I’d never seen snowflakes so big. They seemed like albino flying squirrels falling Frisbee-style from the sky. The big snow got me to thinking: from the perspective of wild animals, is snow a good thing or bad?
Posts Tagged ‘snow’
This season’s crop of unusual weather featured several stretches of bitter December cold the likes of which we usually see in January or February. Injected into the mix were periods of warm temperatures and rain, and in combination, those extremes caused problems for a lot of people—car accidents, frozen pipes, flooding, canceled events, and lots of other bad stuff. In general, though, it was the sort of stuff we North Country folks are accustomed to dealing with.
However, there is one group (of which I’m a member) that has suffered for weeks now, and it’s not over yet. Despite enduring this lifelong affliction, I’ve never spoken to a professional about it so this amounts to a confession of sorts: I’m a shoveler. I’ll wait a moment for the jokes to clear from your head—“as a writer, you’ve been shoveling it for a long time,” and stuff like that. You’ll get no argument from me. But still, maybe I need help. » Continue Reading.
As an artist, I know snow isn’t white. Perhaps some of the more scientific oriented folks who read or contribute to the Almanack can offer scientific explanations. I’m going to tell you how an artist perceives snow.
This little painting, “Up Near the Black Pond Cut”, practically went viral when I posted it on my Facebook page in early December. It had nearly 300 “shares” and over 50,000 views!
It’s a winter scene – but there’s almost no white snow in it! I think the color and the light is what made it such an appealing painting. It was based on photos I’d taken last winter at the Paul Smith’s College VIC on the Esker Trail. » Continue Reading.
Many years ago, I lived in San José, California where the weather forecast went something like this: Sunny for three weeks, one day of rain, followed by many more weeks of sun. There was a sameness to the weather that bordered on the banal and never made me wonder what was going on.
Not so here in the Northeast. The mercurial nature of our weather keeps us wondering from day to day – often hour to hour – when it’s going to change. The uncertainty is never more present than in the winter, when at times we’re blessed with that trifecta of miserable driving conditions: snow, sleet, and freezing rain.
Why is it that a day could start with a delicate snowfall and suddenly shift to a clattering sleet and end in an icy glaze – but the mercury doesn’t move? Or the temperature will be 30 degrees in both Elizabethtown and Plattsburgh, but snow will fall in one and freezing rain in the other? Clearly the thermometer is telling only part of the story. » Continue Reading.
The Tug Hill region east of Lake Ontario got clobbered by a lake-effect snowstorm Tuesday. I was hoping we’d get a decent snowfall in Saranac Lake, but we received only a little more than a dusting. The woods on Baker Mountain looked pretty this morning, but they would have made for ugly skiing.
The western Adirondacks, however, picked up several inches of fresh snow.
Chris Tapper, business manager of Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company in Old Forge, said the Old Forge area got about five inches of light snow. The area now has about eight inches on the ground, and Tapper said most trails favored by Nordic enthusiasts should be skiable.
“Wider skis are going to be the tool of choice, because it’s light, fluffy snow,” Tapper said.
Rick Kovacs, owner of the Wanakena General Store, said Wanakena area received about six inches of snow Tuesday on top of a two-to-three-inch base. He said skiing should be good on most trails. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued an advisory today reporting that the recent snowstorm provided great conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry. Backcountry visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.
Snow depths range from 8 – 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the western and southwestern Adirondacks and the thinner depths in the northeastern section. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet. » Continue Reading.
On a sunny winter day you may notice tiny, dark flecks bouncing on the snow, often concentrated near the bases of trees or collecting in footprints and other indentations. While snow fleas are the size of actual fleas, don’t worry about infestation — they’re not interested in either you or your pets (please don’t take that personally). Try not to step on them, as they’ve given us the means to improve both organ transplantation and ice cream. » Continue Reading.
I love the first real snow fall of the year. Everything looks so clean and neat, and the world is quiet. The birds aren’t making any noise, the few deer that took off running when I let Pico out hardly made a sound, and tree limbs are hanging low, heavy with fresh wet snow.
