LOCAL VIEW –Another Boston Snowstorm? Or April Fools? (Updated Saturday Night)

It is difficult to describe how tantalizing spring can be, this far north. It can be a terrible tease. This year the flirt provoked us with an amazingly kind end to February, with even the ponds melting. I was thinking of fishing with the children at our Childcare on the first of March.

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Yet at the end of March things had gone backwards.

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If you zoom in on the picture you can see it was not merely humans who were fooled.

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This is a particularly stupid sub-species of Canada Goose, which we have accidentally bred in our area by having water hazards at our golf courses. They are around two pounds heavier than the natural sort, that migrates up to Canada and down to Chesapeake Bay. This sub-species can’t be bothered to migrate far, and upsets people terribly by dying in droves when winters are particularly harsh, when they hang around warm outflows of power plants or sewage treatment plants, rather than flying south to look for open water. Then certain people feel compassion and feed them, while other people, who want them dead, watch and are irate.

Why should anyone want such beautiful geese dead? Well, they eat grass, lots and lots and lots of grass, (they have to eat a lot because grass has less protein than grain or fish), and this means they also produce lots and lots and lots of slimy green droppings. Golfers don’t like this, and people with lawns by the water don’t like it either. But it is illegal to blast them, out of season, and also they are stronger than they look; they can break your arm by beating their wings if you grab one.

In any case, this particular pair arrived on February 28, and cannot understand why the ice has been growing rather than shrinking. Are not the days getting longer, and the sun getting higher and stronger? (I’d show them my weather maps, but they might break my arm.)

I hear the crazy crying of flying geese
And look up through flocking flakes of snow,
And part of me yearns for the yearly release
From the shackles of cold, yet I know
All too well how the Northern Trickster flirts
Worse than the worst girl I knew back in school.

You want to plant seeds so badly it hurts
But if you attempt it you’ll look like a fool
So you wait, and you wait, and wait some more
Until you feel you are losing your mind.

The crazy geese cry in the sky and soar
As bitter flakes sting my weeping eyes blind.
Will Savior Spring ever cut cruel shackles loose
Or will I just wind up an old, silly goose?

One thing I try to remind myself is that I was born here, and am accustomed to the torment. I once worked as a landscaper for a very warmhearted old lady who was born in Virginia, and it drove her half mad not to plant flowers in March. One April, (1989), we had a spell of hot days at the start of the month, and I had to practically tie her down to keep her from planting tomatoes. I think she was on the verge of firing me, when the weather reverted to a bone-chilling rain that had some snow mixed in, followed by clearing and a sharp frost that would have killed tomatoes. I figure if that lady could take that spring,  I can take this one.

Despite the cold breezes the sun is so high that, when it has been out, it has made steady inroads on the nearly two feet of dense snow we got two weeks ago, and again patches of leaves and stone are peeking through on south-facing slopes. It is interesting how some kids gravitate to those places even on gray days.

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Today the bright spring sun in blue skies made further inroads on the snow-pack, and I noticed daffodils poking up in the south-facing garden.

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Yet the forecast is for them to be covered by a foot of snow and sleet by Saturday morning. It seemed impossible. The sun is as high as it is in early September, when most of the leaves are still green. Out of the wind it was warm on my face, and some of the kids got a touch of a sunburn, but then, in the afternoon, abruptly only the sky to the east was blue.

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I figure I might as well document the event with updates, like I did the last storm. I still have the hope it may all change to rain. The evening radar only showed snow way up by the Great Lakes.

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While the weather map shows the storm to the west has a core of summer heat, complete with thunderstorms and tornadoes, it is running up against a Canadian high pressure to our north, which has been pumped up and nudged south by a gale out in the Atlantic (right margin of map) which actually sucked what looked like a tropical storm into its guts. Therefore it will be a battle between winds coming down from Labrador and winds coming up from the Gulf of Mexico.

20170330 satsfc

Today began with a frosty low of 26°, rose to 45° before the clouds moved in, and has now slumped back to freezing. (It is murder on weathermen to forecast whether precipitation will be rain or snow if temperatures are right at freezing.)  The barometer has crept up to 30.02, but is fairly steady.  See you in the morning.

UPDATE:  6:55 A.M. MARCH 31

Just before sunrise at 6:30 the entire landscape turned a shade of shocking pink, and then faded to an orange glow to the east.

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The first, fat flakes began slowly falling at 6:45.

UPDATE: 10:08 AM 

Temperature 30° Barometer 30.01

All the work the sun has done to bare the ground is being undone by a steady fall of light sneet (halfway between sleet and snow.)

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MORNING MAP AND RADAR  (Notice how as soon as the rain moved into New England, it turns to snow.) (Out west Denver’s getting snow as well.)

