Saturday, February 25, 2017

Wild February Day

This late winter day featured early daytime temperatures above seventy degrees followed by a drop below freezing.  Severe storms featuring small heavy rain cells with occasional thunder filled the early afternoon.  A local flood watch was in effect.  This raised serious questions about my driving route from Syracuse.  The customary nearly straight line drive includes secondary roads that follow rather narrow valleys.  Local flooding here would require that I turn around and head back toward Syracuse.  There are no paved roads that climb out of those valleys.

The early in the day trip found this favorite waterfall with a generous amount of water cascading over it.  At this point in time, only snow melt from the warm air was added to the typical flow.  On my return trip, heavy rain had greatly increased the flow and had colored it soil brown.  Not finding that color water photogenic, I pressed on toward home.

This old mill dam would be part of every drive except for the horrible pavement encountered as one leaves Norwich on route 23.  I believe that the lousy road surface is deliberate to slow traffic.  Driving that road is hard on both the vehicle and its occupants at any slow speed.  Exceeding the posted speed limit would shake loose car parts.  Today I drove there just to see this.  The heavy rainfall had passed by the time I returned.  No flooding extended to cross  the roads so the return trip was uneventful despite widespread flooded valley fields.  This usually quiet stream was roaring.

As I neared Syracuse, two heavy rain cells were encountered.  The first was about two miles wide with rain so heavy the it was almost impossible to see the road.  Reason would have dictated that I pull off the road but there were no shoulders here.  Not a fan of stopping in the roadway, I continued to move guided mainly by my knowledge of the road.  The second severe cell was encountered while on a better highway.  These unusually heavy rains are a new experience to me.  I cannot remember rain so heavy that visibility simply disappeared.  Might these small heavy cells point to a change in our weather patterns?

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