Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Everlasting Snow Still On The Ground In Buffalo, New York In July

This afternoon, the temperature reached a steamy 90 degrees in Buffalo, New York.

That belies the city's exaggerated reputation as a snowy icebox except for this. In one vacant lot in the city, you could still find snow today. A fair amount of it, in fact.

Last November, Buffalo was slammed by an epic lake effect snow storm. 

Up to seven feet of snow fell in just a few days in parts of the Buffalo region, and of course, it's hard to figure out what to do with that much snow.
Wanna cool off on a hot summer day? Head
 to Buffalo to enjoy the remains of their immense snow pile
left over from last November.  

A lot of it was transported by the city off the streets to an abandoned lots. Up to 11,000 truckloads of snow ended up there. The piles were as high as the light poles.

A pile of snow that big takes a while to melt. A long while. In fact, some of it is still there, television station WKBN reports in a dispatch that has been picked up by the media across the nation.

As of this week, one of the leftover piles is about the size of two school buses parked end to end, and another pile is a bit smaller.  The larger pile is still about ten feet tall.

A layer of dirt covers the snow. It was picked up with the snow plows when it was being cleared from Buffalo streets in November. As the now melted, the dirt became more concentrated, and became a pretty thick layer on top of the snow.

That's insulating the snow from the summer warmth, so the snow is only melting very slowly. There's even grass growing on top of the dirt that covers the snow. So the snow pile in Buffalo is sort of a mini-Arctic permafrost.

New York State Climatologist Mark Wysocki said if there's enough dirt to insulate the snow, some could still be there when the snow starts flying again this coming late autumn.

I'm sure the fine residents of Buffalo, New York are just thrilled by the prospect of year-round snow.

The snow is slowly melting, mostly from the bottom. The dirt on top is insulating the snow from above, but the warmth in the ground spreads under the pile, melting it from the bottom.

Buffalo isn't the only city that had summer snow this year. Boston had its epic snows in January and February. 

After record snows hit Boston, crews removing the snow from city streets created a pile 75 feet tall. The last of that snow didn't finish melting away until mid-July.

Here's a time lapse of the snow pile in Boston melting through the spring and early summer. The video has a helpful red line on the image to show where the pile started at as it began to melt:

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