Winter here on Roundtop is running about average for temperatures. Actually, it’s a few degree days above average at the moment but as close to the actual average as it is running, a few colder days is about all it needs to peg it back to the average line. What is not average is the amount of snow fall I’ve had. Or, to put it more accurately, the amount of snow fall I haven’t had.
The snow fall amount is less than a third of what I should have seen by this time. Some of the difference is that early in the season I had several ice storms. but even if they had all been snow, they wouldn’t have improved the snow total all that much. In other words, it’s been a really dry winter.
That became quite evident to me this morning as I crunched my way across the remains of last fall’s leaves to take a photo this morning. In case you are wondering, it was either 12 or 14 degrees at the cabin this morning, depending on which thermometer I’m believing at the moment. It was so dry that even with this rather low temperature, I saw no frost.
All in all, the morning is as lovely as this photo looks. For once the wind isn’t roaring or howling or even whispering. The morning is still and calm and when I was standing in the sun, it didn’t feel very cold at all.
The dryness I’m seeing now could lead to big problems this summer. Snow is a great way for precipitation to fall. It covers everything. It melts more or less evenly and soaks into the ground. Rain, of course, often runs off more than it soaks in. So in the overall scheme of things, snow and the eventual snow melt does more to water the forest as a whole than rain often does. So when I don’t have much snow, well, let’s just say I’m already thinking ahead to summer and how that might impact the forest around me, not to mention my well. Oh, there’s still time yet for snow, and a good spring with some gentle soaking rains would do a lot to help, but this lack is already something to keep an eye on and be aware of for the months ahead.