Mashpee Mist

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Tough article to title… “Mashpee Mist” sounds like I’m trying to name a sports team. “Misty Mashpee” sounds like a stripper name thought up by an unimaginative girl right before she went on stage. Fighting alliteration leads to “Mashpee Fog,” which sounds like a raincoat.
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This looks like where patrons of The Slaughtered Lamb would urge you not to walk during the full moon.
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It’s not easy being spooky at 10 AM, but Mashpee pulled it off the other day.
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They really should get the Snow Fencing Repair Guy out here soon.
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That’s about all the visibility we were getting that day. 
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We had the beach to ourselves, which is better when it isn’t February. 

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February Snow Information

I think that even the wimpiest of us would agree that we have had a mild winter so far. That may or may not change in the coming weeks, but that’s not what we’re here to discuss today.

We’re at roughly what I consider to be mid-winter. I may not be correct officially or technically, but it’s a good working model. A little bit of November, all of December, January, February and March, plus a bit of April… early February is smack dab in the middle of that.

With that in mind, let’s sort through some weather facts and speculation that may get you some proper mojo for those times when you ponder the weather at great lengths.

There will be a bit of a Boston focus, as I have a lot of Boston weather data handy. Your town may be different, but it’s good enough to work with. I’m leaning heavily on a Weather Channel page. I refuse to use Winter Storm Names.

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– Some of our worst storms, like the Blizzard of ’78, came in the shortest month of he year.

-Top Boston Snowstorms
1. Feb. 17-18, 2003: 27.6 inches
2. Feb. 6-7, 1978: 27.1 inches
3. Feb. 24-26, 1969: 25.8 inches
4. Mar. 31 – Apr. 1, 1997: 25.4 inches
5. Feb. 8-9, 2013: 24.9 inches
6. Jan. 26-28, 2015: 24.6 inches
7. Feb. 7-10, 2015: 23.8 inches
8. Jan. 22-23, 2005: 22.5 inches
9. Jan. 20-21, 1978: 21.4 inches
10. Mar. 3-5, 1960: 19.8 inches

– Three of Boston’s five snowiest months (including #1 overall, with a bullet) were, as you’ll see, various forms of February.

– People looking at Top Boston Snowstorms charts in the future will be like, “Damn, it must have sucked in 2015 to get 24.6 inches of snow on January 28th and then get 23.8″ on February 7th,” and they could quite possibly be completely unaware that there was also a Groundhog Day blizzard in 2015 that did like 18″. We just fail to mention it, because History of any sort is full of these little nuances.

– Top Snowfall Totals For A Month in Boston, and remember that you lose about 10% of the calendar with February:
1. February 2015: 64.8 inches
2. January 2005: 43.3 inches
3. January 1945: 42.3 inches
4. February 2003: 41.6 inches
5. February 1969: 41.3 inches

– It’s odd that December or March didn’t force their way in the mix up there in that list. I suppose that Spring is asserting herself by March, and that the ground is too warm in December.

– April, which has had some heavy blizzard-type snowfalls, just doesn’t get enough follow-up events to break into that very close (one inch of snow stands between the second worst month of snow ever and the fifth worst) pile of months that make up rankings-2-5.

– March had a 19.8 inch head-start in 1960 and failed to get near the top 5. April had about 24″ by April 1st of 1997, but couldn’t generate enough powda to be a true player.

– Barnstable, which is in the middle of Cape Cod and gets Gulf Stream water, has had a worse winter so far than more-northern Boston has chalked up. Boston has had 10″ of snow this winter, while parts of Cape Cod took in 15″ of snow from just that last storm.

– Boston does about 43.6″ of snow per winter. I think that Barnstable clocks 25″ or so per winter.

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– Boston’s 10 Worst Winters:
1. 2014-2015: 110.6 inches

2. 1995-1996: 107.6 inches
3. 1993-1994: 96.3 inches
4. 1947-1948: 89.2 inches
5. 2004-2005: 86.6 inches
6. 1977-1978: 85.1 inches
7. 1992-1993: 83.9 inches
8. 2010-2011: 81.0 inches
9. 1915-1916: 79.2 inches
10. 1919-1920: 73.4 inches

– Notice that nearly 2 feet of snow stand between #2 and #5 on this list, while 1 inch stands between #2 and #5 in snowiest months. Those were some genuinely awful winters.

