Monday, January 8, 2018

Little to Report Except Really Weird Weather

Overwintering boxelder, Acer negundo, in Laramie, Wyoming, USA.
Last Sunday I made my monthly visit to the tree I’m following—a boxelder growing in a shady corner made by two warehouse walls. I didn’t expect to see anything different from what I saw last month, and that was the case … nothing obvious to me anyway. The boxelder probably would say otherwise. It’s metabolizing, but very slowly. Without leaves, it can’t photosynthesize to make food, and probably no cells are dividing.
In spite of our horrendous winds lately (more below), there was no new garbage in the alcove, just dirty old snow.
Emmie reported no new trash.
The road construction project appears to be dormant too. The crew has been gone for weeks, maybe for the holidays. The amazing Gomaco 6300 curb-and-gutter machine hasn’t budged since last month.
Yellow Gomaco 6300 behind barrier on left.
Snow was predicted for the night before my visit, and I had hoped shoot wintry photos of the boxelder. But it didn’t pan out … again. We’ve had very little snow so far. What promised to be winter showed up in mid December, but soon left. Now we’re back to what would we would call spring in Laramie—temps as high as 50 F some days. Really weird!

Maybe you heard about the recent severe winter weather of the plains and eastern US … or experienced it first-hand! But here in Laramie, where severe winters are normal, the weather was abnormally mild. We had highs in the 30s F, while temps were subzero in Cheyenne—just 50 miles to the east (and 1200 feet lower). The map below shows warmer than normal temps in red, and colder than normal in blue (darker means more extreme). The sharp boundary explains those powerful winds we had—average speeds 35-40 mph with gusts in the 50s, even 60s one day.
Arrow points to Laramie Valley in southeast Wyoming.

This is my contribution to the January virtual gathering of tree-followers, kindly hosted by The Squirrelbasket. Interested in joining us? … info here.


  1. I'm impressed that you'd follow such a forlorn looking tree. Perhaps it's less lonely when there are leaves attached? As for your weather, you have been mild, I would have assumed (because I hadn't looked at a weather map), that your part of the country might have also been impacted by the bitter cold.

    1. Tina, when it comes to plants, I'm a great admirer of tough urban waifs, like this boxelder. I hope it hangs in there. My relatives in California also assumed we were suffering in bitter cold, but I explained no, suffering instead because there's no snow at the XC ski area :(

  2. That is crazy--the dramatic difference in temperatures on either side of the boundary. And look at the extreme weather all the way to Texas! Yes, we've been in the deep freeze in Wisconsin, too, but now we're warming up. Strange weather, indeed. Darn polar vortex outbreaks!

    1. I agree, Beth--that was an amazing situation. I'm glad a friend sent that map