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Blue Norther


The first time I experienced a blue norther, we were students at Texas A&M.  We went into the geology department in the morning wearing shorts and t-shirts and were horrified when we came out the door in the afternoon that it was freezing. Well, probably not literally freezing but pretty darnned cold.  We scrambled to the car and headed home for long pants and sweatshirts and raincoats.

A blue norther is defined as a fast moving cold front with strong winds, often heavy rain and a dark blue/black sky that can drop the temperature 25 to 30 degrees in just a few minutes.  I don't know why there couldn't be similar conditions other places in the county but the term originated here in Texas. The phenomenon probably has something to do with the general flatness of the topography across the state and the Gulf of Mexico to our east.

A blue norther is often preceeded by unseasonably warm temperatures.  Here we are on the 17th of December and it was 72 degrees when I walked out the door this morning.  It's supposed to get up to 80 degrees this afternoon before the cold front gets here and then be in the 30's tomorrow morning.  Yup.  That's a blue norther. Sometime late tonight or early tomorrow morning, if I was willing to get out of bed and stand outside, I should be able to feel the temperature drop from the 70's to the 30's in just a short few minutes.

This morning I hauled bales of hay out to all the shelters.  It's been a howling gale all morning.  The temperature is mild but the wind is strong enough and loud enough to be disturbing.  A breeze through the trees is lovely but this sounds ugly, angry and menacing.  We expect rain as the front pushes through tonight but probably not as much rain as a blue norther can bring.  And we expect the howling wind to continue after the cold front moves through so wind chill will be a problem tomorrow morning.  The temperatures are expected to be lower on Monday morning as the cold air continues to move south but we should be without the wind and the potential rain.

We have had a fair amount of rain so far this fall/winter.  The pastures are green -not so much with rich grass but with plenty of weeds.  The goats are happy with the green stuff.  Having lived down here as long as I have, it's a shock for me to travel north during this time of year and see everything completely brown.  Snow I would expect since that's what I grew up with but the brownness where there isn't snow is always a surprise.

We have had a couple of mild cool fronts so far this year but nothing quite as cold as what we are expecting for the next couple of days.  I'll have to go out pick the rest of my green peppers.  We have one plant that has been hanging on and happily producing since summer.

The cucumbers have tried to come back, although we haven't had any flowers so no vegetables.  And the marigolds are trying to come back from seed.  They may make in through this cold front.  I love plants that can manage to hold on through our winter and greet me with enthusiasm in the spring!