– Boston got 94.4 inches of snow in the thirty days between January 24th and February 22nd, 2015. It would be the third snowiest winter overall, just those 30 days.

– Any kid about 25 years old or so who has lived here all of his life can hold his own with any old-timer, no matter how salty he may be, in a discussion about difficult Boston winters. Even a 105 year old man will have only seen three other winters that would place in the top ten.

– A 128 year old man would have seen the Blizzard of 1888, albeit as a child. However, at that point, the 128 year old man would be more interesting than Blizzard of 1888 discussion.

– Old folks would have recourse against whippersnappers in things like Ice Storms and Really, Really Cold Weather. It generally goes without saying that this current generation has better plowing and forecasting. It also generally goes without saying that old people have a better feel for the weather, and always will.

– In 2015, Boston had a Boston-record 37″ snow pack. We had 6 feet of snow fall between January 24th and February 10th, and 90″ between 1/24 and 2/15. We had 4 days where we had at least 12 inches of snow (a record shared with 1978 and 1960-61). Boston had 6 days in a row with at least a half-inch of snow. They also had 28 straight days where the temperature didn’t get above 20.

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– Some perspective:

Heaviest One-Day Snowfall (inches and centimeters)
Georgetown, Colorado 63 160 Dec 4 1913
Thompson Pass, Alaska 62 157 Dec 29 1955
Giant Forest, California 60 152 Jan 19 1933
Mount Washington, NH 49 125 Feb 25 1969
Millegan, Montana 48 122 Dec 27 2003
Gunn’s Ranch, Washington 48 122 Jan 21 1935
Deadwood, South Dakota 47 119 Mar 14 1973
Watertown, New York 45 114 Nov 15 1900
Heber Ranger Station, Arizona 38 97 Dec 14 1967
Morgantown, Pennsylvania 38 97 Mar 20 1958
Wolf Ridge, Minnesota 36 91 Jan 7 1994

Snowiest Average Winters, (inches and centimeters)
Mt Rainier, Washington 671 1704
Alta, Utah 546 1387
Crater Lake Park, Oregon 483 1226
Brighton, Utah 411 1044
Echo Summit, California 407 1035

Most Days With Snowfall
Mt Rainier, Paradise Station, Washington 121.4
Mt Washington, New Hampshire 118.5
Climax Mine, Colorado 104.4
Crater Lake Park Headquarters, Oregon 101.3
Shemya Island, Alaska 98.3
Yellowstone Park South Entrance, Wyoming 94.5

Snowiest Large US Cities, Average Year, (inches and centimeters)
Rochester, New York 99.5 252.7
Buffalo, New York 94.7 240.5
Cleveland, Ohio 68.1 173.0
Salt Lake City, Utah 56.2 142.7
Minneapolis, Minnesota 54.0 137.2
Denver, Colorado 53.8 136.7
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 46.9 119.1
Boston, Massachusetts 43.8 111.3
Detroit, Michigan 42.7 108.5
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 41.9 106.4
Hartford, Connecticut 40.5 102.9
Chicago, Illinois 36.7 93.2
Providence, Rhode Island 33.8 85.9
Columbus, Ohio 27.5 69.9
Indianapolis, Indiana 25.9 65.8
New York, New York 25.1 63.8

– Boston, and Massachusetts in general, rules ‘Merica in one weather-related category… Wind Speed. Boston has an average wind speed of 12.4 mph. Massachusetts owns 4 of the top 5 spots when ranked among cities with more than 50,000 people. Weymouh, Brockton, Framingham, Newton, Peabody, Waltham, Quincy, Lowell, Brookline, and Lynn are all in the top 20.

