Greetings and welcome!

Without much warning, only a couple of hours notice, our governor shut down all of the bars and restaurants in WI at 5pm on St Patrick’s Day. No one ever thought it could happen.

Right now everyone in the area is closed down for inside seating. Rapids Resort and Jungle Jims are just plain closing. Other places like Firelane, Lakeside (Newton Lake), Bobby J’s (Curve Inn) are trying a variety of carryout and delivery services. That is all on a trial basis, this is unprecidented.

I just saw on the noon news that they will all have to close tomorrow as part of the governor’s order that all non-essential businesses have to close.

When I was in Crivitz Thursday it was business as usual at places like the dollar stores and the Piggly Wiggly. The shelves at the Pig were pretty bare of some items. Bread was just about gone, TP, eggs, most of the meat and dairy were about cleaned out late in the day.

Both Vilas and Oneida Counties came out with this delcaration late this week. I posted it on the Crivitz Area Talk FaceBook page and started quite a discussion. Take a look.

I can tell you that their letter might be a little late. A lot of people already headed north when their work shut down for at least a week and likely much longer. I understand the desire to limit new exposure and the elderly population and limited medical resources things. I can’t say that I blame the people that did come north. I would have too. If nothing else I’d get some inside work done around the up-north house.

The only good thing about bars and restaurants being closed down, other than the obvious limiting the spread of the dreaded disease, is that this came in March and not in summer or during a peak tourism season. That would be just devastationg for a lot of area businesses. Hopefully we get this figured out soon.

There is some hope in two directions. One is that spring is coming soon and cold and flu season is just about over. Viruses don’t do well with heat and humidity. The second is that a couple of the quinine based malria drugs are showing promise both as a preventative and a treatment. Like I said, hopefully we get this figured out soon.

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We had a rainstorm line up just right over the area last Thursday night that ‘trained’ heavy rain showers right over us for quite a while. The radar returns estimated about 1.5″ for the areas that got trained. It is probably good that it wasn’t snow.

We had kind of a brutal winter. It started in October and early November and caught a lot of people by surprise. I was one of those people.

My camper never got winterized before it froze up too much to drain the water system. Usually I was ok until mid-November. Thanks to an early cold snap it froze up in late October. I am not looking forward to finding out how much damage that caused.

Along that same line a lot of fall projects never got finished, and I only got about half as much firewood cut as I wanted to before the snow came. There is a lot to do once the snow goes away and the ground firms up. Right now we have anywhere from no snow in sunny spots to 12-18″ in sheltered areas.

Around Thanksgiving we had wet heavy snow bow down trees and cause power outages. It happened again right before the snowmobile season started. There are going to be a lot of small trees and branches to clean up once the snow and mud go away.

In late February and early March we were right at critical snow load on a lot of roofs when the thawing started. We have made a lot of progress on that, but it is very dependent on how much sun that roof got. There has been limited temperature melting, most has been done by the sun. In shaded and sheltered areas there is still a lot of snow.

Some sheltered driveways have turned to wicked ice from the freeze-thaw-freeze cycle.The sunny area on my driveway is a little muddy but passable. The rest is all ice and snow.

I am not expecting a bad mud season this year because there is not much frost in the ground. We had a good start freezing the ground in November, but heavy snow came right as it was getting good. We never had any really deep freeze stretches to freeze the ground through the snow. There is some frost in the ground, but not much.

At that point a lot of places will be spared the really deep frost-out mud or major flooding as the snow melts. I’ve seen deep frost years where the driveway was over a foot deep mud while the frost was coming out. Last week I was only sinking in a couple of inches in muddy spots. Some of this depends on how deep the frost was driven into the soil by plowing or traffic. There are some ugly driveways and cars parked out by the road.

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be mud. We had a couple of very wet years, and we have a lot of high moisture snow pack to melt. The swamps and low spots are pretty full and the ground is saturated.

This leads me to the whitewater rafting season ahead. They start rafting on the first weekend in April if the ice on the river goes out in time. I am not sure how much ice that they had to portage, but there were kayakers on the river yesterday.

Water level-wise we are in for a fantastic whitewater rafting season. The back to back wet years have charged our aquifers and wetlands really heavily.

There are two parts to the river’s flow, the base flow from the spring creeks and swamps that is always there, and runoff. The Peshtigo counts on a lot of runoff for its peak water levels.

With the aquifers charged and the wetlands full that base flow is going to be much higher than normal. In my opinion that will make it where it is just about a sure thing that we will have good water levels every weekend through spring and early summer. Add in a massive snow pack and we are in for a wild spring season on the river.

Eventually the virus madness will calm down. It will be nice when it does. Right now we are not missing much. There is still 1-2 feet of snow in the woods, it is mud season and there isn’t much to do with all of the taverns and restaurants closed. You aren’t missng much.

Have a good one and thank you for visiting!

RJB

Tuesday 11-12-19

Note- This is my last update here until late winter-early spring. Follow me over to the BigSnowPage where I do all of the same weather and events but with snowmobile trail info too. https://bigsnowpage.com .

Greetings and welcome!

