A slow start to spring

2011-04-02 17:13:02.000 – Brian Clark,  Observer and Meteorologist


The so-called April Fool’s Day Nor’easter did not disappoint here on the summit. Since it began snowing on Thursday evening, we have measured just over a foot of new snow. Winds increased significantly last night, and have stayed rather high through the course of today. Of course, this has caused a considerable amount of blowing snow. In fact, when Ryan went to go get the precipitation can last night, he had trouble actually finding the can because it had been buried by a snow drift. That’s not something that happens very often. Luckily, when I headed out to change the can again this morning, the higher winds had managed to move most of that drift again, and the precipitation can was (for the most part) exposed again.

Although a storm like this is certainly not out of the ordinary for this time of year on the Mount Washington, it still feels a bit strange that we have yet to really experience any spring weather here. Usually by early April, we have had at least a couple of sunny and relatively warm days. The sort of days that soften the snow just enough to make for some nice skiing. Even in the valley I haven’t seen much spring-like weather. Attitash, the ski resort I ski instruct at, will be closing tomorrow with nearly 100% of their terrain open, and mid-winter snow conditions. Luckily a few ski areas, like Wildcat, will continue to operate. With new snowfall and no long term warming trend in the forecast, Wildcat could conceivably be open into May if they want to.

In the short term, there is a warm-up is on the way. Low pressure will cut up through the Great Lakes region on Sunday, and then move to the north of New England on Monday. This will cause temperatures to climb above freezing on the summit, and we will likely see some plain rain. However, on the backside, temperatures will fall back to below seasonable levels, and we could also see a little bit of snow.

I personally see the slow start to spring as a good thing, because it means that I will be able to ski further into the summer. With the amount of snow in places like Tuckerman Ravine and the East Snowfields this year, and the way the weather looks in the long term, good skiing in June will not be out of the question this year. Now, I am well aware that there are a whole lot of people in New England that want nothing more than for summer to get here. All I can say to those folks is, don’t worry, warmer weather will inevitably be here to stay, you just might have to wait until May!


Brian Clark,  Observer and Meteorologist

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