Windiest US Cities (>50,000 people)
1. Weymouth Town, MA (housing) (pop. 55,419) 14.7 mph
2. Brockton, MA (housing) (pop. 94,089) 14.3 mph
3. Framingham, MA (housing) (pop. 68,318) 13.6 mph
4. Amarillo, TX (housing) (pop. 196,429) 13.3 mph
5. Weymouth, MA (housing) (pop. 54,393) 13.2 mph
6. Cheyenne, WY (housing) (pop. 62,448) 12.9 mph
7. Fort Collins, CO (housing) (pop. 152,061) 12.8 mph
8. Newton, MA (housing) (pop. 87,971) 12.7 mph
9. Casper, WY (housing) (pop. 59,628) 12.7 mph
10. Waltham, MA (housing) (pop. 62,227) 12.6 mph
11. Loveland, CO (housing) (pop. 71,334) 12.6 mph
12. Quincy, MA (housing) (pop. 93,494) 12.5 mph
13. Greeley, CO (housing) (pop. 96,539) 12.5 mph
14. Rochester, MN (housing) (pop. 110,742) 12.5 mph
15. Great Falls, MT (housing) (pop. 59,351) 12.5 mph
16. Peabody, MA (housing) (pop. 52,044) 12.5 mph
17. Brookline, MA (housing) (pop. 58,732) 12.5 mph
18. Lowell, MA (housing) (pop. 108,861) 12.5 mph
19. Lubbock, TX (housing) (pop. 239,538) 12.4 mph
20. Lynn, MA (housing) (pop. 91,589) 12.4 mph
21. Boston, MA (housing) (pop. 645,966) 12.4 mph

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Did Beach Repairs Flood A Duxbury Neighborhood?

  • Did beach renovations enhance flooding in a Duxbury Beach residential neighborhood?

Duxbury Beach is a peninsula that runs about 6 miles. It’s 200 yards thick, give or take a few bumps in the coastline. It sits pretty much right at sea level. It is located between Cape Cod Bay and an interior bay/salt marsh estuary that is about the size of Cambridge.

It has two distinct flooding problems. One comes from storms, which generate surf that sometimes breaks on the houses. The other threat comes from flood tides. Flood tides can hit you from the beach and from the marsh. Once the marsh fills with floodwater, it spills out onto Gurnet Road, which runs from the Marshfield line to the Saquish/Gurnet area.

There are also two groups of property owners on Duxbury Beach. One group is made up of homeowners, who live in the area (some are full time, some are summer people). The other group are the members of the Duxbury Beach Reservation.

The DBR was born out of the efforts of 19 people who owned lots on Duxbury Beach. They planned to put a cottage neighborhood in, but a ferocious winter storm scared them off, and the land was never developed. There is more than one way to make a buck, however, and they get those Benjamins these days by renting out the parking lot/bath house and selling beach and oversand access stickers.

The residents also have initials, but they weren’t really feeling creative on Anagram Day, and chose pretty much the same thing (DBRA, the Duxbury Beach Residents Association) for their neighborhood nomme de guerre.

The DBR spends a lot of money maintaining a lengthy and fragile beach road. Erosion attacks it from both sides. Many dunes have been washed away, but the bay side doesn’t have waves. Why not raise that side up?

They did that just that, finishing up in April of 2017… right after the last of the huge spring tides. They raised up 4 miles on the bay side of Duxbury Beach’s DBR section by 2 feet. Problem solved!

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However, floodwater that is repelled doesn’t just go back out to the middle of the ocean, like when you send back a steak. It just follows gravity’s lead, going to wherever it meets no resistance. Once the bayside DBR beach and road was elevated, it upset a balance that had been in effect since the area became inhabited.

Duxbury Beach always floods, but the major depths are found right on the water. Once you went inland 100 yards, you weren’t in danger of being hit by a wave. The road would wash over in spots, but the true Shelby Scott stuff was on the seawall.

That wasn’t the case last January. January saw the peak of a three supermoon tide cycle, which put full moon tides of nearly 12 feet onto an area where 10 feet is worrisome. January also gave us a nor’easter, which hit during a supermoon.

That sounds ominous, and it is, but the noreaster was B- stuff. It brought a 15 inch storm surge to an area already 2 feet above normal high tides, which also sounds ominous. However, a good historic storm brings a 5-10 foot surge. This storm was something that the residents weren’t sweating much.

