Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery in Eau Claire used the term to aptly describe a snowstorm that pounded the Chippewa Valley last week and forced the business to prematurely close its tasting room.
As of the following day, Eau Claire had received 28.4 inches of snow during the month to set the all-time record for February. And that was with more than two weeks still to go. The previous standard of 28.2 inches was set in 1936.
Even by Sconnie standards, it’s been a crazy few weeks in the Chippewa Valley on the weather front.
Eau Claire saw a low of -30 on Jan. 30 and a “high” of -15. Neither broke the record for the date, but the former was 36 colder than normal and the latter 40 degrees colder.
• • •
If adverse weather builds character, Chippewa Valley residents have few equals. Last week’s chaos saw neighbors stop snowblowing their own driveways to help others with theirs, strangers provide assistance for cars stuck in precarious situations, and understanding employers allowing workers to come in late, call in sick or work from home.
Thanks go out to all who were tasked with clearing snow from our roads and ice from our walkways, and our sympathies are extended to the many who were forced to brave the conditions, especially those who suffered injuries to body or property. One snowplower said he hadn’t seen so much snow locally since the 1980s.
Unfortunately, we’re likely not out of the woods yet. The Weather Channel was predicting at least some snowfall later last week and again during the final few days of the month. Looking ahead, the average snowfall for March in Eau Claire is 8.6 inches.
“Later (this) week something bigger could develop,” said Chris O’Brien of the National Weather Service, “but it is too early for any details.”
But those seeking relief from the relentless precipitation may just be in luck. Punxsutawney Phil was unable to see his shadow when he emerged earlier this month. That means spring will arrive early.
Yeah, right. The prediction that’s celebrated annually is only correct about 40 percent of the time, according to Vox magazine. After all, what we’re depending on for this forecast is a rodent that’s closely related to squirrels.
The groundhog is deemed a weather prophet likely because it hibernates, with its body temperature dropping in the winter and heart rate decreasing from about 75 to four beats per minute. That allows Phil and others of his ilk to sleep through the winter and come out of it with a slightly more svelte physique. Must be nice.
— Liam Marlaire, assistant editor