A Winter Day

We had winter today in Houston.  It’s been colder–we had a hard freeze a couple of weeks ago that drove the temperatures further down the scale.  This morning it didn’t get much below 30 degrees where I live, southeast of the city near Galveston Bay.  But it rained.  Not very much, although I couldn’t check my rain gauge this morning because it was frozen into its base, but enough to make ice.

And there’s the problem.  We’re just not used to ice around here.  We can handle a freeze.  And we can handle rain.  But both at once–that’s a problem.  By the time I got up and turned on the news this morning, there were accidents all over the map, freeway overpasses shut down by ice, bridges closed.  Although I don’t usually work on Friday, I had planned to go in today for some quiet catch-up time (January being the busiest month in the bookkeeping year).  It didn’t take me long to decide that was a Bad Idea.  Virtually all the school systems in the area were closed.  The signs which usually tell us how long our drive will take said “Icy Conditions Exist – Travel Discouraged.”

When I went out to get my newspaper this morning, its plastic bag was covered in ice.  There were icicles hanging from the eaves of my house, and droplets of ice clinging to my hanging plants.  The rain gauge was frozen into its base.  I know these are minor happenings compared to the rough winter in much of the country.  I lived in the suburbs of Milwaukee as a child, and I do remember winter.  But I’ve been making my way around the Gulf of Mexico for the past several decades, from the suburbs of Miami, where anything below 60 degrees is regarded as unbearably cold, to Tallahassee, where I once saw the fountain at FSU frozen solid, to New Orleans, to New Iberia, where we once had a real snowfall, to Houston.  I’ve seen it snow here, too, maybe three times in thirty-five years, and we have ice on the roads maybe every three or four years.  I know my limitations–I don’t drive on ice.

The icicles on the south side of my house eventually melted, but the ones on the north side were still there this evening.  The traffic signs tonight (I looked at the map on line) still say “Icy Conditions May Exist – Drive With Caution.”  But it should be in the 50s tomorrow, and it may get close to 70 on Sunday.  And then we can expect another cold front next week.  Winter may be fairly short in this area, but it’s never boring.

Icy fern 012414

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