While 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.
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.
After a previous bid fell through, a rail bike company is set to purchase the Tahawus rail line.
An audit from the state comptroller argued that DEC is failing to monitor forest tax breaks.
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.