Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally
ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer -
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff
Sunday 01/29/2012 March-ing into February
I was out of state last week with family. I arrived home late Friday night in the dark after a 2 1/2 hour flight from sunny, and very warm, Florida. It was obvious even in the trip home from the Manchester airport that much of the snow we had a week ago was gone.
I awoke Saturday morning to find that winter has left the Suncook River from my view. Apparently by Thursday evening the 26th the Suncook River lost all its cover of ice during the rain event. It was just ten days before that I had witnessed the river covered by ice for the first time this winter. All be it more than a month later than norm. And I assumed it would stay that way for the balance of the winter. NOT! It looks way more like a spring river from my window. More like a March river not a January winter. Hence the March looking river going into February.
And it is not just the Suncook River that has taken on a March appearance, but so too have the nearby fields. The local corn fields are far more brown than white as well. Both Saturday and today's temps were into the 40's further eroding what little snow remains.
And just a few miles South of here there is even less snow by the Hooksett line and in a drive east to the coast today it was Northwood Ridge that separated the snow line to mostly bare ground. And there was not even a vestige of snow by the time we got to Durham.
And Great Bay and all the coastal rivers were totally ice free as well. I'm itching to get out on the ice for some winter fishing. A friend I talked to Saturday said he fell through ice on a small pond in Hooksett Thursday afternoon. He was up to his waist in water. Although a careful stare at the ice on Northwood Lake as I traveled by today showed pretty white ice with a couple of groups of fishermen out on it. But over in Greenland and North Hampton even the small farm ponds had not much ice, and certainly no safe ice. There will be no pond ice skating over that way this winter.
Here back at home I walked cross the road to take a picture of the snowmobile trail that crosses out of the field across from my house then passes by my house on the road edge and heads east to the old RR bed and then North. It too was virtually snow free. In fact there has not been a single snowmobile on this trail this winter! Now, this is a main trail that actually links southern NH to Canada. Imagine a winter with no snowmobile traffic. Most winters there are dozens of machines putting by my house most weekend days. Hard to believe we are headed into February without any snow. And how the local clubs have prepared the trail for this winter. I know they worked for days on the trail near my house. The snowmobile industry is a billion dollar business in NH. What crippling loss for these folks. And this snow drought is widespread. From reading John Harrigan's column in the Sunday paper it is the whole of the state that is nearly devoid of snow and certainly snowmobiles.
Our economy is taking a big hit from the lack of snow and ice. The hundreds of ice fishermen fishing Great Bay and the rivers are nonexistent as well. I talked to a major sport shop owner before I headed south who said the lack of ice had crippled that business weeks ago.
And this week temperatures are expected to be in the 40's as well. The snow forecast for a week to ten days doesn't offer much hope for more ice or snow. Less than an inch predicted here and at most three inches way up north. And how high that sun is getting. A spent some time mid day today outside soaking up the sun, listening to the breeze in the trees and just plain enjoying a spring-like day before my trip to the coast. We are sure experiencing another extreme weather pattern of snow droughts one winter intermixed with deep heavy wet snow and rain that collapses 100 year old buildings the next winter. Seems like we have had nearly a decade of this seesawing weather pattern. One year is just a little more bazaar than the last.
2012-01-16 It's "ice in" on the Suncook River in Epsom
2012-02-08 A 100 flag day and check, check, check that ice