Monday, February 16, 2009

Winter in New England

Its snowing again today. Not unusual for February. After arriving in the US in 1997, it did not take me long to realize that winters here were much more severe than those I was used to back in Wales.

We arrived at the end of March, just in time for the April Fool's blizzard of 1997. The April Fools' Day blizzard was a major winter storm in the Northeastern United States on March 31 and April 1, 1997. The 25.4 inches that fell at Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS) was the biggest April snowstorm in the city's history and made April 1997 the Boston's snowiest April on record (the previous record being a mere 13.3 inches). It also set a record for Boston's greatest April 24-hour snowfall. At the peak of the storm from about 11 pm March 31 to 3 am April 1, snow was falling at an almost unheard-of rate of three inches per hour. Numerous lightning strikes and thunderclaps accompanied the extremely heavy snow, which accumulated one foot in just that four hour period.

This was by no means a one off. The average annual snowfall in Worcester, Massachusetts (next town to us) is 67 inches. I have yet to experience a winter here without snow. The problem is that the winter temperature rarely rises above freezing during December through February, so every snowfall that occurs piles up on top of the previous snowfall, resulting in a huge depth of snow everywhere. Store parking lots have snow mounds 30 feet high where the snow ploughs/plows have piled it all up. However the towns and cities are extremely efficient at clearing the roads. Only the most severe snowfalls prevent us from getting in to work (how fortunate! ...Not)

The most extreme weather I have seen in 12 years happened a couple of months ago, and it wasn't snow. The Boston area experienced a severe ice storm. Trees, bushes and power lines were coated in thick ice. The weight of the ice caused many tree branches to bend to the ground, snap off, or in some cases the trees were actually uprooted. Houses and cars were crushed under the falling trees and branches. Nearly a million homes and businesses were without power, some for as long as 2 weeks. We, thankfully, just lost a few tree branches, but neighboring streets were without power ; we were very lucky to have escaped so lightly. 500 members of the National Guard were called upon to help clear roads and provide support. Rightmost photo shows a street in the neighboring town.
By the way, the photo top left is me fetching the mail, and yes, the snow really is up to my thighs! It was difficult getting back up the driveway I can tell you!


  1. very nice blog

  2. Nice to see you with a shovel in the snow - must be an old pic. I thought you had a snow-blower nowadays.

  3. yes, its very old. This is taken at our previous house, before we were smart enough to realize we needed a snow blower