Monday, January 16, 2017

Remembering Iowa Winters

I wonder if today is as close to a "snow day" as we will get this winter. Iowa is being coated with ice today - matching Missouri and Nebraska and beyond. The ice seems far more dangerous and is less beautiful than the formerly 'normal' Iowa winters I have experienced. It certainly seems like our climate has moderated in recent years.

I remember a winter storm that left our long lane fence-top to fence-top full of heavy snow. It was in the early to mid 1960s. School would be closed for several days, giving everyone time to dig out. There was no way a tractor and blade was going to clear out all of that snow quickly, so for at least one day my sister and I walked on top of the snow drifts to get to the school bus. I remember many winters when the gravel roads to church were one lane tunnels through the drifted snow that was higher than the top of our car. One windy day would close everything down again.

When our boys were little (in the early 1980s) we lived in a mobile home in the country, on a hillside. The snow piled in drifts behind our house so deep that they buried the clothes line and our propane tank. At our Marshalltown acreage we would wait and watch the ancient orange Marshall County snowblower come down old Highway 30, clearing away the mountainous drifts between the hillsides, when the snowplows couldn't get through.

Those big snows didn't happen that often, but they certainly were memorable. It was the power of the wind that created the enormous drifts that packed tight over the roadways, blowing snow across miles of flat fields until something began to collect it - behind a fence, or over a hillside, or behind a row of trees or bushes. Rarely has Iowa experienced the heavy-duty snows that are more common in areas of lake-effect snows that bring 20-30 inches at a time.

I don't know if we are experiencing changes due to global warming or if it is just that I remember only the terrible storms, but after the great flood God promised this:

"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Genesis 8:22 NIV).

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