Morning update- We had another dusting of snow overnight. Wabeno hit zero last night. At noon the TV says that Wabeno is at 10 degrees with a 3 degree wind chill. Athelstane weather says that we are up to 18 degrees with an 11 degree wind chill.

9:45pm Monday night

It is the heart of the cold that is chilling my bones tonight. Looking at the TV weather channel 2-2 out of Green Bay they show Wabeno down to 4 degrees. Other area stations are a little better with readings or 7,9,10, and farther south 15 degrees. Our morning low is expected to be 2, with a -15 or -18 wind chill.

On the other end of it we saw low 20s for a high temperature today, and there was some wind. Several stations on TV never made it to 20 today.

Tomorrow looks like a reprint of today.. lucky if we hit 20 for a high temperature and low temperatures overnight close to zero (2F).

Our normal high today should be in the low to mid-40s and our typical low temp is about 25. That puts us solidly 20 degrees below normal, and for some people 25 degrees.

Ray’s law of variability says that a 15 degree divergence from normal temperatures is common, 20 degrees abnormal but not all that unusual, 25 unusual, and 30 degrees very unusual.

Winter is here, and it is here to stay. I expect to see a little break in the arctic flow next week, but that also comes with a couple of possible big storms (11-22 and 11-27).

This Wednesday a little snow (1-3 or 2-4”) will mark an end of high temperatures of about 20 and bring some low to mid-30s. Saturday and Sunday we could get close to 40 with a little snow. Next week we could get into the mid-40s briefly.

Here is a picture of the ice lilies and ice chunks coming down the Peshtigo River By Rapids Resort Monday at about noon.


This one is a picture of Caldron Falls Flowage from Echo Point about ½ mile upstream of Landing 11. It was frozen across as far as I could see and up the river too.


This one is at Boat Landing 11. I would have liked to walk out a little with a spud bar and ropes, but I was alone with no equipment and on the way to work. I could have easily walked more than a few feet off of the landing.


On the way to Crooked Lake Boundary Lake on the Oconto/Marinette Co line at Hwy W was frozen across except for a very small open area in the middle.

The ground is well frozen. I don’t mind that for the snowmobiling season as long as we don’t get too much of a good thing. A couple of feet helps firm up swamps and hold the snow. Too much isn’t good though. One year we had 6-8 feet of frost that froze septic tanks and incoming well pipes. That was a bitter cold snowless winter.

Looking at the TV I see that the central UP is getting some lake effect snow.

Apparently the dusting of snow that we had a couple of mornings ago stuck to the roads a little. I found a snow and ice covered spot in the forest that was heavily shaded by the pines. Yes it was pretty slippery there. I also saw where they salted Hwy A between Crivitz and Athelstane. There is another sign that winter is here.`

A lot of people really got caught unprepared for winter to start in late October. I am one of them. I Have stuff that is frozen that shouldn’t be, my cars are not ready, I am about ¼ of the way done with firewood, my Reddy heater, snowmobiles, and snowblower are in need of repair, and the list continues on for a while. Normally I would have 2-3 more weeks to wrap that stuff up.

I am not alone. People are finding out about cars that won’t start, vulnerable plumbing, and winterizing that needs to be done. It is an unusual fall and a lot of us got caught by it. The official start to winter is still almost 40 days away.

Gun deer season is a little late this year, running from Saturday 11-23 until Sunday December 1st.

There is a deer hunter’s bake sale Thursday Nov 21 at Firelane Bar from 3-6:30pm. The one at Jungle Jim’s is Friday Nov 22 from 9am-3pm.

That’s news for today. Have a good week and thank you for visiting!

RJB

Tuesday November 5th, 2019

Greetings and welcome!

In my last update I mentioned that the lakes and ground were not freezing. That has changed. I haven’t seen ice on the Peshtigo River by Rapids Resort yet. The little pond on Hwy A about 2 miles south of C was frozen over several times last week with skin ice, and likely is this morning.
If we are not making ice on bigger lakes we are getting close to it. I haven’t tried to dig in the ground but that seems to be freezing up too. A couple of splotches of snow remain in the deep shadow on the north side of the house and we had a dusting overnight that did not melt on contact, even on roads.
Saturday I was out cutting & splitting wood in the afternoon. It was in the low 30s with heavy clouds, a bitter damp wind, and snow was going to start any minute. I was getting tired and hungry and cold. I went inside a little early thinking that the weather wasn’t a whole lot worse than a nasty December day and that there would be better days ahead.

Ooops.

