We have had a touch of what the English would call 'inclement weather'....
It's darned cold and can't make up its mind whether to snow, hail, blow or be sunny....
A few weeks ago now we had our first tornado warning since moving to NW Arkansas. I was actually quite worried. I took the boys the school, but then worried about what to do if there was a Tornado. G said "Mama if there is a tornado, will you please come and get me?" Could I actually do that? S reassured me that if a Tornado was to hit, that the schools had lots of tornado proof areas and would actually lock down the school with the children in it until the danger had passed. As it happened, it got really hot and humid and there was a huge thunderstorm, but thankfully no tornado!
Yesterday, we had a Winter Storm Warning in place. The warning started at 8am and was in place until 12pm today. When it started to snow yesterday, my usual magnificent view of Beaver Lake vanished behind a wall of white, and I decided to light the fire, just in case we lost power and the house got cold. I had just lit the fire when S called me from work and said to let him know if the schools were being closed, so he could swing by and collect the boys and be home early! I expected the worst. It was pretty yucky for a while but then the bad weather vanished as quickly as it came and took the snow with it. I felt very relieved.
The boys arrived home from school at the usual time, but then the weather seemed to close in again and the local TV stations hijacked our normal TV viewing with storm warnings again and news of freezing rain. I thought freezing rain was hail, but apparently not. The temps drop below freezing, then it rains and as the rain hits the ground it freezes - instantly! creating the mother of all ice rinks in the process. The local weather man said ice layers would between 0.10 and 0.5 inches thick - the warning said "DO NOT leave your home until the storm has passed!" Again we were told the warning was in place until 12pm today.
We stoked up the fire and prepared for a cold night! I was half expecting to be woken through the night by ravaging storms, but I slept soundly and didn't wake until 5.30 this morning, when I was woken by the sound of G rekindling the remnants of the fire. One look outside and I knew that it must have been raining for quite some time through the night. It wasn't raining when I got up but our back deck was like a huge ice rink with ice nearly ½ inch thick in places and icicles hanging from my garden chairs and table. The BBQ cover looked like it was plastic not material and it was impossible to walk out there without sliding all over the place.
The local news was reporting that the worst of the weather had yet to hit us and that there would be thunderstorms to accompany the freezing. They said that there were power outages in certain areas and that they expected more throughout the morning! Many school districts were reporting that schools were closed for the day and I was keeping my fingers crossed that both of the boys schools would be closed! One disadvantage to living so far out of town is that we can had weather conditions far worse than in the town, making travelling to town and back hard work. S left the house around 6.30am to make the drive into town and work. He rang me a little later to tell me where the trouble spots were, and my heart sunk when he said the bridge was the worst spot, but just to take it really slowly and keep straight! I have to drive across the bridge to get into town, and it is almost halfway between us and town. On a normal day it looks like this -
As you can see it is a single carriageway straight bridge. On a good day the view as you drive along the bridge is wonderful. This morning it was covered in thick ice, and if you skid, there is nowhere to go! I kept hoping against hope that the news would tell me the boys schools were closed, but there was no such luck for me and at 7am we headed out to make the 13 mile journey to town. For the most part the road was pretty good - gritters had been out and the winding road was far less slippy than I expected. The bridge was kind of scary, but it was obvious that lots of cars had passed over on their way into town and crossing the first time wasn't so bad, I just kept my speed slow and didn't break or accelerate and we got over OK. However it also became obvious that the traffic flow had only been one way - the other side of the road was virtually untouched and I needed to come back after dropping the boys. I didn't tell the boys but I was worried about my drive home, and was just hoping against hope that the bridge would be empty and I could cross over onto the wrong side on my homeward journey.
Once in town the roads were clear and I was able to drop the boys of without incident which was good. The journey home again was slower than slow and the bridge, well at about 10 mph it wasn't too bad. Sadly there was a steady stream of traffic coming into town, so I had to stick to the 'slickery' side of the street, as S would say, but I made it home in one piece - just in time for a lovely thunderstorm.
Thankfully, as I write this, the rain has stopped and I cannot hear any more thunder rumbling. The deck is still an ice rink, but I have thrown some salt onto it, so hopefully it too will soon be accessible. I am hoping that this is the last of the bad weather for a while, and I am counting my blessing that I do not live in Mass like my sister, where the heavens opened and dumped 30 inches of snow on them the other week.
There are already a few signs of Spring, and with that will come the tornado warnings again. The neighbours tell me that the tornados only ever hit the other side of the lake, and one neighbour tells me he likes to sit on his deck and watch them as they do so. Maybe I will be able to get some photo's, although I kind of hope not!
Have a wonderful day