There Oughtta Be a Word For It

– Posted in: Weather
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Tuesday morning at precisely 8 o’clock it started snowing, and didn’t stop until it dumped a good seven inches on us. No surprise to any long-term residents around here, who are mostly grateful that it wasn’t a blizzard. Two big clues that winter is not returning in force: the light is all wrong and the snow doesn’t stick to the road for very long. Any snow that falls this time of year is the inverse of Indian summer, but there isn’t a handy little phrase for it. That is to say, a show of winter when spring is on the way is similar to the show of summer after autumn’s first frosts have hit. There ought to be a word for it, but as far as I know, there isn’t. We have the “January thaw” and “mud season,” but nothing for winter’s last stand–if it indeed is winter’s last stand. It will surely snow in April, but there will be less accumulation and it will disappear sooner. This might (might) be the last significant snowfall of this winter. Whatever you call it.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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erica March 27, 2004, 6:34 pm

Granted, northeastern Arkansas (where I grew up) has nothing on your winters, but we called that last snow of the season the “Daffodil and Snowtire Festival”. Meaning, you needed your snowtires / chains for one last storm, but the daffodils were in full bloom.

Actually, it was more likely to be an ice storm than a snow storm, but you get my meaning.