We should be in the mid to upper 40s right now. We are lucky to see low-30s. Last night we got down to 18F and we are looking at a high of 29 today.
This coming week it will get worse. Thursday the NWS forecast is for a high of 28 and a low of 13. Friday is about the same, but a few degrees warmer overnight. Most days we will see a high around freezing. That will freeze pipes. You need to winterize unheated plumbing very very soon.
Looking at the 16 day GFS forecast we are headed for much below normal temperatures for at least 10 days. The pattern that I am seeing is pumping cold air down into the Midwest right out of the Arctic. (Yes the polar vortex if you must) Most of the 850mb temperatures that I see (about 2-3,000 feet up) range from 0F to +10F. That’s pretty cold for early November. While that doesn’t directly translate to our temperatures here on the surface it does demonstrate a very cold air mass.
Our typical high temperatures right now would be in the mid to upper 40s. We are consistently 15-20 degrees below normal. I absolutely hate that because I have seen this cartoon before.. We will be 20 degrees below normal until that cold December weather IS normal, cheating us out of six weeks of fall weather. None of this fits well with the weeks of pre-winter outside chores that I have ahead of me.
I fully expect to have frozen ground and a skin on some lakes by late week. If the 10 day forecast works out we will have a significant start on freezing everything up.
We have had several rounds of snow in the region. Most of the snow that made it here was on radar only. A few flakes made wet spots on the cement Sunday night, about the equivalent of a passing sprinkle. We have not had accumulating snow since last Tuesday 10/29.
There is a chance of snow Tuesday night into Wednesday that could bring a couple of inches if it moves a little north.
We are not alone with the early cold weather. I was reading an article last night about low temperature records being set across the US, Canada, and Europe. Early snows brought devastating crop losses to the Dakotas, MN, and a good sized chunk of west central Canada. The list went on and on with early winter records and reports from around the northern hemisphere. It was some grade AAA doom p**n but it was real.

So what is going on? The above mentioned article was trying to associate our cold northern hemisphere with our solar minimum. Solar cycle 24 is indeed bringing a deep solar minimum. So far this year our sun has been spotless 75% of the days. Some people are trying to compare it to the Maunder minimum (the little ice age). Not even close- yet.
While reduced solar output will certainly affect our climate, I am more likely to blame more short term oscillations in our climate like the PDO, AMO, AO, and the one that we all know, ENSO, the El Nino Southern Oscillation. I am not quite ready to declare it an ice age just yet.
Ok so winter is off to an early and rowdy start. My first thought is to be ready for a rough ride. The next thought is what happens when the rubber band snaps back? Honestly that is an answer that I don’t have.

For right now we are a lot colder than normal and we will be for the near future. The takeaways-
1) Winterize plumbing much earlier than usual this year. I hope to do my well house and camper later today.
2) The ground and lakes will freeze up early this year.
3) It is going to suck to be me finishing up weeks of my outside chores in sub-freezing weather when the weather should be at 45F.

Well I am off to go to work. Have a good week and thank you for visiting!
RJB

Wednesday October 29th, 2019

Greetings and welcome!

Last night’s snow was dispatched by the sun and 40 degree day by early afternoon. The exception is the areas where the sun could not hit. The grass is still white on the north side of the house, and the front steps has an ice and snow layer about 1/4” thick. There are still a few white spots in ditches where a little snow survived in the shadows.

The week ahead looks cold. Most days will struggle to get above 40 with lows in the mid to low-20s. It might take a while for the front steps to melt.

It is almost midnight Tuesday night and we are down to 23 degrees. That has me a little concerned for exposed plumbing like my hose faucet. If it gets much colder it could freeze and crack it. It is going to be close.

Stuff like the well house and camper are becoming a concern too. My rule on the well house is that as long as we get into the mid- 40s, mid-20s overnight is OK. Under 20 busts pipes. The forecast has us close to criteria for protecting stuff. Looking at at GFS forecast models I don’t see a break in the below normal temperatures for 10 days plus. I guess that I had better take a day off of work this week and address winterizing plumbing.

Usually I could leave the well house unheated and stuff like winterizing camper plumbing until late November. Most years I do it the week of deer hunting or right after. Last year it was mid-November and hustle. This year I guess that it will have to be late October.

In the little cartoon that I made up for myself with my winter prediction I was expecting this cold weather pattern early in winter. Honestly I wasn’t expecting it for at least two more weeks. I like that the lakes and ground are getting a head start at freezing up (not frozen yet but they are cooling fast). I am not as happy about the mountain of outside work still to be tackled and a daily high temperature that I will be lucky to see hit 40. Our normal high right now is about 50, much more pleasant for working outside than 37 or 40.

There is a storm for Thursday that initially was forecast to bring a little more light snow to the area. As of right now it looks like that will stay downstate and south of Green Bay. There is another chance of light snow Saturday but nothing significant.

Hunters are going to find lowland and swampy areas very wet this year, and streams/rivers might be a little more challenging than usual to cross. It has been a very wet year. Right now the Peshtigo River is running at about 600cfs (+5”) when it typically will run at about 300cfs. Ponds and swamps are quite full.

The last item tonight is the deer along the roads. In a word- crazy. Day and night I have to be very alert for deer along the roads. Sure that is typical for fall when they become more active and eventually rut. This year it seems early and more intense. I generally don’t hit deer (19 years without one) but this fall I have had at least 20 deer within two feet of my bumper as I am locking up the brakes. It just isn’t normal. I think that I might have to buy one of those 170db steamship horns. They will jump so high that I can drive under them. But seriously, be careful. It seems like the deer are crazier than usual in the roads this fall.

That’s it for tonight. Have a good week and thank you for visiting!

RJB