December’s snowy start is fairly normal

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(Host) December sure seems to have been a snowy month, especially compared to last year.

But as VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, the weather records show this is pretty normal.

(Sneyd) There’s snow on the ground throughout the region – and more on the way this weekend.

Weather observers around the state say the contrast to last year makes it seem even snowier than it’s been.

(Mackey) "There was a whole lot of bare ground. We even had green grass showing Christmas Day last year.”

(Host) That’s Gerald Mackey. He coordinates weather observers for the National Weather Service, and records conditions himself from his home in Saint Albans.

73-year-old Robert Boyce does the same thing from his home in Chelsea. He’s got about ten inches on the ground – including a fresh four-and-a-half inches this morning.

(Boyce) "This year, I don’t know. It’s been kind of back to old-fashioned winters here, I think. We’ve been getting a lot of snow this December compared to what we got last year.”

(Sneyd) Andy Nash is the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service office in Burlington.

He says the region has gotten so many small storms one right after the other that it feels like one of those epic winters that our grandparents talked about.

(Nash) "So last year was kind of an extreme on the lack of snow side, especially the first half of the winter. This year, we’re actually close to or a little above normal. But in a relative term it’s so much different than last year, it just makes it seem so much snowier when in fact it hasn’t been.”

(Sneyd) Tom Dumont takes weather readings at the state fish hatchery on Lake Dunmore in Salisbury.

He’s been keeping records for almost 15 years and he’s seen plenty of dramatic swings from one year to the next.

But Dumont doesn’t think that’s a sign of global warming so much as it’s part of the normal cycle.

(Dumont) "It always seems like to me that Mother Nature kind of evens things out when it’s all said and done, and I think the jury is still out.”

(Sneyd) The National Weather Service says its volunteer observers are likely to be busy again this weekend.

A classic Nor’easter is expected to blow in by Sunday morning. Winter weather warnings are already posted.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.

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