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UPDATE:  2:25 PM

Temperature 32° Barometer 29,95  Moderate snow. Light northeast wind. Around an inch and a half of snow in the pasture, but the sun is so powerful it melts the roads even through the clouds. They are merely wet, with some slush under trees. As soon as the sun goes down the roads will worsen. (Rain made it up the coast to South Boston for a bit, but it looks like they’ve gone back to sleet now).

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Joe D’Aleo has some interesting graphs on his blog at Weatherbell, produced by Dr. Ryan Maue. They show the change in temperature in the atmosphere for the next few days. Ground level is to the bottom and the future is to the right.  What is shows is warmer air moving in aloft tonight. What is interesting is that it is above freezing in Worcester, an hour south of here, which will likely bring freezing rain or ice pellets…

False Spring 10 KORH_2017033100_xt_ll_240

…yet an hour north of here in Concord the warm occlusion is below freezing as it passes over, which should keep the snow as snow.

False Spring 11 KCON_2017033100_xt_ll_240

As I am half-way between, what I do is flip a coin.

UPDATE: 8:00 P.M.

Temperature 28°, Barometer 29.88.  Changing to sleet. Roughly four inches.

It’s been the typical sort of chaotic day storms generate, with all sorts of extra little chores to do to be ready in case the storm shuts things down. (I have a superstition that a storm never shuts things down unless you forget to do these chores.)

The truck had a dead battery so I used the 1997 Volvo to haul a load of wood for the porch, in case the woodpile gets totally buried.

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And got the snowblower all gassed up and its electric starter plugged in for the clean-up tomorrow morning.

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And rushed around getting things done before the slush got too deep on the roads.

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As the snow got deeper trucks began to bog down in the snow.

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So we had to fight back against the sky.

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But the enemy sent in reinforcements

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So the wiser old women retreated indoors to play Bingo in the stables.

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Meanwhile the goats complained it was too muddy in their hideout under the barn.

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So they bashed a new entrance to the stables in the rear, and trashed the place

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And then implored me not to turn them into goat burgers.

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Nothing to be concerned about here, folks. Just your typical day on a hardscrabble farm.


The maps show high pressure remaining stubborn over Maine, forcing the storm to redevelop on the coast of Virginia.

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The radar shows the rain-snow line making no progress to the north, though sleet does seem to be mixing in more outside my front door.

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9:30 PM  29.86  27°


6:00 AM Temperature 29° Barometer 29.68  Light snow; dust-like flakes — Windy

Dark purple daybreak. I’m glad it is a Saturday, and I don’t have to open the Childcare.

Looks like rain (likely drizzle) has crept up the coast to Boston…

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…as the storm stalls, or only crawls. Looks like a dark day, for April.

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10:00 Temperature 32° Barometer no longer falling 29.72.  Snow picking up again.

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12:00 NOON  –Temperature 32°


Groan. What a royal pain cleaning up that snow was. It was something like glue mixed with cement, and the augers of my snowblower kept winding up like this:

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It was five inches of wet snow atop two inches of drenched sleet, and packed to something close to ice with little effort, so where the plows passed by on the street a wall was raised that the snowblower quailed at, like a hamster trying to gnaw through granite. I was overjoyed to see my eldest son drive up with his big plow to clear the entrances for me. But some places he cannot go. For example the snow slides off the new barn’s snow-shedder roof…

False Spring 25 FullSizeRender

…And packs this stuff a plastic snow shovel can’t dent….

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…and makes we want to wait for a warm spell to just melt the stuff.  Unfortunately this door faces north, and won’t melt quickly, so I’ll have to use my pick ax tomorrow.

(This is why people charmed by New England move back south, after a couple of winters.)

Anyway, here’s an “after” picture, to compare with a “before” picture above.

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The barometer is in no hurry to rise, at 29.84, with the temperature at 30° at 10:00 P.M. After 36 hours the snow finally faded away towards sunset, and Radar shows it moving away northeast.

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The map shows the storm didn’t get as big as some do. So there’s something to be thankful for.

The forecast is for temperatures in the high 80’s by the end of the week. April Fools!

Actually that was 1989. Look at the first week:

April 1989 histGraphAll

I can dream, can’t I? (The reality is we have another storm coming Tuesday, hopefully rain, but with temperatures too close to freezing for comfort.) (Rain will keep me indoors and encourage me to do my taxes.) Currently the next storm is down in Texas.

