We’ve had a fairly normal winter until the end of December, then WHAM!! Early in the morning on December 31, we dipped below freezing and stayed there for over a week—200 hours—breaking a record from 1979, and the first week of January was the coldest ever on record.
There was snow on Wednesday, about an scant inch here and more west and south; the lowest it got here in Durham was 3°F, and in Pittsboro with more snow, it got down to 0°F! We finally rose above freezing Monday morning. Tuesday we reached 63°F, and by Friday we hit 73°F—100° above the low just five days prior.
On Friday I worked from home, so on my lunch break I got out in the yard. I have some seedlings under the overhang that needed a bit of water. Suddenly, the leaves moved near the comfrey! It’s my Southern Toad, coming up for a snack and a bit of sun.
I decided to check on the Upland Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris feriarum feriarum) that hang out in the small fountain containers. One of them is about two feet deep and buried in the ground; it usually doesn’t freeze solid, but with this week…
There was still a chunk of ice floating in the middle with pinestraw and leaves stuck in it. Under the edge of a rock, I saw a foot and flipped over the frog. I think he twitched once or twice, but he was still very much in hibernation. He was floating face down at the surface, so I’m not sure if he is done-for or not. I turned him back over and push him under the rock again.
Here it is Sunday the 14th, and we plunged again to 21°, but we are forecasted for highs around 40 the next few days. Oh, and maybe some more snow (drat!).
I’ve just seen this story from WNCN news that this cold snap is “15 times rarer than it was a century ago,” meaning it’s not climate change. They are summarizing a report from the World Weather Attribution site. It will be interesting to see if anyone refutes this in the next few weeks.