Hello Winter!

I kind of picked up on it over my car radio driving home from work that the weather was going to change drastically. I didn’t really pay much attention. I was more than aware that it was a very cold night, so I missed seeing those white fluffy snowflakes drizzle down from the sky overnight.

I live in Houston, where we get excited over a slight drop in temperature. Seething, steamy days are what we’re used to. The nights are not any different.
‎This morning, we were thrilled! Overnight, the temperature dipped below freezing and it snowed. We woke up to snowy covered cars and rooftops, as well as newly white backyard lawns, with picturesque views of pine trees washed in snow; the kind that Christmas greeting cards are made of.

The last time it snowed out here was in 2009. The year prior, we had just arrived from California and my kids and I experienced our first hurricane. (Remember Hurricane Ike?) The benefit of daylight made the “snowstorm” of 2009 fascinating for those of us who’d never been around true winter weather. The snow from the “storm” froze over the windshield, which made defrosting an adventure of sorts. It took some ingenuity to get through it. This time around, it felt like beach sand in my bare hands as I safely scooped it off the windshield.

Back in August, we had another taste of a nasty hurricane. Harvey claimed my car as it hovered over the Gulf Coast for 2-to-3 days, focusing on Houston and its environs after making landfall in Port Arthur and Corpus Christi. Here’s an interesting pattern: between 2008 and 2009, Hurricane Ike and the rare snow incident; now this year, Hurricane Harvey and the snow last night. And that’s just four months apart!

Back to this morning: as I stepped out to leave for work (even though I’d have rather preferred staying home, in my warm bed) I was gleefully greeted by Frosty the Snowman, artfully put together by janitorial workers at my apartment complex, assisted by schoolchildren snowballing while waiting for their school bus to arrive.

As I marveled about a banner year of weather I’d seen — a year for fires, hurricanes and (mild) snowfall — the excitement was short-lived for me as I worried about the six major wildfires currently burning in our home state of California. I wished for a minute they could have the snow to help quench the treacherous threat facing them this moment. That put a damper on my excitement, knowing how many lives and how much property have been lost.

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