogs circling the far pool making a lot of noise.

My rule of thumb, which I think I first heard from Dennis Wheeler, is that you can’t go home until you’ve seen 30 species. By that standard, I barely made it, but with a single Yellow-Rumped Warbler, a few Eastern Bluebirds, and some Field Sparrows that popped up on the way out, I did finally hit it.

On Sunday, I was so well that I was able to sing in Unitarian fellowship. I took down the Christmas tree just in time to keep from overlapping MLK day, and brought in the traditional Yellow Submarine decoration.

Yellow Submarine

Sunday afternoon I drove across the river and counted birds at Sexton Creek and Cape Bend, adding records for the third week in January to both of them. My year count is at 50.

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

More than halfway through today’s stage, I was starting to wonder what I would write about. It was uneventful, to say the least. Perhaps I could talk about the wonders of East Cape Girardeau?

East Cape Girardeau

I should know better than to tempt fate with such thoughts. “Too boring for you? Let me liven it up a bit, puny mortal!”

Ominous sky

About 15 miles from home, the sky ahead started to look very ominous. The wind, which had been from the south when I was headed that way, swung around to the north to be against me going home. I started looking for likely places to get shelter if things got bad. Just as I got over the hill on county road 621, it started to rain, and shortly after to thunder. I was almost to Bernie Dirnberger’s house, and there on his driveway was an invitingly open garage door. I made a quick decision; too quick, as it turns out, and I hit the gravel drive and went down. I limped to the garage, pulled the bike in, and the heavens opened.

Hiding in Bernie's garage

It was a small storm, and after about 15 minutes it had let up enough for me to get back on the road, slightly bloody, somewhat bowed, but unelectrocuted, which is what really counts.

Only 6 more stages. Next Sunday is the big finish.

Storm damage

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Storm damage – our power lines

Originally uploaded by Allen Gathman.

Big storm came through yesterday, and knocked out power to most of Pocahontas. Our power lines were pulled away from the side of the house. We took our frozen food in to Cape Girardeau, where some friends had freezer space. Meanwhile we’ve been using candles and flashlights.

Sophie’s car

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Sophie’s car

Originally uploaded by Allen Gathman.

Sophie hit an ice patch on Highway C on Tuesday and went down a hill and into this tree. While I wouldn’t invoke divine intervention, I am very glad that she was lucky enough not to get hurt. The car, on the other hand, is toast. Sadly, certain idiots (me) didn’t make sure that she had comprehensive auto insurance, so it’s a total loss. Aargh.

It was so far off the road that the tow truck couldn’t get it out. I just went down this morning with Larry Leimbach, who owns the land, and he pulled it up close to the road with his tractor. A very nice guy. On Monday I’m going to get it towed to the junkyard. Sigh.

Nevertheless, she’s fine, we’re fine, Cabell just got home for Christmas, and Hannah is supposed to get in tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Official rainfall is over 10 inches in the last 36 hours for Cape Girardeau.  The rain is slacking off, but we’ve still got a lot of water in the yard.
Lake Gathkinson

Of course, we had a drainage problem in this part of the yard anyway, but that’s about as big as I’ve ever seen our “pond” get.

Advance Winter(ish) Loop

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

After a two-week delay, due to a nasty weather forecast for the first scheduled date, the Advance Winter Loop went off beautifully yesterday.

The weather cooperated nicely — after a lot of wintry crap recently, the high yesterday was in the low 70s. Not without a lot of wind, though. It was 20mph out of the south all day long. We met at Cape Bicycle at 10 AM. While we were getting organized, four guys from Cyclewerx rode by and stopped to say hi — they were also headed south. We loaded bikes on cars, and drove out to Dutchtown. There we picked up a few more people, and got under way before 11 with 10 riders. It was easy enough, except for a substantial crosswind, and pretty soon we were overtaken by the Cyclewerx guys, who had ridden out while we drove. The 14 of us continued on, turning south on highway U. There are a few rolling hills there, but the main problem was the headwind. At one point I found myself going 12 mph on flat ground with a heart rate of 160. We stopped at NUT junction, where highways N, U, and T meet.

At NUT junction

The Cyclewerx gang said goodbye and headed east on N, while the rest of us took T south.  T has rolling hills followed by one major climb to Glennon.  If you look at the mapmyride entry for the trip and click on “show elevation” below the map, you’ll see right away what I’m talking about.  After that, it was downhill and then a long flat stretch against the wind to Advance.  That finishes about the first half of the ride, and we rested at a convenience store.  From there we headed east, then due north on flat terrain.  At one point going north we were doing 35 mph on the flat, and hardly working at all.

Anyway, we got back to Dutchtown and headed home.  A great ride, amazing good luck on the weather, and a nice start to the season.   First time I’ve ridden in shorts in months.  Of course, tonight and tomorrow we’re expecting ice and snow again.  I’m ready for spring.

A casualty of the ice storm

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Going to and from work, I ride on County Road 543. This fall I took a picture of this really striking sugar maple:

Fall maple

And today I rode by and it looked like this:

Maple destroyed by storm

Or, from another angle, like this:

Maple destroyed by ice storm

Exciting trip to work

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Since yesterday it was pretty warm and sunny, I decided this morning that I would ride my bike to work.  First Robin wanted me to get her car down the driveway (still covered with ice) to the road.  So, about 5:45 AM, Robin and I got in her car, I backed it up and cut to the side so I could turn it around, and … we were stuck.  After considerable rocking back and forth, etc., it was apparent that we weren’t going anywhere.  So, we got in my car, and it was no problem at all turning it around and driving it to the road, where she took over and sped off.  Then I hauled the garbage can out to the road for pickup, and walked back up the driveway.

I fell twice doing that.

Still, the roads looked good, and besides, Robin had my car, so I got the bike out and managed to walk it to the road.  No big problems until I got onto W, where my back tire went flat.

Not a problem.  I now have both a hand pump and a CO2 pump, as well as two spare tubes.  So I fixed the flat — fortunately I was near a pine tree with a bare patch under it, so I didn’t have to squat in the slush to do it.  I had a little trouble with the valve on the new tube, but still got it inflated, although a bit mushy.  Packed up all the stuff and headed on to Y.

Y had a few places that were shaded yesterday and still icy.  Then I got to county road 621.  Eeek.  This road is basically lined with trees right up to the shoulder, and it was all in the shade yesterday.  Much of it was still covered with ice, even though it had been plowed and sanded and salted.   I managed it by aiming for the spots that were the driest or most covered with sand.

Some areas were just lined with broken limbs and sawed-off downed trees that had been cleared from the road.  Every tree over 25 feet tall or so lost its top, it seems — a lot of people will be clearing debris from their yards for a long time.

Still, I got to town, and here I am.  I think I’ll leave pretty early to ride home.   Oh, and I’ll go get another spare tube before I head out.

Back to work.

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

It was clear this morning at sunrise.


And I am actually in my office now. First time since late Monday morning. Getting out of the driveway was a little tense — where it slopes down to the road I didn’t dare try to stop, but fortunately there was no traffic on C. The major roads were all clear and dry. I really regret not having ridden the bike, actually. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

Still more ice, but the sun came out

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Front yard
The front yard.

The university was closed again today, and Robin’s school was too.  Tomorrow the high school is still closed, but they plan to open the university at 10 AM.   I think I can get to the road, and things are fairly clear now.   Not to mention, it’s supposed to thaw tomorrow.

I’m ready.  Three days in the cabin is long enough.  Of course, even tomorrow I won’t be able to ride my bike to work — roads will be icy until after noon.