A tip of the cap here to my esteemed editor, Robert Long, for pointing out this Tweet today by the National Weather Service’s Gray office:
See that? Zero. Zeeee-roooo.
There was definitely a time within the last few weeks during which I wasn’t sure I’d ever in my lifetime see grass again in person, much less a warm temperature. As the National Weather Service explains in less than 140 characters above, this is the first time the snow cover has been down at zero since early December.
While it’s premature to say this means we’re in the clear, and we’ll all be on the beach in cabana wear sipping Mai Tais in no time, the optimist in me thinks maybe we’ve gotten enough distance from winter’s worst to take inventory of the season that was.
The weather service says we endured the seventh longest stretch ever with snow on the ground, and here’s the chart the service Tweeted to illustrate that:
I wrote about the possibility of this being a record-breaking year in terms of snow way back in early January (I used the one-inch-of-snow threshold for my calculations, though, whereas this weather service list allows even thinner snow covers to count).
To be fair, our “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” jubilation about the dispersal of winter weather should be tempered in part by The Farmer’s Almanac’s prediction of another wet snowstorm somewhere in the ballpark of April 16-19.
But in the meantime, take a glance at that winter postmortem list above. What strikes me is that the next most recent winter in the bunch was 1978-79, with the snow lifting a little more than four months before I was born.
That was also about 35 years ago, meaning we’ve waited much longer for a Top 10 snow season than anybody has in generations. With the exception of a 26-year stretch between the No. 4 winter of 1944 and the No. 2 winter of 1970, all the other seasons on the list came within a decade or so of one another.
Somebody born at the end of World War II would have seen four Top 10 snow seasons by the time he or she turned 35, and not another one until he or she turned 70. Meanwhile, I’m about to turn 35 and I’m just getting over my very first Top 10 season.
And frankly, I’ll be fine if I don’t see another one until I turn 70, too.