Children are usually happy to see snow. Notwithstanding those adults who are concerned about driving in snow, everyone here in New Mexico is happy about this weekend’s storm.
The big winter storm has dumped rain and snow on the state. After three years of drought, we hope this will bring our water reserves back up. Our reservoirs are at record lows and irrigation schedules have been interrupted by lack of water. This past summer irrigation water was scheduled to be shut off in mid July. That would have been disaster to the alfalfa farmers. Fortunately, we got several torrential rains that both got the farmers over the hump, but put enough water in the reservoirs to resume irrigation for a while. The cause of the rain was flooding.
This storm brought the rain in the form of a continuous sprinkle that mostly soaked in. Here on the desert at the 5000 foot level, we got a good soaking and a trace of snow. More rain is expected. Most important is that the precipitation at higher elevations is snow, and rather large amounts for this time of year. That water is locked into the snow pack until it melts in the spring.
There are too many clouds to shoot the mountains today, but this is the Monzano Mountains (10,000 foot peaks) a couple of winters ago. They are about 10 miles east of us. The few glimpses we have had through the clouds look like this. Of course, this snow will probably melt during the next warm spell to recharge the aquifer we tap for drinking water. Higher mountains further north will not melt before spring. The snow melt from the high mountains in northern New Mexico and Colorado is primarily what we depend on for irrigation.
Those of you with writer’s block might wish to ponder the impact snow could have on your story. Snow is an inspiration to many. Children and adults see the beauty and like to play in it, but it is also a life threatening danger. If one of your characters is lost or trapped in the snow, they may die of exposure even if they do not actually freeze. I grew up in Wisconsin, where every teen learned how to drive in the snow and ice, but what about people who grew up elsewhere. Here there is enough mountain snow that about half of the drivers know the principles of driving in snow, but drivers who have lived most of their lives in the snow-free south get in trouble because they do not know the techniques of winter driving.
So if you want to put your hero in peril, put that drive out of their element. They will panic as they skid and slide in the snow. A traffic accident is possible. Even if all they do is get stuck in a remote area or a dangerous area, your character has a crisis to deal with. Even if they do not actually crash, they might be distracted enough to get in other trouble.
We are thankful for the snow that will irrigate our fields next year. We hope to get a lot more this winter. I am also thankful that the snow gives me creative ideas that will eventually find their way into my writing.
See my website at www.Congerbooks.info.
Reynold Conger is the author of a thriller, Chased Across Australia, and a Vietnam era romance, My Knight in Shining Armor.