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So long, summer: first frost
I took a walk in the middle of our hit-and miss frost this morning in Charleston, the first of the season. Strangely, houses and cars on either side of me had frost, but none on mine - limiting my close-up opportunities.
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click to enlarge
As I explained in a post last year, my life seems to only have two seasons in the year - summer and winter. Spring and fall, to me, are only vague transitions between the two - the only noticeable thing being the visuals of foliage. In a practical sense, for me summer and winter seem to 'officially' arrive with one distinct event. In the spring, 'summer mode' starts for me when I can say that our last snowfall has happened, deep moisture returns and the 850mb freezing line is more or less permanently staying to the north. Practically speaking, it's the day I either have to turn the AC on or go out and mow the grass for the first time. And as I said last year, 'winter mode' starts the day I have to turn the furnace on in the house to stay comfortable. That day was today (specifically this morning when I got up, when the inside temp in the house dropped to 55°F).
So in addition to that smell that comes from the gas burners coming on after months of being dormant (incinerating whatever dust particles had settled on them all summer), my winter gear (gloves, hat, heat packets, and extra sweatshirts, coat and jacket) has made its way from my closet back into the storage areas of my car, ready for the season's snowstorm and icy road event coverage. So, that's pretty much the uncerimonious 'ceremonial' way I switch from summer to winter mode.
Icy Road season begins
We are, without a doubt, officially into icy road season here in this state. The earliest snowfall I have covered here was on October 24, and the earliest icy bridge crash I have on tape is from October 25 - both from the 2005 season. It won't be long before ice on the roads starts making headlines. I am working on a PSA site about this, to be announced sometime next week.
In fact, there very well could have already been a few icy bridges on I-79 this morning. Heavy freezing fog with temperatures below 32°F were being reported in Sutton and a few other sites across the state at dawn, conditions that have in the past resulted in accidents:
So far, nothing has been reported yet this morning, which is good. Not the case in Denver earlier this week, where the first major icy road accident event in the US this season struck the west side of the city - with already at least one fatality claimed.
Mountain fall colors photography
With the promise of clear skies today, my plan, Lord willing, is to head back to Big Walker Lookout this afternoon, with a few stops around the usual mountain overlooks. Today may be the last clear-sky day I get on a weekend before the leaves go past their peak colors. Photos to come later!