This is isn’t the first snow of the year, but it’s the first one that might stick and be around for a little while. Every night before now that I’ve had a fire, I didn’t worry about keeping it going all night. The new stove cranks out heat, especially when it’s loaded with the dead elm that my friend dropped off for me. In fact, tonight will the first night that I’ve had a fire where I won’t be going to sleep with a few windows open. » Continue Reading.
The first snow of this winter season has been reported across the Adirondack region. A band of lake effect moisture brought some snow to the higher elevations of the western and southern slopes of the Adirondacks and an Almanack reader on our Facebook page reported that as much as 2.5 inches fell near Old Forge today.
Flurries and minor accumulation were reported in the High Peaks, including at Whiteface. Snow was also reported in Paul Smiths, Lake Placid, Indian Lake, Newcomb, Schroon Lake and into northern Warren County, including Warrensburg and at at Gore Mountain. At least some flurries were reported in Malone and in Clinton County. Considerable snow was expected in Lewis County and the Tug Hill region. » Continue Reading.
Well, I woke up to pouring rain this morning. It’s really coming down, to the point where my alarm didn’t wake me up, the pounding of the rain on the tin shed roof did. All the windows are even closed due to the cold temperatures, and the rain was still loud enough to break my slumber. But at least it wasn’t snow coming down like this. The forecast has called for a chance of snow for the next few days, and while it wouldn’t be a major inconvenience to get some snow, it would be a little depressing. Plus, I’m worried about the apple trees. » Continue Reading.
According to preliminary data for this year released by the National Ski Areas Association, after a disappointing 2011-12 winter, ski resorts reported an 11% increase in visitation nationally, with a 20% increase in skier visits in the Northeast region.
Not surprisingly given the reduced snowfall last year, results at Gore and Whiteface, both operated by the Olympic Region Development Authority (ORDA), improved significantly for the 2012-13 season. » Continue Reading.
Well, they say that spring is here, but the eighteen inches of snow on the ground out here says otherwise. While snowshoeing up in the back of the property, I took an old ax handle and checked the snow depth. There’s still two feet of snow where the sun doesn’t shine.
I needed a break this week. The wood stove is once again giving me problems with negative pressure causing smoke to come into the cabin. I would be a lot more worried about this if it was December or January, but since it’s the end of March, it’s really not bothering me that much. Obviously, the stove and the chimney need to be replaced, but now is not the time for that. » Continue Reading.
They were predicting we’d get more than six inches, perhaps a lot more. They were wrong. We got only two or three, which prettified the woods, but it wasn’t enough to turn the season around for backcountry skiers.
There is still hope: the National Weather Services predicts Saranac Lake, where the Explorer office is located, could get three to five more inches over the next few days. Again, not enough to turn the season around, but we’ll take it. And who knows? Maybe this time we’ll get more than predicted. » Continue Reading.
The date of the first day of spring varies greatly, as the starting point of this anticipated time of the year depends upon how this season is defined. For those that rely on the calendar, spring begins on Wednesday, as this is when our tilted planet is at a particular position in its orbit around the sun.
For individuals more attuned to meteorology and climatology, spring officially starts on March 1st, as this is when a change in weather patterns traditionally commences. For many back-yard naturalists and people interested in something more noticeable, the sighting of a robin marks the onset of spring. » Continue Reading.
It’s forty degrees, the icicles are dripping snowmelt off the roof, and it’s snowing out. Today seems to be a perfect example of the paradox of the season. March starts tomorrow, and the end of winter is in sight. But there’s a pretty solid likelihood of getting a bunch more snow, as well as days and nights that are bitterly cold.
This, for me, is often the toughest time of the year. I’m still enjoying the winter skiing and snowshoeing, as well as the sight of the white woods. But as we get deeper into March and closer to my birthday, I start getting antsy for spring to be here. Last year, there wasn’t really a part of the winter like this, seeing as it was so warm and light on snow. I mean, I went canoeing on my birthday in late March last year. That was definitely a first for me. » Continue Reading.
