Tag Archives: Augusta County

Snow on the eve of spring in Shenandoah Valley

By Lynn R. Mitchell

26“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” –Hal Borland

25Next winter’s wood waits to be split.

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Winter haters rewarded with earliest spring since 1896, snow in western Virginia

By Lynn R. Mitchell



By Lynn R. Mitchell

For those who don’t like winter, rejoice! It silently crept in just past midnight, the earliest spring in 120 years. It’s the way they figure these things, and it’s only by hours that makes it the earliest in so long, but the method is fascinating, nonetheless:

The reason why goes back to Pope Gregory XIII, who created the Gregorian calendar in 1582, according to the website EarthSky. Each year on Earth lasts 365.242 days, and the existing calendar in Gregory’s time accounted for this fraction of a day by having most years be 365 days long, with leap years every four years, where were 366 days long.

But under this system, with one extra day every four years, the average length of a year was 365.25 days — still a hair longer than the actual length of a year.

And so Pope Gregory XIII declared that years ending in “00” should not be leap years unless they’re also divisible by 400, EarthSky reported. That means that the year 2000 was a leap year, but the years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, and 2100 won’t be either.


Stick around … spring 2020 will happen on March 19. Now that’s early.

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Riding the back roads of the Shenandoah Valley

By Lynn R. Mitchell

31The back roads of Augusta County on St. Patrick’s Day took us to Mt. Solon where a huge field of these tiny purple flowers was in full bloom. (See more photos: St. Patrick’s Day on the back roads of Augusta County, Va.) The Shenandoah Valley … cradled by the surrounding mountains, around every bend and over every hill is a view even more stunning than the one before as winter reluctantly gives way to spring.

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St. Patrick’s Day on the back roads of northwestern Augusta County, Va

By Lynn R. Mitchell

1St. Patrick’s Day 2016 in western-northwestern Augusta County was windy, partly sunny, temps in the 60s, and lots of very interesting clouds. The back roads were calling so, with camera in hand, we set out to go wherever the road took us. Emerald green fields, cattle and sheep, mountains, full rivers and streams, farms, silos, old abandoned homes, signs of spring in blooming flowers and trees … it was a delightful day in rural Virginia. (See more photos: Riding the back roads of the Shenandoah Valley.)

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Fiery Shenandoah Valley winter sunset

By Lynn R. Mitchell

1Sunset. Monday, January 25, 2016. Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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January full moon over Shenandoah Valley

By Lynn R. Mitchell


The January full moon has just about cleared the tree tops on the ridge behind our house. January 24, 2016. Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Day 3: Clean up after the Blizzard of January 22-23, 2016

Snow 17

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

8:30am: Good morning from my snowy corner of the world west of Staunton. It was a frigid 10 degrees overnight with clearing skies after the snowstorm moved out, and a full moon. There’s between 18 inches and 3-4 feet of snow (from drifting) … a winter wonderland with snow-flocked trees and piles of the white stuff along the road and driveway.

To see photos from throughout Virginia during the blizzard, see Day 1: Live-blogging the January 22-23, 2016 blizzard and Day 2: Live-blogging the January 22-23, 2016 blizzard.”

The snowplows came through in the middle of the night to clear the road. Our thanks to VDOT. And our thanks to Dominion Virginia Power for their part in keeping the lights and heat on through the blizzard.

By this time yesterday we had been up for 3.5 hours as the snow continued to fall and the wind howled. Today we have awakened to a cold sunny morning after the full moon came out overnight and illuminated everything. I woke up briefly sometime in the early hours to see the moon and then went back to sleep.

Our neighbor — bless his heart — is out there again clearing our driveway for the third time during this storm. Today neighbors will check in on each other, clear driveways, and make sure everyone is okay.

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Day 2: Live-blogging the January 22-23 Blizzard of 2016

2Saturday morning before sunrise.

By Lynn R. Mitchell

See also Live-blogging the January 22-23, 2016, historic Virginia snowstorm with photos from around Virginia of Friday’s snow.

Day 2 of the Blizzard of 2016 in our corner of the Shenandoah Valley: We’re not going anywhere with the forecast calling for heavy snow to continue all day along with high winds and temps in the 20s. Our neighbor made two runs at the driveway yesterday so I suspect he will be back his morning in his effort to prevent the snow from building up too much. What would we do without neighbors?

Since we are west of Staunton, the winds coming through Buffalo Gap and off the slopes of the Appalachians cause snow drifts across our road. It’s nothing unusual … we’ve been dealing with it as long as we’ve been here. Same with driveways as drifting snow buried them under feet of snow. So our neighbor is just trying to keep the drifts broken up.

5:10am: The power blipped making our smoke alarm chirp and waking us both. Nothing like the threat of no electricity to make you spring out of bed and get moving before it goes out for good. For now (5:30), it’s still on. Mr. Mitchell is cooking bacon and eggs and brewing coffee.

5:35am: The wind began howling last night and we could hear it throughout the night. This morning, it continues. Peering through the snow-caked door onto the deck, the amount of snow has increased significantly overnight. It’s 18 degrees out there with a high of mid-20s expected during the storm today. It appears WHSV TV-3 is off the air — no power? — so the Weather Channel is on and Jim Cantore is reporting live from D.C.

NBC-29 has The National Weather Service’s latest winter storm warning issued at 4:16am:

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Day 1: Live-blogging the January 22-23, 2016, historic Virginia snowstorm

Snow 2016By Lynn R. Mitchell

I have never live-blogged a snowstorm. However, this is being touted as a possible historic storm with monster amounts of snow predicted — everything from one to three feet — with icing in North Carolina. Virginia is at the epicenter.

Blizzard warnings, dire alerts to stay home — not to mention that Virginia is under a state of emergency that was declared before it hit. As a snow lover, I’m excited about the white stuff but also cautious as they call for higher and higher amounts.

