October is usually the month when the season’s first snow falls. So the 2017/2018 snow season is off to the races – two or three inches so far at mid-afternoon on this 9th day of the month, and it is still snowing (the photos accompanying this post were taken this morning along the Tower Trail, about an hour after the rain turned into snow). Not since 2013 has the park seen any measurable October snow, when a total of 7″ fell. It’s nice to see that stretch of snowless Octobers come to an end.
Looking back over the past few decades of precipitation records, October’s snow totals can vary quite a bit, and sometimes it can snow a whole lot! In 2009, October saw a whopping 30.3″ of snow; 1976 saw 28″, and 1997 brought 25″ of white stuff.
It does beg the question: Does a snowy October portend a snowy winter? Well, looking back at those three snowy Octobers, both the 09/10 and 97/98 winters were well above average. In fact, the 97/98 winter was the snowiest in the last four decades, when 209.5″ of snow whitened the Beulah landscape. Slightly less than the seasonal average of 118″ fell over the 76/77 snow season. So, will the 2017/2018 snow season be a heavy one? Well, if today’s snow can be followed by some good pre-Halloween snows, it just might!
The snow continues to fall as the afternoon wears on. I can just hear my cross country skis out in the shed, trembling with excitement! Maybe this will be a winter with lots of good skiing and snowshoeing in the Mountain Park. Come on snow!
~ Ranger Dave