This will likely be known as the winter that wasn’t. No snow. No ice. No storms. Not even any really cold air. And face it, without any of that stuff, is it even winter? The calendar may say so, but the weather is not proving it.
The sled dog races in Laconia were cancelled for lack of snow. The chairman of the 33rd Annual Great Rotary Fishing Derby looked out at the open water on Meredith Bay and said, “It’s a nightmare.” The mild winter has made it unsafe for the hundreds of bobhouses, trucks, snowmobiles, and vendors that usually clutter the bay. The derby normally draws five thousand fishermen and just as many spectators. But in photos taken recently by the New Hampshire Civil Air Patrol, it showed open water, cracked ice, and rivers that cut through the frozen parts of Winnipesaukee: conditions common at the end of March, not the middle of February.
In general at least 6″ of hard ice is needed to support one person on foot, and 8 to 10″ of hard ice is needed for a for snow machine, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
The mild weather has also had an unexpected downside for the resident gardener. That spring panic that normally hits in April? You know, when you can’t seem to finish any one project because they all beckon? The overwhelming desire to plant something? It’s here now, in February.
Yesterday I noticed sap buckets on trees along North Main Street in Wolfeboro – this is the earliest I’ve seen them. With sap running this early, can spring be far behind? March can be fickle. Though I am happy that my heating bill is relatively low and my snow shovel has gone mostly unused, I still feel a little cheated out of a good old-fashioned winter. The few inches of snow we got overnight did little to dampen thoughts of spring.
Now … where did I put those seed packets?