It’s snow gone
2011-11-09 18:45:00.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist
Sunset this afternoon.
‘Where’d all the snow go!?’ – A question uttered by more than one of us as we made our way to the summit today. During our last shift, an early season Nor’easter dumped snow across the entire state. This snow cover along with some black ice that formed at the lower elevations forced us to chain up our 4×4 van at the base of the summit so we could make our way up and back down again. As we headed down last week, our van maneuvered around several drifts that could be measured in feet and not inches. And as we passed our snow tractor parked at ‘half-way’ it had some of us itching for the winter months to come.
Today, however, all that was gone. The drifts of last week reduced to little piles just off the road. The road itself was clear and nearly dry from base to summit. The snow tractor looked like a beached whale as barren ground surrounded it as far as the eye could see. And mud was everywhere. Unlike summer when the barren dirt can seep up the melting snow, during fall, the melt doesn’t penetrate nearly as deep (due to subterranean frost setting up) causing the mud to appear thicker and deeper than it should be. If it were May, I’d be kind of excited to see all of this because it means warmer weather’s ahead but at last check, the calendar reads November and it should be wintrier than this on the summits in my opinion.
Looking at the forecast models my wish for a wintry scene will only get worse before it gets better. Thursday, a cold front will move in and stall to our west as it taps into moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Sean. This will keep temperatures above freezing and bring a potentially large amount of rain to the summits at the start of the system. So what remains of the snow up here will be melted down to nearly northing. But hark! There is hope! As the cold front passes, temperatures will start dropping once again and it looks like freezing rain, sleet, and eventually snow will be making a return. How much is still a bit uncertain but if the timing is right, several inches of the white stuff may be making a return to the summits by Friday. So move over spring, er, I fall, and make way for a return of winter – the bad weather shift is back on top!
Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist