Early snow

My Chinese windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) looks like a bird that has wrapped its wings around itself for warmth.

It is unusual for us to have heavy snow in December, but we have about eight inches on the ground today.  The setup was just perfect: cold air dropping down from the north and moisture streaming up from the Gulf of Mexico met right over central North Carolina.  As the afternoon goes on, the warmer air should take over, and we’ll have cold rain.  Right now, the tapping on the windows suggests that the snow has changed to sleet.

Incidentally, did you know that sleet means two different things in the UK and USA?  My mom, who grew up in England, calls a mix of rain and snow “sleet.”  Here in the U.S., the term refers to rain that freezes to form small ice pellets as it descends.

“Freezing rain,” the bane of our existence here in North Carolina, occurs when warm air rides over freezing temperatures at ground level.  If the layer of cold air isn’t deep enough to form sleet (US version), the rain freezes on contact with trees and power lines, coating and often pulling them down.  Hope we don’t have any of that today.

2 thoughts on “Early snow

  1. I wouldn’t know. I have never experienced sleet. There was a slight bit of snow in Oklahoma, and some of the freezing rain. I didn’t see it happen, but it froze all over a screen door. We were afraid to touch it, so went out the back door where the screen was left open when it happened.

    Liked by 1 person

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