Monday, December 14, 2015

Vermont Last Year: Tons of Snow. This Year, Not So Much

A year ago Sunday, about a foot and a half of heavy, wet snow buried my yard in St. Albans, Vermont.

Many of my shrubs were smushed under the weight of the cement-like slush.

Across much of Vermont, trees collaped across power lines, causing electrical outages that in some cases lasted for a week. (Somehow, the power stayed on at my house.)

This year, not so much as one snow flake has descended on my property in St. Albans, or almost everywhere in Vermont, for that matter during December

December could well be on pace to be the warmest on record, or close to it.

It hasn't been below freezing in at least five days, during a time of year when readings can easily go below zero, and normal lows are in the upper teens.

The grass in my yard is still partly green. I never did cut back my perennial cardinal flowers in early November, because they were still green. Now, they're actually rallying. I saw a couple dandelions blooming.

The photos in this post were taken in the same spot on my back yard exactly one year apart. Last year, on December 13 with the snow, this year with spring in December.

As you can see in the snow picture, the lilac bush on the left was smushed down to the ground by the heavy snow, but made a nice recovery. In this year's photo, there are still hints of greeen in the grass.

Things can reverse themselves abruptly, though. That 18 inches of snow on the ground last year in mid-December melted down in a thaw, and by the day after Christmas, there was no snow on the ground.

Thirteen days after I took the snow photograph, I raked that very area of lawn because I hadn't gotten to it during the fall. It was 50 degrees December 26 last year, and I found a bit of fresh lettuce in the garden in the background.

Who knows if this year will bring 18 inches of snow the day after Christmas? Current long range projections suggest continued warmth, but you never know. The other shoe could drop and winter could blast its way in at any moment.

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