The weatherman was wrong...snow was pretty much a no-show, at least around here. We could see some small flakes swirling around between the sleet pellets when we turned the outside lights on about 7pm last night but they weren't big enough or close enough together to amount to anything. You didn't have to go far from here, however, to find enough snow to cover the ground. Apparently our proximity to the coast kept the atmosphere overhead too warm for snow.
But it wasn't warm enough, making the meteorologist's prediction of freezing rain and sleet right on. The morning was good, the weather deteriorated as the day wore on and I went to bed with the sound of solid precipitation hitting the windows was still tinkling in my ear.
The pool enclosure became our own personal igloo. I took this photo this morning and by then the wall on the right was no longer frozen over like the roof. It never got above freezing today so it didn't thaw from that. We actually think it was the warmth of the water in the pool as the icicles we'd noticed on the overhead beams were mostly gone too. The pool pump automatically comes on when the temperature dips below 40 degrees to keep the lines from freezing. And that white blob you see through the screen is the #4 green, or in this case, white.
Everything is covered in a coating of ice. The rain came first, then the temperatures dropped and Mother Nature continued to bestow a wintry mix upon us for 8-10 hours. While limbs are sagging under the extra weight, we don't have any broken ones. There apparently are some in other areas, however, as there are power outages in places. Not widespread and, fortunately, not for extended periods of time. Our power never flickered but then we have underground utilities within the subdivision.
The sago palm in the front got a double whammy. It has both frozen rain and collected sleet weighing down the fronds. Normally you can't see the crown in the center but it's clearly visible now. And you can see the collected sleet in the roof too. Every house in the neighborhood is sporting a frosting topping thanks to the storm.
The top fronds were brown from the temperatures in the teens two weeks ago but I expect they'll all need to be cut off after this weather. It usually bounces right back and I hope that's the case this time too. We've grown this tree for more than 30 years, moving it out here with us. I'd hate to lose it now. The frozen rain on the fronds is quite pretty though.
Our house wasn't the only one with icicles; the bluebird house is decorated with them too. I saw a bluebird checking it out on Monday but he was nowhere to be found today. I don't blame him. The lichen growing on it might add to the woodland decor but it won't offer much in terms of insulation.
I was hoping we'd see a little sunshine today as I thought it would make the bushes absolutely dazzling. They're already glassy-glossy with their coating of ice and dangling icicles and I thought it could only be more impressive if the sun was shining on it. That didn't happen. Well, it did for about five minutes just before sundown but I didn't get to fully appreciate it.
The camellia, which blooms this time of year, is full of buds. I have no idea how the ice will affect it but since it tolerates freezing temperatures, I'm hoping it will come through with flying colors. It's such a happy sight to look out at the big, bright pink flowers in the middle of winter; I'd miss having that. I keep thinking of the citrus growers who protect their crops with a layer of ice. Maybe it will work for camellias.
Here's an oxymoron for sure: A southern magnolia covered in ice. I was standing under the tree so the photo is mostly of the backs of the leaves with the icicles dripping off but the tops can be seen in places. We've lived here for more than 36 years and this is the first time we can remember there being an ice storm here.
Interstate 10 is closed in essentially all of the first eight counties from the Alabama-Florida line but not before a 17-vehicle pile-up on the Blackwater Bridge that left one semi in the river below and one dangling over the railing. The interstate spur to downtown Pensacola is closed and the bridges leading to the beaches (both Pensacola Beach and Perdido) and communities south of Pensacola are all closed. We ventured out this afternoon only because we had a prescription that had to be picked up and the roads around here were not bad. It's the bridges and overpasses that are dangerous.
It was 22 degrees outside when I took these pictures this morning. Needless to say, I didn't stay out long. It never got above freezing today and the thermometer is plunging again tonight. Thankfully, tomorrow's forecast is looking more promising. Who would have thought I'd be looking forward to a day with a high of 47! The ice is pretty but I'm much more interested in those 60's the weatherman is promising for the weekend. Let's hope he's right.