Just checked the local forecast. Not sure why I did that, as I just came in from my daily walk, and couldn’t see a damn thing. Newfoundland winters are like that. One minute the sun is shining and the next thing you can’t see a hand in front of your face. What gets me is the way that they have begun to explain the weather.
When I was a kid there weren’t too many different terminologies for snow. You had snow or blowing snow. If you had blowing snow it was called a storm. If you had snow, it was the light fluffy stuff we loved to crawl through and build tunnels in. Not any more. So many different terms for snow. We have light snow, heavy snow, wet snow, dry snow (?), hail, sleet, freezing rain, freezing rain pellets (snow?). We have snow showers, snow squalls, snow flurries, and blizzards.
Apparently all this snow confusion has led me to research the white stuff that fills my driveway and weighs down the roof of my house. My research has led me to learn the following;
- Snow – White stuff that you see on Christmas cards. It is great for one horse open sleighs and sliding. It is cold, unique, and melts on your hand. Some kids eat it (like my cousin Larry who especially liked the yellow variety (yuck))
- Snow Flurries – large amounts of snow that fall suddenly. This is the stuff that can make driving hazardous and can block roads (but not enough so that they cancel work or school)
- Snow Squalls. This is a relatively new term when it comes to winter. It is basically a snow shower (I will explain later) accompanied by wind, sometimes heavy. This is somehow different than snow flurries in that it makes driving even more hazardous and blocks roads quicker. Squalls can begin and start instantaneously and that is what makes them frustrating. (ME: Boss, it is so stormy I can’t see a thing, so I am staying home! BOSS: WTF are you talking about? It is sunny and clear here, so get to work!)
- Wet snow – snow mixed with rain, this stuff is heavy as hell to shovel, and makes driving treacherous.
- Dry snow – term used mostly by cross country skiers, the perfect snow for skiing.
- Freezing rain – freezing rain.
- Freezing rain pellets – freezing rain that has frozen.
- Hail – frozen lumps of ice, they hurt on the head.
- Yellow snow – snow that has been peed on by dogs, cats, or desperate humans
- Blowing snow – kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
- Snow Showers (I promised this one) – the latest term, never before used. The 2013 term snow showers refers to a short to moderate duration of snow. Sometimes accompanied by wind and can cause temporary loss of visibility.
- Blizzard – a combination of many snow squalls, freezing rain, freezing rain pellets, blowing snow, snow flurries, snow showers, and snow. Not to be taken lightly, this phenomena can last a few hours or several days.
There it is, clear as a winter storm in Newfoundland. Hopefully I didn’t confuse anyone with the terminology. Now I shall go and attempt to blow the damn white stuff from my yard and driveway with my trusty snowblower. Wish me luck.