Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hello, Spring

Today is the first day of Spring, and I'm ready for it. Maybe Donna and I will go for a hike to celebrate.

This has been an unusual winter. The temperatures have been all over the chart. One day, it will be a warm day, in the 70s. Then we'll have a cold spell, with 3 or so days of temps below freezing. Now, weather in the Concho Valley -- the name given to our general neck of the universe -- is known to be subject to sudden ups and downs, but it seems to me that it has been more pronounced this year. And we've had quite a few days with temps in the teens, which is rather unusual for us.

To make matters worse, we've had virtually no rain since early December. For the year 2014 thus far, we've had only .08 inch; that's less than a tenth of a single inch. We normally don't get much rain in winter, but we should have had a couple of inches or more by now. We are very dry for this time of year. Wild fires will be a concern as warmer temps settle in and the countryside dries out even more.

But what Donna and I have noticed the most is the wind. Now, West Texas is known for its wind. Donna and I first moved to West Texas in the late 1970s to a small town (Olton) northwest of Lubbock. We had our first taste of West Texas wind in that farming area, and we sat through some really interesting dust storms. Since then, we've lived in several others parts of West Texas, so we thought we knew the West Texas wind. But the wind we are experiencing now seems to be different. It never seems to end. Even at night, the wind blows. I'll wake at 3:00 in the morning only to hear the wind buffeting the house. When we rise in the morning, the wind is blowing. Traditionally, I seem to remember the wind dying down at night and not really revving up until afternoon. Not any more. And this wind, of course, just dries out the land more and helps the lakes evaporate at a faster rate.

We drove Courtney and Camden home this past Sunday, and the wind was out of the north. As we drove towards Courtney's home, we were heading northwest, almost directly into the wind. My new little Toyota Camry with its sleek design and low-to-the-ground profile normally gets about 35 miles per gallon on the highway. On this day, I got only 26 miles per gallon. That's a strong wind.

Oh well, I'm sure the wind will stop blowing one day and the heavy rains will fall.

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