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12 thoughts on “LOCAL VIEW –Another Boston Snowstorm? Or April Fools? (Updated Saturday Night)

  1. Caleb
    Are your daffodils behind schedule this year? Here in Limousin ours are nearly over and vegetable gardens are being dug. I had to make the decision as to whether to plant out some soft flowers and vegetables in the next week or wait until the end of April. We’re on Grandparent duty in the UK for Easter. I decided t risk it, on the theory if they succumb to frost I can start again and will be no worse off, if it stays reasonably mild then I’ve made a gain,

    Interesting how the geese have adapted to human activity. By adding warmth to water so there is almost always some ice free areas, and all year round grassland (aka Golf Courses) the geese are able to survive quite happily without the hassle of having to fly hundreds/thousands of miles. For a goose what’s not to like. For alarmists humans blaming this on “Climate Change” is also a winner.

    • Great comment. Made me laugh.

      Daffodils are an imported species and I think are a bit north of the climate that would make them happiest, here in New Hampshire. They are right on schedule, this year. I’m not sure what gets them sprouting, but last year they were too early and got burned by a freeze in April, prompting two separate posts involving vegetable and human wisdom, “April Mopes” on April 3 and “Blighted Spring” on April 22.



      April in New Hampshire is a great tonic for poetry, due to all the suffering involved.

      As a boy Canada geese would only pass through New England, and were a cause of local sensations and celebrations when they merely stopped on a lake for a few days. Birdwatchers would flock like birds. It is in my lifetime that the southern sub-species has become a lawn-sliming nuisance. (And they are a true sub-species due to their heavier weight.) (Likely because they are so lazy and don’t migrate.)

      They proliferate with amazing speed, as few predators will take on an adult. Two adults have 5-8 goslings, so the next year you have 7-9 adults. Do the math. In three years they are all over the place. Then a hard winter like 2014-2015 hits us, with even the salt-water bays freezing, and the population is wonderfully reduced. Also, at our flood control, a snapping turtle has taken a liking to the goslings, and they abruptly vanish while swimming behind the parents. Last year all the goslings were devoured. It is proof of the parent’s stupidity that they came back, although the snapping turtle likely feels they are compassionate.

      Considering this northern species is expanding its range to the south, I like to tease Alarmists that it proves the climate is cooling.

    • I did get fooled by a version of that polar-bears-in-Scotland story, back when it first came out, probably because I didn’t see it until several days after April Fooil’s Day. I sent it to a friend in Scotland, who pointed out the date of the story.

      In the version I saw they had a picture of a drugged bear, and said it was exhausted from swimming. Then they said the photographer went to get the police, and when they came back all there was to see was footprints heading down the beach towards town. (To have a missing 1500 pound bear in the neighborhood added excitement.)

  2. Are u serious about goat burgers. Do they taste okay?
    Freakin’ rainiest spring ever in Fernie and after two weeks of “spring skiing” I have no tan at all. My son and I enjoyed 1 1/2 decent days out of two weeks 😦 Usually there was snow up top but of the diabolical leg breaker, elephant snot variety that we measure in cementimetres. That wet snow is too tough on my poor old geezer knees (I’m sure u know of what I speak re joint pain) and there is no fun to be had floundering around in it. Bah humbug … Daniel and I are heading home to Calgary and admitting defeat by mother nature … now Calgary is enjoying a great spring and so we are just on the wrong side of the mountain range!!

    • Goat meat is pretty good. Sort of between lamb and beef. The males are pretty gamey, but for some reason the people of North Africa like it and would buy my bucks. I would castrate the young males and eat them after one summer, back when I was breeding them. The females are too valuable as milkers to eat. And mine have turned into pets, good for nothing but manure and keeping the pasture from growing over.

      My farming days are over, I fear, and I face some hard choices. What I want to do is to become filthy rich and buy an outfit like Colonel Sanders and keep right on farming, but from a recliner on the lawn, sipping a mint julep.

      I got a good laugh from your word, “cementimetres.”

      • They call goats the poor man’s cow. But you don’t have to be poor to keep them, since they are easy to feed on scraps dried on top of the woodburner. They do get a bit gamy as they age, but then so do sheep.

      • Re cementimetres … it looks like that is exactly what you were trying to shovel, blow and pick axe …. crap snow that isn’t even fun when you are on skis.
        I brought the bad weather home with me and our Sunday morning forecast rain is a little too white for my liking. The way it is falling, like pouring rain, it must be water soaked sleet … even more fun if it freezes.
        No matter how much we bitch about the weather no one does anything about it 😦

  3. Thanks for your snowstorm reports. It sure looks like a very dense, high water content snow pack that even the April sun will have trouble melting. What do you think your final total is?

    Here in the DC area, we spent much of the storm in the “occulded sector” where it is too warm for snow, but not warm enough for thunderstorms. Very common occurance aroud here in early spring. Just plain boring and dreary.

    • I meant to say the “occluded sector”, where the warm front stays south of us and we never break into the warm air.

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