Friday, 10 December 2010

A spell of hard weather but NO snow! ( 4 - 8/12/10)

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There has been no more snow fall in Tarset. In fact on Saturday 4th December we had a fresher (milder) day, icicles dripped and snow flattened. The snow really did soften and the depth of it almost shrunk before your eyes. Frost kicked in again for the following four days, two nights registered -9 and the other two were -14 and -15.
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Yes the house pipes froze on the nights which hit double figures but they were defrosted successfully after a few hours. Farm buildings are suffering similar problems, with water troughs having to be defrosted daily to ensure any housed animals have access to water, it is a time consuming occupation often best left until mid morning when it is hoped the air temperature is rising, some will wait until afternoon in the hope it will naturally come away with the body heat of the animals and the warmer air, however on days when the temperature doesn't rise above freezing it is a waste of time waiting until afternoon as the temperature soon starts to plummet again.
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The hoar frosts have been amazing, these ice crystals which appeared to look like leaves were encrusted over the top of a wooden gate, quite exquisite and very fragile. You can be forgiven for imagining snow is flightering on as the icy crystals find themselves losing their fragile hold on tree branches, slowly and gracefully falling to the ground to be lost in the whiteness which covers everything.
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Even the snow covered ground glistens with frozen ice crystals.
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Farmers and shepherds are getting no where fast, other than getting their stock fed and defrosting frozen pipes they seem to achieve very little before darkness falls, the days are short and we have yet to reach the shortest day of the year.
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The snow lies all around, at least everyone is in the same boat. Some ground has more snow cover than others, the higher ground in Tarset has the deepest snow. Where Shep lives the road is now black, thanks in main to being near to the local school and also lower lying ground. Council workers have been flat out with ploughs and gritters trying to keep routes open.

A few days milder weather has been forecast and those farmers contracted out by the local council are flat out trying to clear some of the out bye roads. These roads were eventually ploughed but with the increasing frosty weather they were becoming increasingly dangerous and many haven't been passable with a normal car anyhow. There are farmers spreading grit and salt on behalf of the council on the roads deemed unsafe for a council gritting wagon, others are out with diggers trying to cut through the hardened, compacted snow and reach the tarmac below. The mild weather will be a huge asset to them in their quest and no time is being lost to try and get our roads opened out again, to allow normal traffic and get wagons with feed stuffs, heating oils etc out to residents.
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Will this be the last photo of hoar frost this winter? Highly unlikely. A mild spell over the weekend will see snow soften further, hopefully some ground may even show it's face but those awful weather forecasters seem to think the frost will return. A respite from it will be gratefully received by many, water pipes will be running, machinery might not be breaking and should the frost return it will save any flooding which would probably happen with a quick thaw.
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In the mean time I will leave you with a view from out bye, the snow is softening slower away out there but it is going down, the depth is decreasing. The tracked argo cat eventually arrived, days later than promised but gratefully received all the same, life might be easier and safer for the shepherd out there now that he has a machine which ought to travel in the snow.

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