Big mistake. Flooding came, and not only from the ocean side. The bay side spilled over into the back end of the neighborhood, an event that happens only in Blizzard of ’78 sort of storms. The bayside flooding met the ocean flooding, and the whole neighborhood was inundated. There was nowhere to run. It was a genuinely perilous situation.

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It didn’t make sense. The storm wasn’t that bad. I was on the seawall an hour before high tide, filming waves. I didn’t even get wet. If I tried standing on the wall an hour before high tide during the Blizzard of ’78, I’d be posting this from Hell (assuming that suicide, which is what going out onto the seawall during that Blizzard was, is a mortal sin worthy of the soul’s eternal banishment). The storm did almost no structural damage at all, at least on the coastline. How did this weak storm do so much damage to the interior of the neighborhood?

Oh yeah… those DBR beach renovations. The supermoon tide cycle storm was the first major test of those renovations (summer tides were low, no hurricanes got to Duxbury and we had no full-moon noreasters in the fall), and the results were disastrous.

“I have owned this house for 65 years, and it never had water in it before this January,” said one resident. She will most likely be the next angry phone call that the Duxbury Conservation Commission gets, if you want to wager a little wampum on the affairs of the town.

“65 years,” to a storm geek, means that she got no flooding in the house from Hurricane Carol, Hurricane Donna, Hurricane Belle, the Blizzard of ’78, Hurricane Gloria, Hurricane Bob, the Halloween Gale/Perfect Storm, the April Fools blizzard and the blizzards/nor’easters of 2007, 2013 and 2015.

I was in the neighborhood for each storm after Belle, and houses were being torn in half by the surf in 1978 and 1991. Those storms didn’t soak the inside of this lady’s house. Instead, the honor went to a weak nor’easter riding a supermoon tide last month.

No global warming denial will happen in this column. It isn’t hard to find pictures of Duxbury Beach taken from planes over the years, for the purpose of seeing the sea work against the shore. However, that is a slow, gradual process… not the Great Leap Forward that we saw with the supermoon.

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The one new exponent in the equation is the DBR work. OJ didn’t look as guilty as they do right now.

There are 3 supermoons a year, meaning that they are 25% of all full moons. This could get old, fast. The balance was razor thin before the DBR work sent a bunch of floodwater looking for a new home.

The DBRA will most likely organize a legal response, and it’s time to think of what they might ask for from a judge. Every option looks expensive.

They could wall off the whole DBRA neighborhood’s marsh side, making the neighborhood look like what happened to East Berlin or what Trump has in mind for Mexico. That will just flood a different neighborhood, hopefully (for the DBR, anyhow) one without a neighborhood association.

They could dump a town’s worth of dirt under the houses and raise the whole land mass up by 3 feet… oh wait, no they can’t.

Duxbury could unincorporate the DBRA neighborhood and let the sea eat it. This will eventually erode the barrier beach, meaning that the big money folks on Powder Point inherit the flood problems that Gurnet Road now has.

My financial advisor, who admittedly was in prison at the time, told me that any of these options will cost “a zillion” dollars. “The wall will cost the least amount of zillions.”

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The DBR looks to go to great lengths to avoid paying that kind of money, so let’s get ready for a legal battle!

The DBRA may look overly needy in this battle, as they are just a few years removed from a battle with the town over funding for costly seawall repairs (the DBRA won). Now, they’ll be after an even larger body of work.

However, the DBR looks a lot like the rich people you see when you read about the Johnstown Flood. That flood was the event with the largest loss of life in the northeastern US between the Battle of Gettysburg and the September 11th attacks.

In both Johnstown and Duxbury, rich people altered the natural landscape for recreational purposes. Those alterations led to flooding downstream. Johnstown lost 2200 people, and Duxbury Beach couldn’t generate that death toll unless each howeowner was having a party when the flood hit.

In both cases, wanton alterations were made to the natural landscape without at least one critical environmental impact study being conducted.

