Green winter in October

Today I was reading something interesting on the bus and drove past my stop. But on my way home I saw this, which was to become my new desktop picture.

For the past two decades, the normal weather in winter here on Norway’s south coast has been what we call “green winter”:  Temperature hovering around zero, colder when it is clear but warmer when water comes down, so that it comes as rain (or at most slush) rather than snow.  There is snow occasionally, and once in a while lots of it. But after a few weeks or sometimes just days, it rains away again.

Last winter was not like that at all.  Snowdrifts as tall as me, about 6 feet, near the house. Slightly lower snow drifts blocking the road, and filling up overnight if I shoveled them away.  Icy cold week after week, freezing whatever water pipes were not running.  (The shower in particular seem to have only off and on mode, no trickle.) The winter before was also fairly cold, although not quite that intense.  I suspect this one will be even colder.  Certainly the fall has been the coldest I can remember since I moved to the South Coast more than 30 years ago.

The temperature now in October has been typical of “green winter”, but without snow yet.  Still, clear nights of frost and rainy days the temperature of a fridge. Actually it is not raining much here even now.  Tonight it is cold and clear again.  But it is probably the rainiest part of the year after all.

September was already in full autumn mode.  Normally some of the summer would linger on, or we would get an “Indian summer” a little into the month. Not so this time.  It was chilly from the start, and ended at the border of winter, where we have been ever since.  I’d “blame” the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland, but that would probably be mostly wrong. There was no ash cloud last year, and it was still colder than usual. There is probably some longer weather pattern involved.

I have enough free wood in the shed for a long winter if that is how it is going to be. I doubt I’ll be able to heat my home office with just my computers much longer…

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