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Weather unusually unpredictable of late

Ron Smith, Editor

February 21, 2020

2 Min Read
From warm to rain to snow in a matter of 72 hours.Ron Smith

Climate change is real. It changed six times last week.

Before anyone gets antsy, I'm not about to grab onto the political hot potato of what's happening in the atmosphere. I don't understand nearly enough science to make a convincing argument. I know what I think, and I doubt that my limited amount of scientific knowledge would be adequate to persuade anyone who believes differently. I'll leave it at that.

I will say, however, that this just might be the oddest winter I've witnessed in a long time, maybe the oddest I've ever seen. Last week, for instance, started out pleasant enough, temperatures in the 50s to mid - 60s, pushing toward spring-like trends for a few hours.

Then it rained. And then it rained some more. The wind rose and howled and scattered branches and other debris across the lawn, the driveway and the hay field behind our house.

Thursday came a downpour. The low spot in the pasture behind our house, where a small stream usually gurgles gently along, meandering into a patch of trees and out of sight, became a lake. The culvert that runs from our street to the edge of our backyard spewed gallons of water across the lawns of homes downhill from us and merged with the swollen stream at the bottom of the pasture.

Soggy ruled the day.

Related:Sustainability has evolved over four decades

Sometime about mid-morning Friday, I left my desk (My physical therapist recommends up and about every 20 minutes.) to walk and think about where my next sentence was coming from. I looked out the back window to see snow, small flakes but falling steadily and propelled sideways by that relentless wind that persisted overnight.

It snowed most of the day, but with the temperature holding around 35, accumulation was minimal, a dusting, perhaps. The wind was blowing so hard the flakes had no opportunity to gain purchase on anything solid.

I got up Saturday morning to more snow. At first, I thought it was a misty rain or fog, but closer observation revealed more small snowflakes, mixed with sleet. Temperatures dropped to 32. Flakes got bigger and began clinging to tree limbs, the deck and the ground — a little more than a dusting this time.

Still, we escaped significant accumulation and within an hour of the snow ceasing, the trees dropped their icy ornaments, the grass sluffed off the thin white cover and the deck returned to its natural hue. It was pretty while it lasted.

Sunday morning, thick fog cloaked the pasture in eerie shrouds of gray. Faint rays of sunlight revealed the top of the old concrete silo at the edge of the pasture. Leafless trees stood waiflike in the mist.


Foggy Morning

By Sunday afternoon, near 60-degree temperatures and clear skies convinced me to take a walk. It felt like spring.

It's Monday now. It's raining. 

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith

Editor, Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 30 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Denton, Texas. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and two grandsons, Aaron and Hunter.

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