Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The winter that refuses to quit
March 20, 2005 -- The official first day of spring

After the latest storm on March 12, the second of that week, Boston reportedly has reached 85 inches of accumulated snow this season. (Boston's all-time record seasonal snowfall is 103 inches.) Here on the North Shore, only some 20 miles to the north, we've received three feet more. According to The Boston Globe we've endured 121.9 inches of total snowfall -- an accumulated total of just over ten feet since the first storm on December 27.

It's hard to believe there's only a week, just seven days, before the vernal equinox -- more commonly known as spring, but you'd never know it hereabouts. During most of last week the thermometer barely crawled out of the teens, more than twenty degrees below the seasonal norm.

I'm going so stir-crazy from cabin fever that I've now got another four coats of fresh varnish on Chip Ahoy's tiller (after refinishing it with seven last winter) -- my only indoor project this winter! When I get done moving the fresh 6 inches of snow I'll be applying a fifth and hopefully final coat.

The Boston Herald  l  Sunday, March 13, 2004

The Storm of March 12, 2005
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The MetroWest Daily News  l  Sunday, March 13, 2005


The Boston Globe
Sunday, March 13, 2005

Winter's wrath shows no mercy
Storm turns roads into slippery mess

By Lindsay Crone, Globe Correspondent

''I'm used to the snow, but this is worse than I've seen in a long time.
It's just constant shoveling."

Call it the winter that was snow darn wet.

By yesterday afternoon, more than 85 inches of snow had fallen on Boston for the season, meteorologists said. The snowfall in Boston for an average winter is 41 inches, said Dan Leonard, forecaster for Weather Services International in Andover.

During yesterday's storm, as much as 4 inches of snow fell over metropolitan Boston by 5:30 p.m., according to Weather Service International's unofficial estimate.

Before the storm's end, the National Weather Service had predicted the storm would drop 4 to 6 inches in the Boston area, 6 to 12 inches northwest of Boston, and 5 to 8 inches to the southwest.

No snow is in today's forecast, and temperatures are expected to be in the low 40s. The respite may be brief, however, with a 30 percent chance of snow on Tuesday, said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton.

Yesterday's mix of rain, snow, and sleet made roads slippery.

Sergeant Scott Range, a Massachusetts State Police spokesman, said numerous spinout accidents caused by the snow occurred around the state, including the South Shore, the North Shore, the Worcester area, and the Berkshires.

There were no fatalities or serious injuries, Range said.

In Boston, more than 100 pieces of equipment were out on the roads at 3:30 p.m. and more were ready to go, said Rebecca Frisch, a spokeswoman for the office of Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

''Since there [had] been little accumulation in the city, mostly a slushy buildup, the Public Works Department [was] constantly sanding and salting the roads to keep them safe," said Frisch. ''Mayor Menino and the Public Works Department [were] constantly monitoring the storm."

The abundance of snow this winter season perturbed some local residents.

''I'm used to the snow, but this is worse than I've seen in a long time," said Chris Wight of Dorchester. ''It's just constant shoveling."

Many people complained of parking troubles, shoveling, car troubles, and the amount of time it takes to clear the roads.

''It's messy and annoying when you're a commuter without a car," said Tarijsha Janey of Boston. ''It's March, and it's overwhelming."

The Eagle-Tribune
Lawrence, Mass.
Sunday, March 13, 2005

Winter '05 breaks into the top five
By Andy Kosow and Charlie Russo, Staff writers

Boston received less than 2 inches of snow in yesterday's storm, but it was enough to vault the winter of 2004-05 into fourth place on the list of record snowfall totals. It's a record most winter-weary residents will likely not be celebrating.

"It's ridiculous, enough already," said Doug Brooks, who stopped for gas on Route 114 on his way to Boston. "I am a New Englander, but I am getting a little tired of shoveling and scraping."

Brooks wasn't alone. Road crews around the Merrimack Valley were out in force -- pushing, scraping, salting -- as they have been so many times this winter.

"Everybody has had enough," said John Cyr of the North Andover Department of Public Works.

Although more than 8 inches fell in some parts of the Merrimack Valley, the temperature remained in the 30s and the road surfaces stayed warm, making cleanup easier for plow operators.

