The year without a winter

I hesitate to write this post, as I know anyone on the east coast is getting the crap beat out of them this winter.  Boston is getting buried,  and there could be more snow on the way.  My buddy Jim shared this photo he took of the Hudson River, frozen!

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I heard there is so much snow in Boston they have nowhere to put it.  Folks, if it were feasible I’d say ship it out here!

Right after Christmas, I did one ride where I had to dodge ice.  It was 28 degrees and had been cold for quite a while.  That is the last cold day I can remember.  I have been walking at lunch time without a coat during most of January and February.  Wearing shorts and sandals (OK that’s normal for me, but what isn’t normal is leaving he warm coat at home) on the weekend and feeling like it is spring,

I am not the only one thinking spring is already here, check out what I found in the garden out front this weekend.

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Even the plants are thinking its spring time.  Hell, I’ve already had to kill 2 mosquitos flying around and we have yet to touch any of the fire wood we got this year.  We are still using up last years excess.

Now, as a cyclist, I can’t complain about this.  Riding in the freezing cold just aint fun.  I do it, cuz it is WHAT I do, but given the choice I prefer between 50 and 65 and I have been getting it.  With it, though, comes the rain, so I have been getting wet as well, but that’s the hazards of the northwest.  I have already taken out my coldest weather gear from the panniers.  I have moved to spring!

As nice as it is on the budget (no new firewood this year), and the riding, the state itself is in serious trouble because of this.  Out snow pack is hurting hard,  An article I read today says we are only at 39% of normal (on average) for our snow pack, with places like Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park at only 11%.

This is Paradise Visitor Center at Mt Rainier, one of the highest spots you can drive to in our state, a couple of weeks ago.

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The parking lot should be covered in white and the piles around it much higher than the cars.  This year they closed the sledding area due to a lack of the white stuff.

Out ski areas are all but totally shut down this year.  Snoqualmie Pass’ record lowest snow fall was 191 inches back in 76/77.  So far this year we are at 74 inches.  Jim Whittaker, who is synonymous with mountains in the Northwest (and the first American to summit Everest) has been skiing at Snoqualmie since 1942.  He has NEVER seen it this bad up there.  More rocks and mud than snow.

Add to it, what has fallen is getting wiped out by heavy warm rains.  We sometimes get a weather pattern that comes up from Hawaii and is loaded with a ton of warm rain.  We call it the Pineapple Express.  It has melted 15% of the snow we did have up there. We are screwed this summer.

Now you may be asking “What’s the big deal, some skiers lose one season but so what?”  Well I am not sure how things work elsewhere, but around here, winter snow is our spring and summer water.  The deep snow pack slowly melts as the weather warms, filling our streams, rivers, and reservoirs.  It’s what lets farmers irrigate, boaters float and salmon spawn.

In addition, the heavier the snow, the later fire season hits our forest.  The snow keeps the trees and brush from drying out and blowing up in flames when some damn fool tosses a cigarette out the window or forgets to put out a comp fire.  I can foresee big brush and forest fires this year.

I also see a lot of brown lawns (which I am ok with we never water our lawn) but also potentially poor grape crop (which produces wine a few years from now) as well as other crops wintering on the vine.

We would need 200% of out normal mountain snow between now and April just to break even.  Forecasts call for warmer and wetter the rest of this month and then warm and dry next month.  So I do not see us pulling out of this one.

I wonder how many refrigerated rail cars there are and how much snow each could carry.  If we load them in Boston and run them round the clock…..

Anyone know a good snow dance?

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10 Responses to The year without a winter

  1. sarburch says:

    Love, love, love your idea about training some snow out west! 🙂

  2. Sounds like you’ve imported Scottish weather variability.

  3. Thank you for the wonderful photos! I will think about composing a snow dance. I always have been flakey.

  4. Gayle Carino says:

    Was the photo of the Hudson River taken in Catskill? That pier looks familiar.

  5. jimdev7 says:

    Tony, I remember that Winter in 76/77 I had just learned to ski and bam … no snow. Good thing I was using rentals that year! The ice here on the Hudson has gotten worse. This morning it was -9 degrees when I got up. Last week a tug boat and tanker barge got stuck in the ice and they had to call in a Coast Guard Icebreaker to free them.

    We’re running 20 inches above average in snowfall YTD and Feb is an AVERAGE of 12 degrees below normal. And the best part is … I love it!!

    • I was in Germany in 76 so I have no memory of this, but this year is just nuts here. Loving the riding but we will pay later! It’s the perfect year for you two to have move north!

      I heard a ship was trapped on lap Erie too…m I’ve never heard of that happening what a year!

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