Climate change; global warming; superstorms; extended droughts; the hottest year ever; December tornadoes; on and on it goes. Changes are happening everywhere. Even here at home this year, worms and bugs on our sidewalk in mid-December! There have been so many devastating storms and floods and fires. We do benefit from modern forecasters using the most advanced technology to predict the weather, helping us to avoid any big surprises, or to at least prepare.
The same was true of weathermen seventy-five years ago: they did their best to predict what the weather would bring―days, weeks, and even months in advance. But they weren’t alone in doing so. Competing against them were country prognosticators who sometimes did better than the latest technology. » Continue Reading.
The sun is slowly creeping up over Whiteface, turning the sky into a mixture of pastel blue, deep purple and burnt orange. The icicles hanging down in front of the big window reflect the colors as the first chickadees of the morning start to come to the bird feeders. Herbie and Ed are both on the couch, heads darting back and forth. The view out the window looks like a Bob Ross painting. Soft lines and happy little trees everywhere.
The January thaw is upon us here in the Adirondacks. It’s a nice little break to have temperatures above freezing, but the rain that’s coming surely is not welcome. Over the last couple of days, I’ve lost almost a foot of snow to the warm, humid air, but I’m not complaining about that. There’s still plenty of the white stuff on the ground.
So much snow, in fact, that my driveway is no longer drivable. I’ve been parking at the bottom for over a week now. There’s obviously a pretty big downside to this, but also a few perks. I’ve gotten good at not forgetting anything when I leave, and shoveling a hundred yards of driveway is definitely preferable to shoveling a quarter mile of driveway. Also, the driveway is steep enough and snowy enough for me to ride the sled down to the car. So even when I have to haul groceries or water up, I at least get a sled ride in exchange. It’s really not a bad trade. » Continue Reading.
When I recently wrote about missing the winter camping experience, I never imagined there would be anything other than a tepid response. Who could possibly have a strong reaction to a middle-aged man reminiscing about his past winter backpacking experiences? I certainly did not expect any type of counterpoint to appear defending winter backcountry adventuring in all its frigid glory.
Yet, a recent Lost Brook Dispatch made an effective argument extolling the virtues of backpacking during the winter months, including a good-natured cajoling from author Pete Nelson for me to get back into the Adirondack winter camping game. This article serves as a counterpoint to his counterpoint, including a description of why I feel the warmer months offer a vastly superior backcountry experience in the Adirondacks than the colder months of winter.
» Continue Reading.
In the middle and lower depths of our lakes in winter, a region of 39 degree water prevails, providing a haven for those fishes that remain active throughout this season. (A noteworthy physical property of water is that it becomes most dense at 39 degrees and sinks to the bottom. As water cools further, it becomes less dense or lighter in weight and rises to the surface. As a given mass solidifies, its density decreases even further, which is why ice floats on the surface rather than sinks.) While 39 degree water causes rapid hypothermia in humans, it is within the lower range of thermal acceptability for various species of cold-blooded organisms, including a favorite of winter anglers– the yellow perch.
The yellow perch, known to most as simply a perch, is a thick-scaled fish with noticeable vertical streaks on its sides and two separate dorsal fins. The first dorsal fin is supported by sharp-pointed spines that make the perch a challenge to handle without experiencing a painful poke to the hand. The perch also has a relatively small mouth. This limits its intake of food to aquatic invertebrates, the eggs from other fishes, and very small fish, like the fry of larger fish, dace, and smaller strains of minnows and shiners.
» Continue Reading.
So how do trees survive below-freezing temperatures? They can’t move south or generate heat like a mammal. Sure, the below-ground parts of a tree are kept insulated by a layer of snow, and that is important to winter survival, but the exposed parts of a tree are not so protected. » Continue Reading.