Living in Erie I am extremely familiar with the almost alien changes that come about in our weather patterns. The old saying in Erie is that if you don’t like the weather, just stick around three or four hours, it is sure to change. Well, that certainly true of this year’s January weather so far in 2017.
Just a week ago, it was snow, snow and more snow and nearly obsessive cold and wind. To see exactly how windy it has been over the last two weeks, you just need to drive and walk around Presque Isle. I don’t remember a time when I have seen so many newly fallen trees or large tree branches lying in the woods of the park. In some places it looks like a small tornado walked its way through the woodlands. I realize that the cottonwoods of the park are not deeply rooted and subject to easy wind damage, however, this year it seems a bit heftier than normal.
Then you have days like this Sunday, January 15, where the sun was shining and temperatures were in the mid-40’s. Looking forward predictions are for the high 40’s or low 50’s for the next week. Yet, this morning, as I drove down to the park, the temperature was just 25 degree and it was 28 degrees at home when I left. Last week saw all our snow disappear in just two days as rain and wind pelted the area. So far in January we have had cold and snow, rain, warm weather and no wind and high wind. This sure has not been the typical January that I look forward to.
As much as I complain about the cold and snow, to be honest, I do not like to have my black and white January disappear from my neat little calendar of experiences. I call it black and white, because with a good snow cover and leafless trees, my photographs look like I was using the black and white film of old. On Friday and Saturday when I went down to the park, it was a pure GRAY day. The water looked gray, the sky was pure gray, even the woods took on a gray tone. Boring to an abnormal degree. Brian Berchtold and I commented that it was sure a boring morning to be out and about, and staying in bed would have been more productive.
This morning, Monday the 16th, was cool, yet sunny, and the sunrise was exceptional. One thing I did notice was that with a temperature of between 25 degrees and 30 degrees, most small ponds and parts of the bay and the Marina Lake had a skim of ice on them. It was thin in most places. On one area of the Presque Isle Lagoons, it was so thin that I watch, two ducks actually fall through the ice into the water. Sure did get their attention quickly. Speaking about thin ice, my wife and Brian Berchtold told me that at least six fishermen were on the ice of Marina Lake fishing on the ice. Brian told me that he watch as one used his hand ice auger and drilled through the ice with just two turns. That would mean the ice was less than two inches thick. This is very dangerously thin ice. Remember to only walk and/or fish on ice much thicken than this. Falling into frigid water can kill a person.
As I drove throughout the park I noticed many areas where the grass and bushes glistened with a thin frosty coat of ice. It was like a winter wonderland without snow. As I drove on the road from Pine Tree Beach to Sunset Point, a coyote was trotting slowly down the middle of the road. I slowed and he stopped and turned to watch me. After a minute or so, he started up slowly moving again, with no worry or haste. Soon, he turned again and looked at me and turned into the entrance to Pine Tree Trail. He must really appreciate this kind of January which, I am sure, makes his life much easier than normal winters.
The warmer weather had been busy removing most of the ice from the bay and all that was left as of Sunday was a small amount of frozen ice chucks randomly floating all over the bay waters. Well, with today’s cool-down and new thin ice forming, these wedges of ice are captured in a collage of open water, thin ice and small piles all along the southern shoreline of Presque Isle. This makes for some pretty enjoyable looking scenery.
If you start to become a frequent visitor to Presque Isle, I am sure that you will see what I am talking about when I say, “if you wait just a short while, Erie’s changeable weather will have given us another “Surprise” to deal with.” To enjoy the park, you really should try to get out on the park at least two or more times a week. Each time you go, you will see something new and enjoyable; even on the gray days. The park is a very special place, so enjoy.
See you on the park!!
This post was written by admin