Any lawsuits coming will be over flooded houses, not deaths. Deaths aren’t out of the possible range of results, though. People who thought they were safe further back from the ocean may not have the right escape plan, and there would be nowhere to run.

 

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Thanks to Daniel Rollins, Danielle Cheverie Mann, Sara Flynn and Libby Carr for the photos.

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SUPER BOWL NOTES

 

* Point Spread: Pats by 5

Over/Under: 48

The line has remained steady. One casino actually said “We liked the Pats by 5 early on, and have seen no reason to not like the Pats by 5 since.”

A pair of one million dollar bets have been placed at different casinos on the Eagles.

There are rumors of a flu bug running rampant among the Eagles.

 

*There is no scheduled date for a parade yet, should the Patriots win.

 

Strange Bets:

Will any player kneel? Yes +280 No -450

Color of Belichick’s shirt? Grey +101 Blue +102 Red +603

How long will it take Pink to do the National Anthem? Over 2:00 -140   Under 2:00 +100

Will she be airborne for any part of it?  Yes: 5/2 No: 1/4

Color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach:

Lime/green/yellow +225
Orange +250
Red +275
Clear/water +375
Blue +1000
Purple +1000 +275

 

 

* The margin of victory in each Belichick-era Pats Super Bowl game has been 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6… and the 6 point game went into overtime. The non-Brady Super Bowl appearances by the Pats saw them lose by 36 and 15 or so. They lost an AFL title game by 41 or so once, too. We beat the Eagles by 3 in the other Super Bowl that we played against them.

 

* Some hack writer somewhere will compare Boston or New England to Philadelphia or Pennsylvania along the lines of “Better sandwich? Cheesesteak or Lobster Roll?” I am curious to see who wins the “Most Prominent TV Show Set In A Bar” question between Cheers and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

I’m also curious as to who we’d put up against Benjamin Franklin in a debate over Better Prominent Historical Figure. John Adams? John Quincy Adams? Myles Stadish? Paul Revere? Quint? Big Papi? Massachusetts is cooler than Pennsylvania historically, but it is more of a sum-of-our-parts victory.

After those categoeires, I don’t know what Pennsylvania or Philadelphia wins. Most Amish? Best Cream Cheese? Worst Police Firebombing Of A Black Neighborhood? I’m not even sure they win Best Boxer Named Rocky.

I also won’t give them Best Temporary US Capitol, as I consider Massachusetts to have been the whole USA from when the first shots were fired in Lexington until the second state jumped into the fight on our side.

 

* If the Eagles win, Chris Long has to honor a bet he made where he said he’d get the coach’s face tatooed(?) on his back.

Fellow ex-Patriot LeGarrette Blount landed one of the better punches I’ve ever seen thrown in college football. You’d think that football would have better fights. They have all the ingredients. Hockey beats them easily for Best Sport To See A Fight That Ostensibly Doesn’t Involve Fighting. You can watch hockey fights guilt-free… there seems to be no limit to how many times you can strike a Canadian in the head.

 

* The last time Justin Timberlake did a Super Bowl, he physically stripped Janet Jackson. I actually missed that when it happened. I was looking down, chip deep in some salsa, concentrating, when I hear everyone go “Whoah…”

I hope that he performs It’s My Dick In A Box, because it is getting close to Valentine’s Day.

Our bet? Patriots 28, Eagles 20

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Surf Check, Plymouth/Bourne/Sandwich

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We rolled out in the snowstorm to check the surf for you. We started in Sandwich… we worked between the Coast Guard Station and Horizons, because you can only roll so hard during a snowstorm in a Toyota Yaris.

Apologies for the video… I generally click off any rap music that has been auto-tuned (I’m an old guy, I prefer Chuck D and the Wu), but you take what you can get with Sandwich Public Radio, 91.5 on your FM dial.

 

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Not really boiling over with ambition (the real damage is being done in the coastal flooding heavyweight towns like Duxbury and Marshfield), we went over the river (Canal) and through the snow to Sagamore Beach we go!

This video, of Sagamore Beach, may be better if you have heavy bass capabilities on your computer.

