Exquisitely Rare! White Snow and Green Leafy Trees

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Around 9:30 p.m. on November 16th, something rare happened in Dallas: Snow.

The heaviest part lasted around 10 minutes, with flakes falling/blowing in the wind for another half hour or so.

This is the earliest snow I’ve seen since living in New England decades ago, and just about unheard of here in North Texas, where the normal average high is around 67 degrees at this time.

I stepped outside during what turned out to be the last few moments of the heavier burst.

Awe mixed with near-disbelief filled my heart, as I greeted the sailing flakes, and felt their fleeting touch on my face and neck.

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One big hope of mine was to see snow actually laying in the green leafed trees. Already enough snow covered our picnic table and neighborhood cars/walls to create small snowballs.  Snowflakes also spotted thick green deciduous leaves as well.

Enough snow covered grass to begin turning lawns white.  Meanwhile, as snow tapered, beautiful “diamond dust” glitter twirled in street lights.

Before long, it stopped.  By dawn of Monday morning, through a combination of melting and sublimation, very little remained covering lawns, and none remained whatsoever on trees.  However, roofs and car tops still had a blatant coating, and here was where my fun came in.

Sneaking out earlier than usual before work, I grabbed the photos seen here, and savored a piece of rare weather history.

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Savoring Autumn Beauty-at Home!

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One week after we return from our Arkansas/Oklahoma fall color hunt, the spirit of autumn beauty descends into our own neighborhood, thanks to several nights near and below freezing. The dark reds and oranges are very rare here in the Dallas area.   These woods are located within a couple blocks of the house, and provided me much joyful gawking.

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Vibrant golds ring out as well. These photos were taken in 38 degree weather during the  second week in November.  These temperatures are more normal for Christmas vacation time in the Ohio Valley, far to our north. The normal average high for the Dallas area during this week is around 68 degrees.

Successful Fall Colors Intercept 11-8-14

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For the past 18 years, I have hungered to see fall colors in the wilds; their natural habitats, rather than simply in planted trees as it is here in the Dallas area.

So over the past weekend, my wife and I embarked on a Fall Color Chase expedition.

The strategies are both similar to and opposite from regular storm chasing.  Similar because it truly involves estimating the best position in a region to intercept the best peak colors for that date.

Opposite, because of course, regular storm chasing entails getting out of the trees and hills to view our vast open sky.  Peak leaf chasing entails going into the hills and woods to see the colors.

After contacting both Southern Oklahoma and Fayetteville AR Chambers of Commerce, I estimated the area just NW of Mena, AR to have the best possibility.

So, on Saturday, we spent most of the day savoring a most sacred beauty. Following are more catches:

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Making love with fiery maple leaves – near Mena AR

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Merging Colors – Queen Wilhelmina State Park, AR

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Queen Wilhelmina State Park, AR

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Along the Talimena National Parkway, OK

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Talimena National Park, OK

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Amazing Array of Color, Along Talimena National Byway, OK

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What a joy it was to see this amazing splashing of colors in the wilds. Captured along the Queen Wilhelmina Park Road, AR

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Trees look frosted with gold, as Oaks turn color. View looks back on the road we took to get to this point as it cuts across the mountain. Filmed in Talimena National Byway, OK.

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In this breath taking view, various fall colors pepper the mountain side. Photo taken on Talimena National Byway, OK

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Poetic Recount of Night Time Wildness

October 11, 2014 – Wild Thunder Squall Before Dawn:

Tapping on my bedroom window awakens me from slumber. This is what I’ve been waiting for!!

Raindrops and wind call me to get up and take a look!

Out the front door and onto patio I dash.

Trees bow widely before mighty blasts of wind. Raindrops lightly wet the air, as great whooshing sound fills my neighborhood. “FHHH”  sound rises to crescendos with each long gust; dark tree silhouettes bend eerily in ambient light.

Brilliant flashes and pulses of light seize the sky; white, electric blue and once even pink circles. Power flashes. Reminds me of Hurricane Rita’s arrival in Houston.

Huge raindrops suddenly swirl thickly across the world; fuzzing out street lights. Delicious scents of rain- wet earth arise, and I deeply inhale their sweetness into my lungs. More power flashes dance across my southern sky.

Flashes begin echoing in the north sky, and soon above me as lightning makes an appearance.

It looks no different than the power flashes as it flickers in clouds. But now,  thunder responds.

What a wild night in Dallas Texas!

Magnificent Lightning Captures 10-6-14

In addition to the awesome video from last post, I bagged some truly wonderful lightning souvenirs before dawn!

