Sunday 1/17/16

Jan 17, 2016

Greetings and welcome!

The phrase of the day is Wind Chill. When I was out getting firewood a little after dark the wind was roaring in the treetops. It calmed down a little later into the night, but we are still seeing 10-20mph winds in the wee hours. Added to -6 to -15  degree temperatures, most of the stations rotating on the Green Bay weather channel are reporting -20 to -35 wind chills.

I am not expecting it to get much better Sunday. Depending on who you consult we are in for a high temperature between 3 and 7 degrees. That is better that our current -12, but the wind will pick up a little leaving the wind chills in a dangerous range.

Yesterday’s travels took me to Lakewood, Townsend, Carter, Langlade and Antigo. I was quite surprised how much our light snows and freezing rain helped the trails. It only added up to about 1/2″, but it is an icy sturdy 1/2″. For what it was, it helped. It will also benefit back roads with a little ice layer that has been lacking this year.

The grade in Lakewood looked a lot better than my last visit, and people were riding. Farther north up to Townsend and Carter it looked even nicer with only a little snirtiness in high wear spots.

It was a little thinner along 64 near 32, but again it was better that the last time that I saw it two weeks ago.

It looks like Langlade opened trails. There were a few tracks along 64 east of the ball field. Generally that was good, with some thin spots or snirtiness on the high wear spots. The railroad grade about 3 miles west of Hwy 55 looked very nice.

This is all in the context of early season conditions. We have had limited snow, so there will still be bumps and ruts, rocks, and other terrain features. That will vary from place to place.

The nice folks up at the Dun-Good Trails made an interesting point the other day in their trail update, talking about since the trails are groomed in the summer, they have a nice flat trail base to start with in the winter. It makes sense.

They also benefit from being a little farther north. It is very common for conditions to be quite different once you get up to about Benson Lake Road. Right about there seems to be a rain/snow line, where they get snow, and we will be in a mix or rain 10 miles to the south. I have identified a few rain/snow lines like that in the area, one of these days I will talk about it.

Anyway, with all of that going for them and frequent grooming the Dun-Good Trails are usually a good bet. That would be my destination if I were to ride tomorrow.

There were a couple of snowmobile tracks on Waubee Lake but no shanties. What I could see of Townsend Flowage driving by on 32 there were no tracks. The same goes for Chute Pond. The lake about 10 miles east of Antigo had a shanty, but no tracks from cars or sleds.

The ice has to be getting much better with the cold snap, but keep in mind that we are about a month behind. If you think about normal December 17th ice, it would be a scenario where we are getting there, but it still requires a lot of caution.

We are making ice tonight with the wind and sub-zero temperatures.

Yesterday was supposed to be the first of the High Falls Radar Runs with the Twin Bridge Ski Team. That was cancelled due to a lack of ice.

Apparently not everyone got the word, I saw quite a few trucks with trailers leaving the area. The Iron Snowshoe Trails south of C are still closed, and the ice is bad, so people were heading out for better conditions.

The weather outlook has us in for single digit high temperatures and windy days Sunday and Monday. Tuesday the high temp could be in the mid-teens and that is expected to trend up to the mid-20s by Saturday.

In the longer term the GFS forecast model has our temperatures moderating and staying around our normal high of about 25. The next snow is about a week out with a small disturbance.

One last item, the NWS put out an article about ice dams. This can affect rivers large and small and even the little spring creeks.

We had a lot of rain this fall and the rivers and watersheds got very full. A late December cold snap made a couple of inches of ice on the rivers. A subsequent thaw broke that ice out and moved it downstream. Now it is frozen at the choke points. When we get some warm weather and the water rises there will likely be some flooding.

I know a few spots along the trail where little spring creeks can flood a stretch of trail when this happens.I have also seen the Peshtigo spike 2-3 feet behind an ice dam and then blow out. It is a serious force of nature that can move giant rocks and rip down trees. Here are a couple of YouTube videos and a link to the NWS article. The first video is pretty impressive.

River Ice 1

River Ice 2

Ice dam article

That is going to do it for this morning. Have a good Sunday and thank you for visiting!

RJB