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This is pretty heavy for Sagamore Beach, however…
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You will notice that I bravely leaned out of my car window to get these shots.
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I got out of the car for this shot, but I was on an eight story hill….  White Cliffs, Cedarville, Plymouth.
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They coulda put that sh*t up straight, huh? Oh wait, it’s our crappy photographer.
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Technically, it is Plymouth, I did check for surf, and stayed true to the mission statement of the article. This is Island Pond, in Cedarville. No surf to speak of.
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My man Boo doesn’t worry much about the snow. I took 50000 shots of my old border collie (the imitable Sloppy Dogg), and she never sat as still as Boo does.

Back to Sandwich in the final video, because I forgot to wedge this video into the Sammich part of the article.

Blood Blue Super Moon Snow And Tides Coming…

Heck of a headline, huh? Bri Eggers or Eric Fisher or someone already said “Super Blue Blood Moon,” so I had to switch it up some… professional courtesy.

A “Supermoon” is when the moon is full during her perigree (closest approach to Earth). A “Blue Moon” is when you get two full moons in the same month. A “Blood Moon” is when there is a total lunar eclipse, which is also happening that day (Wednesday)… it gives the moon a reddish tint. You won’t be able to see the eclipse unless you are in Australia or Asia, but that matters little.

Supermoons are 25% of our full moons. Blue Moons happen with 3% of full moons. Blood moons happen with total lunar eclipses, I have no idea how often. The last Super-Blue-Blood Moon on Earth was in 1982, and the last one over North America was during the US Civil War. The next one is in 2019, I believe.

Lacking the total eclipse, it is really just a Super Blue Moon, and it will occur on Wednesday.

That’s just part of the fun. We will have some snow falling on SE Massachusetts on Tuesday. It won’t be a blockbuster, just 2-4″ on the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod. The rest of Massachusetts won’t get it as badly, since this storm should just be clipping us. A wobble in the track could alter totals either up or down, or even give us no snow at all.

There is also a chance of some coastal flooding. It should be minor, as this storm isn’t a powerhouse, but it is striking during the aforementioned Supermoon. The last Supermoon high tide a few weeks ago flooded out many coastal neighborhoods.

Again, this isn’t going to bury us under two feet of snow or anything, but it will strike during the morning and perhaps afternoon commute. It could be messy, especially along the coast.

We’ll be back with an update if need be.

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January Weather In Eastern Massachusetts

New England is one of those cold places in America. We get a bit spoiled in Cranberry County (SE Massachusetts), as our lows aren’t as low as they get further inland. We’re actually the balmy part of New England, which I doubt is of any great comfort to you.

New Englanders are logical, and we’d be quick to point out to someone who is suffering in our climate that many parts of America have it worse than we do with Old Man Winter. Everything from the Great Lakes west to the Rockies along our latitude is colder than we are, as our climate is influenced by the Gulf Stream. As cold as our air is right now, there is a touch of Florida to it that is saving us from the true Ice Bowl stuff.

Still, New Englanders sometimes forget that a lot of the country is comprised of states that are much warmer than we are. Any state which once had people picking cotton is warmer than us. Any state Mexicans sneak into is warmer than us. Any state where people surf, any state with a Disney park in it, any state with palm trees, any state with more than one NASCAR track… you guessed it, warmer than us.

Winter is officially when the axis of the Earth is tilting away from the sun in our hemisphere. Weathermen sometimes call winter the 3 months with the coldest temperatures. Other people go by length of day, vernal equinox dates, animal migrations, and a ton of other omens.

Winter brings the coldness. Cold is a subjective perception thing. Someone from New England might scoff at what someone from Georgia considers to be cold, while someone from Alaska might find the Yankee to be a bit of a wuss. The coldest temperature ever recorded reliably was above Lake Rostov in Antarctica, which clocked in at -128 Fahrenheit. That’s just about as cold as the polar ice caps of Mars, if you need a scale of reference.

Cold will happily kill you if you don’t protect yourself from it. Humans have an optimal operating temperature in the 90s. We’re not designed (fur, down, blubber) for colder conditions, and we only survive in places like New England or Finland because we’re crafty suckers who figure out stuff like fire and electricity. Without that, we’d be Peopsicles.

