White Out

It only lasted a moment. And I wasn’t out the door yet. Thus, I didn’t get it on camera. I looked out the window and saw nothing but a cloud. My mind processed what I was seeing. Smoke? Fog?

I had seen what is called a white out.

Defined as wind-driven snow, white outs usually come during blizzards, when snow is falling and wind is blowing at the same time. During that moment, however, the sun was shining; yesterday’s storm had moved away. Still, it was a blustery day (as Winnie the Pooh’s narrator used to say). Very cold, too. So the inch of snow that had fallen remained a fluffy powder, easy for the wind to lift off the tree branches and throw into a swirling cloud.

Fluffy snow
Fluffy snow

White outs are dangerous, especially ones like what I had seen, because suddenly visibility becomes zero. You can’t see. This isn’t terrible when you’re walking — all you need to do is stop — but it is if you’re driving, skiing, flying, etc.

The conditions didn’t reappear during my time outside, proving that — with the unlimited and ever-changing combinations of forces around me — I must never take anything for granted.

What is it like where you live right now?

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