Another afternoon of Blowing, drifting lake effect show as the next outbreak of arctic air approaches. Many of the fledgling pines of the Bluecircle are safely hidden beneath the surface. Sophie clamors and bounds over this strange new land, moving too quickly for the camera but getting a good workout all the same. The wind sweeps the length of the lake and seems to burst over the hill, collecting and drifting snow behind trees, buildings, anything stationary. This is snowshoe weather- even these grumpy tracks are promptly erased by the Alberta clipper.
Better to stay off the highways on such afternoons and nights. Soon it will be too cold for the assurance of dry pavement, and even the brown, wet slush produced here by a mixture of dune sand and salt will begin to turn to ice. The plow operators have done an admirable job of clearing most snow drifts, but as night falls Winter will have her way again.
Interstate drivers in the “Lake Effect” zone downwind of Lake Michigan know this is the season of a relatively bare right-hand lane and to its left, the snow lane. Trucks, timid drivers and those with poorly equipped vehicles mostly eschew the snow lane lest they visit the median or worse. At times only a dusting of white covers the dry pavement to their left, which disappears in the path of SUVs that choose to pass them for less obstructed road ahead. Heavier show, drifts, lighter traffic, or falling temperatures can make transition into the passing mode more problematic. Risk is never far away in the depths of this season, especially in the snow lane.