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How cold does it get around here?

Although it is not Cranberry County, Boston has extensive weather records. Boston is a bit north of Cranberry County, but it also has a more concrete-ish urban heat effect. They are generally just a bit colder than coastal Cranberry County, and warmer than inland Cranberry County.

The same basic logic applies to snowfall, with Boston getting the lesser snow of an East Falmouth rather than the heavier snowfall of an East Bridgewater.

I just happen to have the January weather records for Boston right here. This year and her frigid start are not included in these stats. They go back to 1920. Let’s roll through some fun facts, shall we?

– January is the coldest month, with an average high/low temperature range of 36/22. Second coldest? February, follwed by December, March, November, April, and October.

– Rolling through the lowest January temperatures, we get a -2 in 2011, a -7 in 2004, -4 in 1994, 1988 and 1981, and an ungodly -12 in 1957. For highs, we hit 69 degrees in 2007 and a lay-out-and-tan 72 degrees in 1950.

– Boston’s record for coldest high temperature in a January day is 7 degrees. It was -4 that night, so people were happy with the 7. However, the temperature never dropped below 55 degrees on a day in 1950.

– The state in January has an Average Daily High temperature range running from 21.9 degrees in the Berkshires to 29 in Boston to 31 on Martha’s Vineyard.

– The lowest temperature ever recorded in Massachusetts was -37 F, in Chester. Nominally warm states like Arizona, California, Missouri and Mayland have all had colder days than that. California also somehow owns the national snowfall event total record at like 20 feet or something.

– Cape Cod, the South Shore, Bristol County and Boston get, generally, about 2/3 the snow that Worcester gets.

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Average annual snowfall totals (days with at least .1″ of snow, and inches of snow per year) for towns in our area, through 2014:

Boston 22.4 days/43.6″

Boston is our standard, and we’ll lead off with it.

Chatham 11.7 days, 28.9″
Martha’s Vineyard, 9.7 days, 23.6″
Hyannis, 6.1 days, 15.6″

Chatham and Martha are further out into the ocean, and get clipped by storms more than closer-to-the-mainland Hyannis. The totals spike upward when we go to the mainland, although the South Coast is subject to the same Gulf Stream effect that Cape Cod is regarding to moderate temperatures.

Taunton, 10.3 days, 28.0″
New Bedford, 14.7 days, 33.2″
Wareham, 14.3 days, 36.1 inches
Plymouth, 13.1 days, 36.2″
Hingham, 25 days, 47.1″

Hingham’s totals illustrate how the snow is more regular as you move north. Plymouth, Taunton and Wareham (and even the Cape and Islands, once you stare at the numbers a lot) illustrate how, when they do get snow, they tend to get a lot of it. Plymouth gets rain half of the time when Hingham gets snow, but they get more than 2/3 of Hingham’s snow in that same time frame.

Blue Hill, 29.1 days, 62.7 inches
Lowell, 20.3 days, 51.9″
Amherst 16.6 days, 36.9″
East Brimfield, 23.1 days, 59.0″
Worcester, 31.7 days, 64.1″
Great Barington, 22.1 days, 61.0″
Worthington, 52.6 days, 79.7″
Ripton, 366 days, 1968″

Worcester, which is in the hills a bit, is used as the Central Massachusetts benchmark on most news programs. Blue Hill is a mountain, or what passes for a mountain in EMass. Amherst is in the Connecticut River Valley, which gets lower totals than, say, Great Barrington. I’m amazed that there is a need to differentiate between the eastern and western pats of Brimfield, but it probably matters a lot to Brimfieldians. Ripton is a fictional community, so I gave it fictional snowfall totals.

– Boston is the windiest of major US cities, with an average wind speed of 12.3 mph.

We’re windier than Chicago, the Windy City, which clocks 10.3 mph. Tornado-ridden Oklahoma City only gets 12.2 mph.