These are my observations of the storm from our home in the Shenandoah Valley, west of Staunton in Augusta County. Be safe and warm….

Friday, January 22, 2016
4:30am: Awake and checking Facebook and weather news outlets for the latest on a storm that has been building all week. Storm is still on track and moving a little faster than originally expected.

6am: Snow flurries reported in Lexington.

6:30am: Snow flurries reported in southern Augusta County. Temperature is 16 degrees.

I’ve got the crock pot started with Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken, a favorite and requested by Mr. Mitchell. Here’s the recipe if anyone is interested:

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Snowmegeddon 2016: Augusta County’s Sheriff Donald Smith urges preparation, caution with storm

Augusta County mapBy Lynn R. Mitchell

On Thursday Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith urged the community to be prepared for the impending snowstorm:

As we brace for the storm to move into Augusta County on Friday morning and possibly last into Sunday, we as a community need to pull together.

Please plan accordingly and stay off the roads as workers plow to open the highways.

Stock up on supplies ahead of the storm.

Be mindful of the elderly and please keep a check on family members and neighbors that may not have family close to the area.

Please bring pets inside and don’t leave them out in this extreme storm.

Stay off the highways if at all possible once the storm starts.

The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office and first responders will be working diligently to keep the county safe and provide service. Please help us as much as possible by staying inside and keeping a check on loved ones and neighbors. Stay safe everyone and call us if you need us!

Stay safe out there.

Augusta County Sheriff’s Department: (540) 942-5113

See also Snowmegeddon 2016: Are we about to have the snow event of the decade?

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Snowmegeddon 2016: Are we about to have the snow event of the decade?

Snow 2016

NBC-29 graphic

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Have you heard? There’s big snow in the forecast for most of Virginia. If you haven’t heard, where have you been? It’s the talk everywhere. A run on grocery stores has left bare shelves and scarce supplies of bread and milk as folks prepare to be holed up for the weekend. Forecasters — The Weather Channel, WeatherNation, National Weather Service, Weather Underground, AccuWeather,  — are warning everyone to prepare.

One of the more well-known of a growing group of online meteorologists first gave the heads-up over a week ago. Richmond-based WxRisk’s Dave Tolleris — DT to legions of followers — doesn’t suffer weather fools easily. His desire as an independent meteorologist to give adequate warning about impending snow events has made him a maverick of sorts. If he sees the makings of a big snowstorm days or weeks out, he will give the heads-up of the possibility that it could develop. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t.

He has caught heat for his busts, but his forecasting accuracy on some big storms has captured the public’s attention.

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‘Barrel’ clouds over the Shenandoah Valley

1Driving through Augusta County Saturday afternoon, it was impossible to not notice the unusual shape of the clouds. These pictures don’t even begin to do them justice but they give an idea of what we saw.





Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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‘When will it snow?’ Flashback to winter of 2006-07 in Shenandoah Valley

By Lynn R. Mitchell

A look back … daughter Katy catches the first snowflakes of the season in December 2006.

While bemoaning the lack of snow in the Shenandoah Valley this season, I was thinking about another year when we were late with the white stuff. Even though it seemed late to us at the time, looking back I realized it was December of 2006 when I posted a photo of my teenage daughter who was also missing snow.

In fact, she was missing it so much that she jokingly tried to make “snow angels” when the first flurries showed up on December 7. In true mom/blogger fashion, I took a picture and posted it along with the following:

 While putting finishing Christmas touches at our house … and with the little white lights twinkling outside in the evening dusk … the snow started coming down making it feel very seasonal! Already the deck is covered.

The mountains of West Virginia (visible from my house) are expecting 6 inches of the white stuff tonight. The forecast for our area is for only a dusting or perhaps a tad more.

But … oh, the excitement of the first heavy snow flurries of the season!

And … oh, the excitement of my snowboarding kids who are waiting for the slopes to open!

Update: Wind advisory in mountains. Temperature in the teens here; high Friday of 35 degrees.

Snow flurries this year didn’t show up until January — indeed, warm temps at Christmas had up opening doors and windows — but there has been no measurable snowfall. Even the surrounding mountains are hurting and ski resorts like Wintergreen, Massanutten, and Bryce have been depending on recent cold temps to make snow.

I wrote a post in early December wondering, “When will it snow?”

We’re still waiting….

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Happily staying home this New Year’s Eve

Christmas tree our houseBy Lynn R. Mitchell

[Editor’s note: This is a reprint of the post from New Year’s Eve 2013. We are happily staying home again this year after enjoying a busy Christmas with family and friends.]

It’s the last day of 2013 and I’m sitting in my pajamas in front of the television with the laptop on my lap as I switch back and forth between football games and a sappy Hallmark Channel Christmas movie I’ve seen fifty times. The Christmas tree lights are on as are the electric candles in the windows, and I’m surrounded by Christmas decor. The wax candles are flickering on the coffee table, and outdoor lights illuminate the dark December night.

We’re staying home this New Year’s Eve and I couldn’t be happier.

Yes, we received invitations to go out and ring in the new year in style and decked out in Staunton, or a casual evening with friends in the county. However, we decided to spend this New Year’s Eve together at home in the quiet glow of Christmas lights.

Why? In short … we’re ready for some down time.

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Historic Christmas full moon appears briefly over Shenandoah Valley

Christmas 30 full moonAfter all the rain, I didn’t think we would get to see tonight’s historic Christmas full moon. But we got a glimpse as it rose above the mountains before disappearing into the clouds, the first full moon on Christmas Eve/Day since 1977. It is an event that won’t happen again until 2034.




And then it was gone into the clouds….

Merry Christmas!

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
December 24, 2015

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