After the storm

Ice pellets
Ice pellets

We had a whopper of a nor’easter last night. Schools closed early yesterday and it was a foregone conclusion that they’d be closed today. Many offices in the Maritimes are closed today.

Here close to the Atlantic coast, we had little rain though it was forecast. It came down as ice pellets. The top couple of inches are made of ice pellets, averaging about 1 mm in diameter.

We I don’t often get to ski on our road before it’s plowed, but at time of writing it still is covered, though it seems that 4-wheel drive trucks can get through.

As you can see, the snow drifts around to collect on the sheltered, south-facing side of my swingset greenhouse.

After the snowstorm

The storm predicted by the red sunrise in my last post has passed, leaving the world cleansed and transformed.

And so the shoveling begins.  We have about 3-4 inches of very dense snow here near Western Shore on the shore of Mahone Bay.  A friend near New Germany, inland, reports at least a foot and a half of “thick heavy snow”.  Meanwhile, someone in Kingsburg, which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, has no snow at all!  This pattern is typical: rain near the coast, snow inland.

Here’s how a tidal inlet on Mahone Bay looked this morning:

Tidal inlet with snow
Jan. 13, 2011, after a snowstorm. Taken with a Fujifilm FinePix S1800 at the widest angle setting, equivalent to 28mm.

Storm Surge on the South Shore

Back-to-back rainstorms this weekend have carried away most of the snow as well as the ice. The tide, augmented by full moon and a storm surge, was as high this morning as I’ve ever seen it.

Storm surge on Oak Island causeway
At 8:30 this morning, at high tide, the water was almost level with the road leading to the Oak Island causway. Some small waves came onto the road from what is usually the sheltered side.
Cannon near Oak Island
Cannon directing its wrath at the sea.

On Friday night, our power was off for 2 1/2 hours, which is very unusual for us.

High tide that night coincided with high winds. Waves were splashing over the causeway.

The cannon in the photo at right used to point straight out at oncoming ships, but since Friday night it has been pointing downwards, as if to protect us from the wrath of Poseidon.


Ex-hurricane Danny: Weather for ducks

What's down the road?
"OK, boys, we're outta here. Let's check things out down the road." E. Sepulchre photo

These intrepid ducks were not at all shy as my husband herded them out of the garden and back down the road. I bet they’re happy now: it’s pouring rain. Danny was briefly a hurricane but is down to a post-tropical storm that will pass south of Nova Scotia on a similar path to Hurricane Bill. After a beautifully sunny, but cool, week, the gardens will love the rain. But weekend campers are out of luck this time.

It seems to have been a bumper year for ducks.  Near our place, we’re blessed with lots of natural shoreline where they can build nests.  Elsewhere, and where people have the money, they build walls of boulders at the high tide line to shore up their lawns and act as a buffer against erosion.  But those neat and tidy rock walls are bad news for nesting shorebirds.

Waiting for Hurricane Bill

Hurricane Bill approaching Nova Scotia as seen on Select clouds, windfields and map labels, then go fullscreen for the best picture.
Hurricane Bill approaching Nova Scotia as seen on Click image to see fullscreen current version. Select clouds, windfields and map labels, to get a picture like this.

“Batten down the hatches” – it’s an old expression from the days of “wooden boats and iron men” and describes perfectly what Nova Scotians are doing as Hurricane Bill approaches our shores. Memories of 2003’s Hurricane Juan, which hit Halifax hard, are fresh in our minds. There’s a sense of anticipation in the air, weighted down with high humidity and a fresh breeze. Boat owners are checking moorings, moving boats to safer places, removing canvas to reduce windage and damage, and literally securing the hatches. Everyone is stowing lawn furniture and garbage cans. Apple growers in the Annapolis Valley are concerned for their bumper apple crop, but there isn’t much they can do at this point except wait. And “pray to the rum god,” as a sailor told me as she watched her classic wooden daysailer being hauled out of the water.

Environment Canada's hurricane track predictions. Click image to see current version.
Environment Canada's hurricane track predictions. Click image to see current version.

Bill is currently forecast to pass south of Nova Scotia during the day tomorrow, Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane. I’m monitoring it on two websites: Environment Canada’s marine info section, and the more spectacular and information-rich We’ll see which of the two has the more accurate predictions!