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With rain getting on the camera lens, the photo looks a tad blurry. However the effect of multi-cloud layers illuminated from behind by brilliant lightning stands out just the same. Photo looking south.

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This mystical shot includes raindrops illuminated by the camera’s flash.

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In this photo, lightning blossoms behind thick rain curtain.

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Dark clouds rolling in add nice contrast to the frequent flashes.

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Sheet lightning frames trees and houses eerily.

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Mystical flashes above circular cloudscapes…

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This is taken with my cell phone. Though it’s a bit blurry, it still presents a mysterious mood..

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This is a still capture from my lightning video. Magnificent!

(C) Stephen Eric Levine.

My Heart Almost Burst with Awe!

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Oh my Gosh! I declare to myself as I witness a most majestic scene of sun lowering into a growing bank of thunderheads across the western sky.

Awe beyond words fills my heart.

I must find an open space to film this!

Grabbing my camera, I run as fast as possible for 10 minutes to reach a full western view, and finally arrive for a capture.  Photo taken on September 10th, near Murphy, Texas.

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Here is a zoomed in catch.

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Here is a full horizon pan, just after sunset. Awe, beauty and majesty beyond words!

An Hour of Wildness- 10-2-14

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Around 4:30 p.m., Blue-tinged darkness of approaching squall line opens up across the northern and western sky. Occasional lightning flashes dance in clouds, while a rogue bolt leaps towards western horizon. Photo taken in Richardson TX.

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Wildness approaches, and with definite blue tinges to the sky, plus reports of large hail in the region, I choose to abandon my post for another which offers a  patio to drive in if large hail arrives.  Meantime, adrenaline and thrill fill my heart as I eagerly anticipate the arrival.

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Here is a vertical view of approaching squall line. I love the contrasts of light across the cloudscape. Clouds hanging towards horizon probably represent a powerful downburst.

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As I drive to my second outpost, strong winds arrive, bending tree branches and scattering leaves into air.  Very dramatic and exciting! In this photo, storm has arrived. Note the funnel shaped cloud at lower left.  It traveled across the southern sky, and again probably represents down burst winds. Occasional potent lightning streaks across the scene.

Sheets of rain and wind swirl through, sometimes rocking my car.

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As heart of storm passes off into east sky and rain tapers, new thunderheads at the rear of the complex arise, presenting magnificent contrasts with breaks of clear sky and swirly grays of thunderstorm still overhead.

Meanwhile, off in the east, occasional breath taking lightning bolts dance between earth and sky, their brilliance reflecting off rain wet pavement.

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Looking across northern sky, as departing storm leaves a  magnificent  cloudscape behind it.

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Further east across my north, new towering cumulus clouds build into the storm, with amazing beauty, like celestial mountains. Fresh, sweet and cool breezes now flow upon me.

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This is a wider view of the previous photo. Again, sweeping beauty.

9/21/14 – Garland TX to Durant, OK Storm Chase

As you will read from my stories, my dance with the celestial elements is a deeply spiritual journey.

Before setting out after a storm, I always check in with Creator to make sure it’s the highest good for me to go.

This evening, nice juicy red radar splotches, indicating heavy rains, sit across southern Oklahoma, about 25 miles north of the Red River.

Around 7 p.m. my spirit hungers to go get them, especially since they will most likely dissipate after dark and not make it much past the Red River into Texas.

Around 7:15, after receiving the go-ahead from Divine presence, I take off, not knowing if they will actually last long enough for me to reach them.

What a peaceful feeling it is to ride under satin blue skies toward walls of cirrus anvil banked across the north.

As I move towards the Sherman, TX area, nearly constant pulses of light leap out from the distance, sometimes revealing jagged ribbons of lightning peeking from behind dense rain curtains.

What an amazing joy I have, heading straight to the heart of action.

A lovely frenetic electrical show unfolds with stunning beauty before me.

Bolt after bolt leaps brilliantly between earth and sky in delightful forms.

Brilliance increases as I close in.

I finally reach my target destination. Occasional vivid discharges land blocks away from my car, and thunder swiftly reverberates.

The dry prickly atmosphere I left behind in the Dallas area has been replaced by sheets of rain freely sailing in winds bending trees. Frequent flashes light the sky and roars respond. The air is sweet, fresh, and water rushes fully through gullies.

It’s a significant drive; 160 miles total in three hours during the evening. Despite the length, it’s well worth it.

I arrive back home filled with inspiration, joy and lovely images.

Due to the swift pace of the chase, there was no time to stop to take photos. I  really wanted to arrive ASAP.

In this case the ecstatic moments linger as images in my mind.

What a joy to arrive at a spiritual home, at one with God’s celestial creation.