I thought for sure I would see parhelia this morning. These "mock suns" or, as we call them here, sun dogs, are caused by light reflected off of or refracted through ice crystals in the atmosphere. (If it's reflected, they're white; if it's refracted, they're colored!) They are usually seen in the morning and the evening, and though there are usually two sun dogs, one on each side of and parallel to the sun, there can be just one.
There weren't any sun dogs to be spotted this morning, but we have seen them often lately. When sun dogs appear here, it means just one thing: "Baby, it's cold outside!"
And it was: 40 below zero F. this morning. We have a saying in North Dakota: "40 below keeps the riffraff out." Let me tell you, there were no riffraff out and about this morning! (PS - It's "only" 30 below now at 10:00 a.m.)
Instead of parhelia, we saw ice fog. Through the ceiling-to-floor glass windows at work, we had a spectacular view of this phenomenon as it hovered above the sinuous turns of the Missouri River.
This winter's one for the record books. At 61 inches of snowfall here in Bismarck, it's already the 13th snowiest winter on record. And it's only the middle of January! We can get snow here right through the end of April (Okay, I lied. I should have said, even into May).
The road crews are having a tough time keeping the streets cleared, and it's too cold for sand or salt to work. The streets are getting narrower and narrower as time goes by. Accidents are just waiting to happen.
I have never seen this much snow in North Dakota. Ever. (The area of the state that I'm from missed the great blizzard of March 1966.)
We all have our winter stories to tell: Cars dying, accidents and near accidents, getting stuck in snowbanks, windshields shattering (yes!). Here's what's happened to me since yesterday afternoon:
The building I work in is four stories high, built into the side of a steep hill. As I pulled out of the first-floor parking lot and onto the street, I saw our department director driving ahead of me. How strange - her SUV wasn't moving. Then I discovered that MY CAR wasn't moving either.
WE CAN'T BIKE RIGHT NOW SO INSTEAD WE'LL....
SNOW TUBE IN OUR SKIVVIES!!!