Friday, April 29, 2022

The last of winter?

winter weatherWhile I hope we are putting the winter weather behind us, a flash of snow last week that left thousands without power was a reminder of the damage that can be caused. It all depends on the kind of precipitation that actually hits the ground.

Enter atmospheric researchers from University at Albany and other institutions in both Canada and the U.S. The scientists recently completed a six-week field campaign where they collected an enormous amount of data on the mixed winter precipitation storms that often confound forecasters and commuters alike.

Using ground observations, soaring weather balloons, tank-like mobile radars and a specialized airplane to collect the data, the scientists hope to develop a better understanding of the fundamental dynamics of storms that sometimes end with freezing rain, sometimes with sleet and sometimes with a heavy snow in April that forces you to find a coffee shop to work from.

recovery signs

Signs asked hikers to stay off of parts of Watch Rock at Pharaoh Lake. Photo by Zachary Matson.

The storm also knocked down plenty of trees and branches in the backcountry. Over the weekend, I headed to Pharaoh Lake for a night under the stars. The trail from the south was wet, muddy and full of trees straddling the path, but the views were well worth the effort.

I hiked out to Watch Rock, which juts into the southern portion of the lake and offers views onto Pharaoh and Treadway mountains and the ring of high hills that encircle the lake. DEC officials have roped off portions of the landscape, enabling an understory recovery that was starting to awaken for a new growing season.


Photo at top: Bin Han, left, and Matt Brewer prepare to release a weather balloon on March 7 in Plattsburgh. Photo by Zachary Matson.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

2 Responses

  1. Shane M Sloan says:

    The energy used for these kinds of story is an unnecessary waste of electricity and causes pollution. I’ve got an idea! Let’s take an already unreliable grid, powered by the cleanest life cycle energy source available and replace it with something that doesn’t work in the conditions mentioned in this article…and deliver whatever comes out of it through that same unreliable grid…to an ever-increasing load requirement.

    • Dana says:


      If you indeed want to save energy, shut off your computer and work on your manifesto or magnum opus. Some of us enjoy getting our news and entertainment here. Keep up the articles!

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