Don’t-Mess-With-Me Icicles!

     Not only has this winter been the snowiest of the dozen I’ve experienced in Virginia; it is by far the ‘icicliest!’  In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen such giant, muscular-looking, sword-like icicles in my life! 

     Now, I grew up with icicles.  Icicles formed part of the backdrop of my winter play in Minneapolis.  In fact, when thirsty, we kids would just snap off an icicle from a low-hanging eave and suck in its coldness like a popsicle.

     But here in Virginia this winter, the icicles are huge–longer, wider,  more formidable than anything I can remember in the much snowier, much colder Midwest. 

     The icicles outside our kitchen window form almost a drapery, with many of them joined at the top in a wide mass that only separates into individual icicles seven or eight inches below the roof’s edge.   Outside another window, icicles are relatively thin from side to side, but they extend outward several inches, resembling vertical window blinds.  And some of the icicles don’t just head straight down.  They take a short, eastward detour at the tip, a shape I attribute to wind blowing from the west as drops of ‘icicle melt’ are clinging to the icicles’ tips.

     But what has most astounded me is the length of some of these icicles!  Some are–and I am not exaggerating–more than seven feet long!    

     So why, here in relatively mild Virginia, are the icicles so much more a hulking presence than anything I remember in the Midwest?   Shouldn’t southern icicles be, if anything, tamer than their northern cousins? 

     I have been pondering this question at I stare, fascinated, at the icicles obscuring more of our window space with each passing day.  I shared my wondering with my husband Andy, who came up with a hypothesis that seems like it might be the answer. 

     Here in Virginia, he reasons, the temperature rises to around freezing on many days, unlike in Minnesota ,where the temperature falls way below freezing and just stays there.  With Virginia’s warmer temperatures, the icicles drip a little bit on most days.  Then when the temperature drops, the water dripping from the tips refreezes into an icicle that is a little longer than before.  Those Minnesota icicles, however, don’t spend much time dripping because the temperature rarely reaches 32 degrees. 

     So if you like icicles, as I do, then a generally warmer place, like Virginia, is the place to be!

     I invite you to take a look at my icicle photos below, taken at my house in the last few days.–April Moore




5 Responses to “Don’t-Mess-With-Me Icicles!”

  1. Jim Z. Says:

    Amazing! They must weight a ton.

  2. Judy Says:

    Thank you for more of your incredible icicles. Can you take a picture from outside that shows the entire icicles, including the tips? They remind my of stalactites.

  3. Patsy Says:

    Incredible! Reminds me of what must go on in a cavern with the stalactites.

  4. Joan Brundage Says:

    Almost unbelievable! Growing up in New Jersey winters, I never saw icicles this long. Thanks for sharing your photos which show it all!

  5. Jean Says:

    Those icicles were formidable to look at yet I was drawn to them in a come hither way. What is behind those icicles is what intrigues me. I could see an Agatha Christie mystery behind the curtain of ice. I love them!

    My first impression was that I was looking into the window and the pictures reminded me of a lonely B&B we drove up to in Scotland late one evining in the rain many years ago. Now I see they are all looking out into the snow. I guess my memory created that illusion.

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