Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Jake's weather blog continued....

So I heard on the radio this morning some weather person on WAMC talking about how the winters when he was a youngster were brutally cold and that they are not like they used to be and on one specific year, 1969, he remembers snow banks as high as the telephone wires. But it's not just New England's winters which are moderating. My good buddy from Russia emailed me! If you remember my VA Beach blog, Vadim is the Russian lad who I painted houses for Doug Schmolze with. He sent news that winter in Russia is very warm and that he has only been able to go ice skating once! And I guess you can forget about skiing this winter in Russia. Apparently it's that bad. But he sent along some very nice photos, so even though I don't have a camera to upload pics, I can put up his!

Vad the Impaler.

Red Square in St. Petersburg

Russia's defense consists of a man with a ruler and a glint in his eye. Yes, I remember the days when a nation could run on pure, unadulterated idealism alone.

Holy shit the guy on the radio wasn't kidding! Wow what a way to kick of the new year and decade; January 1st, 1970: 36 inches of snow on the ground, high temperature of 15 degrees and a low temperature of -18. That was just the start of a long cold spell. From January 1st to January 25th the low temp was 5 degrees or colder with 13 of those nights in the double digit sub zero range with an ultimate low of -24. I've never experienced -24F, have you? Who remembers this winter? Fantastic. I'm gonna build myself a time machine. On Christmas day the low temperature was -22. Another fascinating thing. Despite the frigid temperatures during the period, the snow pack declined twenty inches in 9 days from 36 to 16 and the highest the daytime temp reached during that period was 27F. Snow must have settled or sumthin. Does snow evaporate? Maybe it all blew away...

The snowpack was a result of having 5 inches of snow on the ground when on December 22nd a foot of snow fell. The next three days each saw over an inch of snow. White Christmas anyone? All the while the high temperature never comes close to freezing. Then on December 26th 22 inches of snow falls. Hence 36 inches of snow on the ground. May 12 of that year saw 29 degrees. Low temp for 1968 was -26 degrees.

Unrelated, on October 4, 1987 the low temperature was 33 degrees and the high temperature was 44. Yet 6.5 inches of heavy wet snow fell that day snapping all the still fully leafed trees. I remember that day well. J.P. and I prayed for snow the night before. I inadvertently went sliding off the garage roof and my short little life flashed before my eyes right as I approached the edge. I couldn't believe I was actually going to fall off the roof. I couldn't believe my short little life was about to come to an end. I just couldn't believe it. Somehow, in a far corner of my mind, I thought, I hoped, this couldn't really be happening and something, somehow, was going to deliver me from my abrupt end. All I remember next was laughing really really hard and awkwardly pulling myself out of a big soft snowbank. I was totally unhurt. I clambered up the roof again to slide off another time. It was that day we built an igloo at J.P.'s and had hot chocolate inside. Oh, yes, those were the days when children dared to dream outrageous dreams because they didn't know they were outrageous, and so their dreams came true. It was only in retrospect many years later that I suddenly realized how absurd it was to be thinking about winter in the beginning of October or how much of a fluke that snowstorm was. It was still too early even to have an Indian Summer! But we were delighted that it actually snowed and had no idea that it was such a fluke snowstorm. I actually do remember feeling guilty and overwhelmed by the power and havoc the storm had wreaked (it was a bit more than I was wishing for, nor had I taken into account the leaves on the trees hadn't even peaked) so I guess it was a kind of a watch what you wish for fable.

Hah, the high temperature for March, 1938 was 80 degrees and the low temp for the month was -3. Wow, the same year April's high temp was 92 and low 23.

Memories not exaggerated:
Here is a photo from the famed 1978 Blizzard that clobbered Boston among other major cities:

"On February 6th and 7th 1978, 27.1 inches of snow fell in Boston. The storm quickly became known as The Blizzard of 78. Along the coast, the tides were devastating. At the height of the blizzard, the ocean storm surge rose 15.2 feet above the normal low tide mark. Many homes in coastal communities in Massachusetts Bay were completely destroyed. Severe flooding occurred in many low-lying towns. The storm strengthened during afternoon rush hour, and people were buried in their cars on the highways surrounding Boston. 99 people tragically lost their lives due to the blizzard. The value of all property destroyed was about $1.3 billion [or $2.8 billion current dollars]. The above photo was taken on February 8th or 9th. Please note that cars are completely buried on both sides of the street, and some buildings had their first floors partially buried." http://www.ebmainstreets.com/history/blizzardof78.htm

Part of the reason for the huge snow piles is that Boston was still digging out from another major snowstorm three weeks earlier that dumped 21 inches of snow.

Winter's last stand:

Birmingham, Alabama got over a foot of snow from the superstorm of March 1993. How bout that.

For some reason no photos can be found from the 1987 snowstorm. I think part of the reason is it was an isolated snowstorm that effected a relatively small area.

According to a Great Barrington weather station, the high temperature on December 26th, 1980 was -7 degrees.

Compare to the Albany weather station that reported 6.5 inches on Oct. 4, 1987 with the Great Barrington station that reported 2 inches for October 4th, but 10 inches for October 5th for a storm total of one foot. 55 was the high temp for both days and 30 and 32 low for each day.

West Stockbridge had 8 days of 52-62 degree weather during February in 1930 of which two days before the mercury was down to -21. It'd be funny if all these records were totally quackery, some dyslexic drunk entering the data.

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