"We might have gotten 8 inches, but as soon as it hit the road, it melted ... because it was warm," Cyr said. "We just pushed 3 inches of slush off the road." ...

The snow was a little heavier than normal, but nothing unusual, according to Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton.

"It was one of the warmer storms we have had, with temperatures around 32 degrees," Dunham said.

And while Boston was spared for the most part, with an official snowfall of just 1.7 inches, it was enough to move the winter up from sixth to fourth place on the top 10 snowfalls list.

Boston's record snowfall is 107 inches, set in 1995-96. This year's total stands at 85 inches, just one-tenth of an inch less than the infamous winter of 1977-78. If the remainder of the winter maintains the snowfall pattern to date, it appears almost certain that more records are yet to be broken.

But Dunham isn't making any long-range forecasts.

The storm was winding down around 10 p.m. and Dunham said today should be a "pretty day," with clear skies and temperatures around 30 degrees.

Looking ahead, Dunham said there is a 30 percent chance for snow Friday, but he wouldn't speculate on how the rest of the winter will go.

"The way this winter has gone, I wouldn't even hazard a guess," he said.

The vernal equinox has arrived ... but has spring?
The Boston Globe
North edition

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Yes, Virginia, there is a spring;
Some find it too good to be true

By Steven Rosenberg, Globe Staff

Spring arrives today, but few are predicting a swift end to one the snowiest winters on the North Shore in recent memory. Arthur Francis, a retired meteorologist who teaches at Salem State College, has recorded 121.9 inches of snow in Salem since November and thinks it's hard to determine when the snow will stop. "There's a possibility that we could get a couple of storms by the time April comes by," he said. As March winds down, the signs of spring are still elusive. Piles of snow are topped with mud, crushed asphalt, and other debris; strips of grass resemble patches of rust; those who venture onto the beach still wear parkas and down vests.


The Boston Globe
Sunday, March 20, 2005

It's here

THE LAWS of astronomy turned winter into spring at 7:33 this morning, but astronomy doesn't hold much sway over the New England climate. So a person must see this passage in the verdant mindscape of the imagination, rising above the obvious by looking ahead to the inevitable.

It is cold, yes. There is snow on the unyielding ground. The prospect of raw rain, possibly mixed with sleet and flakes, blighted the weekend forecasts. But a person can still stand taller in the thermal boots knowing that the vernal equinox has spoken with the moral imperative of seasonal certainty -- there's only one way to go from here, and it's up.

The path may not be direct. Snowstorms have come in late March, and in April, and even in May. Bill Simpson at the National Weather Service in Taunton sees what may be "a chance of winter's return at the end of the month," but said he did not want to be cast as the heavy when people are desperate for a crocus. "A chance," he emphasizes in a phone interview, adding that the rest of this week would be pretty much no big deal -- normal March with highs in the 40s.

He adds that a little setback here or there on the way to warmth means that "when it comes, it'll be that much better."

Today a person knows the good stuff is coming in a way that he or she did not know it a few weeks ago. The season of renewal has moved from the nearly unreachable shelf of winter longings down into the itchy-palmed present. Spring is now, and the reality sharpens the senses no matter how tenuous the weather.

A person might want to stand out on the porch, however briefly, and sniff the air, which may seem fresher and hold a hint of growth. The pussy willows are in the stores, after all, as are the daffodils -- and one small bouquet can ignite an entire flower garden in the mind's eye.

The New England Flower Show, which ends today, can do even better, driving one into sensory overload with the smells and sounds of summer. Coming home inspired by seed packets, books, and lists, a person might not even notice the dirty gray snow piles lining the roadway.

The bird song will seem louder today, prompting images of hummingbirds, goldfinches, and orioles in full bright plumage at a birdbath not encrusted with ice. The vision will include tiny beaks, open wide as they poke up out of nests waiting for food. That vision is fueled by word that New York's celebrated red-tailed hawks -- Pale Male and Lola -- have eggs in their rebuilt nest under a cornice of a Fifth Avenue co-op building.

Ah, spring. It is here. It is real. The evening sky grows brighter. The soul grows lighter. Thank you, Copernicus.