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January snowfall totals in Boston

2016, 9.5″

2015, 34.3″ (February was the backbreaker that year)

2014, 21.8″

2013, 4.8″

2012, 6.8″

2011, 38.3″

2010, 13.2″

2009 23.7″

2007, 1.0″

2005, 43.30″

1996 39.80″

1992, 0.40″

1986, 0.80

1978, 35.90 (that’s BEFORE the Blizzard, btw)

1957, 20.6″ (They also had a 72 degree day that month)

1945, 42.3″

1920, 24.8″

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Sea Ice From Cape Cod Bay

Rock Harbor Beach, Orleans MA, above…

We end up at the beach a lot in this profession, even in January after a deep freeze. Thusly, we stumble across enough sea ice to get a few pics.

Cape Cod Bay has been yielding a ton of sea ice, so we parked next to this shack and got out to see what there was to see.

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First stop. Orleans/Eastham area…
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A nice, ice-free harbor…
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Water washes onto the marsh, freezes… or sea ice washes ashore. Similar effect…
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I wasn’t really wearing the right shoes to trek out there, but 1) you can now stop wondering why they call it “Rock Harbor,” and 2) there are some small-car-sized pieces of ice out there.
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A lot of this ice was floating around Cape Cod Bay, then was washed ashore for us to gawk at. It goes away with a few warm days, as salt-water ice lacks staying power.
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My man has an eye on things… or the town has 1) a pterodactyl or 2) a Mothman or 3) a slightly-out-of-his-range Jersey Devil.
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Spooky tree award winner for today… I’d hate to walk under that sucker at night.
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May as well dip into the archives, this is Duxbury.
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Bourne, Cape Cod Canal
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If you tire of Sea Ice but still need to rhyme it with something, why not Tree Ice?

 

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We’ll finish with a nice, frosty marsh… Duxbury, facing Kingston.

Snowy, Treacherous AM Commute Wednesday

An overnight snowstorm will powder up Massachusetts for your morning commute on Wednesday.

This won’t be a blockbuster, although northwestern parts of interior Plymouth and Britsol Counties could get 6″ of snow. This will be a quick-hitting Alberta Clipper-type system.

Much like many areas of life, timing is everything. This storm will whiten us up overnight, and the snow will still be falling for your commute into work Wednesday morning. It should be through with us by lunchtime, but that isn’t going to help you much as you slog into Boston over a skating rink.

Snow will start in our coverage area (Plymouth and Bristol Counties, anyway) at 3 AM or so. At least WBZ has Cape Cod staying as snow until 6 or 7 AM, when the change to rain commences. The rain line pushes from Outer to Mid to Upper Cape Cod by 10 AM, stopping somewhere on an east/west axis around the central South Shore. The storm will end as rain for people south of that line.

Much of Plymouth County and Bristol County should see 3-6″ of snow. As you get closer to the coast, the totals will lower, from 1-3″ to Coating-1″. As you get closer to the Cape, you will see a turnover to rain. Cape Cod may be left with no snow at all, the South Coast may also get blanked and Plymouth (town) could be hit or miss.

Even the towns that get Nada will start off as snow, and it will be snowing for much of the morning commute. There is also a chance, that not everyone who I watched agreed on, that there could be a change back to snow as the storm pulls away from Massachusetts.

Either way, at least the AM and possibly the PM commute could be problematic. Plan accordingly.

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Here’s a Winter Weather Advisory from the good people at the NWS.

As for the pros….

WBZ… rain for the Cape, 1-3″ for southern/eastern Plymouth/Bristol Counties, 5-8″ for central and northern Plymouth/Bristol Counties.

WCVB… Cape Cod, Plymouth (town) and South Coast get blanked, interior Plymouth/Bristol get 2-4″.

WHDH… 3-6″, 8″ north and west of Route 495.

NECN… highest forecast totals for our region, 1-3″ for the Cape, 3-6″ for all of Plymouth and Bristol Counties.

Accuweather… I should add beforehand that Accuweather is always wildly conservative with snowfall total predictions….  Duxbury, about an inch…. Eastham, 1.1″…. Bourne, .9″…. New Beffuh, .7″, Halifax, 1.2″… Brockton 1.6″… Taunton, 1″…. Weymouth, 1.8″

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“It’s so cold in the D…”