Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22
Sail #3282 l Marblehead, Massachusetts
Why I don't particularly hate Winter '07
February 18, 2007
On Feb. 8th I blinked first and had another
cord of wood delivered (I heat my house almost exclusively with
a wood stove; there's no heat whatsoever upstairs, where my
office, bedroom, and shower are located). The record-breaking
unseasonably warm January has passed and we're now into the
worst winter month of all -- Fearsome February.
With the "Montreal Express" roaring down from
the Arctic Circle, I was quickly running out of wood to burn out
on the racks, and the forecast was for things to get worse
before they get better.
We can't complain this year about snow.
So far there's been record little -- I have yet to pull out the
snowblower. But cold is another thing. For the past
two weeks the temperature has plummeted to low single digits
overnight; the wind's been blowing hard -- 30-40 mph -- creating
below-zero wind chill factors.
This week we dodged what was forecast to be a
serious snowstorm. That morning started out with heavy
snow but it soon turned to sleet, freezing rain by
mid-afternoon. Then the Arctic "Montreal Express" resumed and
overnight turned the slush into concrete ice, where it remains.
When I cleared off "Chip Ahoy" the next day, huge sheets of 4"
thick ice had to be removed from its stressed tarp -- loosen up
a 20-30 pound slab of ice and jump out of the
way when it cleared the lifelines beneath and came crashing
down! It actually took some of the tarp's blue surface
with it, no doubt making it less than waterproof now.
Wally Riddle's "skeleton
frame" fared much better than
thumbnails below for a larger picture
Whoops, starting to hate
Winter 'o7 more . . .
The Telegram & Gazette
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Winter gets its bite back
Coldest March weather in decades
By Bill Fortier
Yesterday was a typical mid-January
Except it was March 6.
Midafternoon snow squalls on Monday introduced the
coldest March weather in decades late Monday night
Winds gusting to 55 mph just before 4 a.m. yesterday
helped plunge the mercury to zero at 8 a.m., and at 4
p.m. the temperature at Worcester Regional Airport had
struggled to a mere 9 degrees — 30 degrees below the
average March 6 high temperature of 39, and 13 degrees
below the average low temperature of 22.
Last year on March 6, the high was 40 degrees and low
was 22 degrees.
Yesterday was an unusually cold March day, truly one
of the coldest on record.
Magaly Torrez spent yesterday working at the
drive-through window at Honey Dew Donuts on East Main
Street. She knew it was cold when she opened up the
window at 7 a.m.
“It’s really, really cold,” she said about 2 p.m.
yesterday, as she wrapped her arms around her torso.
Yet some people still got iced coffee, she said.
William Simpson, a meteorologist in Taunton for the
National Weather Service, said the high temperature
yesterday of 16 degrees was at midnight, breaking the
record low maximum temperature of 18 degrees for the
date, set in 1972.
The National Weather Service predicted a high of 8
degrees during the day yesterday, which was 2 degrees
below the record low maximum temperature of 10 degrees
for March, set on March 3, 1950.
“This would be a really cold day in mid-January,” Mr.
As of 2 p.m. yesterday, the only day this winter that
was as cold was Jan. 26, when the high hit only 8
degrees. The low that day was 3 below zero.
Some forecasters said that low could be beaten by the
time readers dash outside this morning to get today’s
The fierce wind added to the day’s harshness.
Mr. Simpson said he was especially impressed by a
2-minute span early yesterday, when the sustained wind
at the airport was 37 mph.
“That’s pretty good,” he said.
Jack Nassif, owner of Dudley Getty Motor and Auto Sales,
10 West Main St., Dudley, said he knows what it’s like
to pump gas on a day like yesterday.
“That’s why I’m in here, and my hat’s in here,” he said
from the station’s office. He watched his attendant, who
moved to the area from Brazil two years ago, pump gas as
customers rolled down their windows just far enough to
hand him their money.
Not everybody disliked yesterday’s conditions.
“I love it,” Jim Rafferty said as he stood in the
ineffective sun on Main Street in Webster about 1:30
p.m., drinking a coffee and smoking a cigarette.
“It’s winter. It’s cold,” he said with a shrug.
A man next to him identified himself only as Dave, and
said he was born in Webster, with some family members
living in Quebec, where he said it was probably “20 or
30 below zero.”
“It’s like summer to me,” he said of yesterday’s cold
Retired letter carrier Paul Bialoncik was walking around
the 1,302-foot track on the side of the road to Webster
Lake yesterday. He said he usually walks 45 minutes a
day, and wasn’t going to let the cold keep him inside.
“I dress for it. I dress in layers,” said Mr. Bialoncik,
who retired in 2004 after 30 years as a mailman.
Nevertheless, Mr. Bialoncik said, it felt like the
coldest day of the winter.
“It’s nasty,” he said, as a strong gust of wind brought
a tear to his left eye.
Mr. Bialoncik said his years as a letter carrier showed
him you never get used to days like yesterday.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for a
“warm-up” to about 20 today as a small storm system
brings some snow to the mid-Atlantic states.
As has been the case most of this winter, no snow is
expected here. The National Weather Service issued a
public information statement on Monday: 25.8 inches
of snow have fallen through the end of February, less
than half of what usually falls by then each winter.
Mr. Simpson said the storm will draw more frigid air to
southern New England tomorrow and tomorrow night, but it
most likely won’t be as uncomfortable as yesterday.
There might be some snow flurries, but probably no snow
squalls like Monday’s, he said.
The weekend forecast calls for temperatures to rise to
Mr. Simpson said he’s fairly confident it won’t be as
cold as yesterday until next winter.
“This is it,” he said.
After all, it is March, and the first day of spring is
two weeks away.