As a matter of fact, cold temperatures hit for a brief time last weekend, allowing snowmaking efforts to crank up at local ski areas, including Mount Snow and Haystack Mountain. With that hint of winter weather, many folks around the valley began hoping for a good winter.
While in some parts of the world a “good winter” might mean warm weather and little or no snow, around here it means just the opposite. Warm weather and little or no snow is not a good winter for a region that has an economy that is dependent on winter tourism. Which is exactly what the bulk of the economy here in the Deerfield Valley is based upon. So to have that cold weather and to see the strips of white beginning to cover the trails at local resorts is good news for many in the valley.
Most folks around here welcome snow and cold weather, as long as there’s not an excessive amount of it. Consistently cold weather would be great. Temperatures don’t have to be -15 or -20 for any length of time, but consistently cold weather of 15 to 25 degrees from Thanksgiving to March would be a blessing.
Another blessing would be for measurable snowfall to cover the ground and take advantage of that consistently cold weather.
While it’s extremely early to say just how the coming winter is going to play out, there is hope. Numerous prognosticating sources, including the National Weather Service, are calling for a relatively normal winter here in the Northeast. According to AccuWeather, the weather service used by The Deerfield Valley News, we could be in for a “good” winter.
“I think the Northeast is going to see more than just a few, maybe several, systems in the course of the season,” AccuWeather long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok said.
According to Pastelok, frequent storms across the northeastern United States this winter may lead to an above-normal season for snowfall. Unlike last season, in which most of winter’s snowfall came from a few heavy-hitting storms, this winter will last into the early or middle part of spring and will feature frequent snowfalls. Overall, it’s predicted that the region will total a below-normal number of subzero days, though the temperature will average three to five degrees lower than last year.
“But still, Boston, Hartford, along the coastal areas up into Connecticut and southern New England, they can still have a fair amount of snow,” Pastelok said.
Less scientific prognosticators also say the winter will be a good one. The Old Farmer’s Almanac prediction for New England says “Winter will be colder than normal, on average, with slightly above-normal precipitation and near-normal snowfall. The coldest periods will be in mid- and late December, mid- and late January, mid-February, and early March. The snowiest periods will be in mid-November, late January, mid- and late February, and early to mid-March. April and May will be slightly cooler than normal, with above-normal rainfall.”
Of course, not every prediction comes true. A year ago the Almanac was also predicting a snowier-than-average winter, and we all know how that ended up. It was one of the driest, warmest winters of the past 50 years. Because of that poor winter, businesses that are reliant on the winter outdoor tourism economy felt the pinch financially, with reduced traffic through their doors. That led to less revenue and put a damper on much of the local economy.
But, hope springs eternal. Or perhaps we should say “hope falls eternal,” since we’re at the end of autumn and hoping for a bumper crop of snow this winter. As it is every year around this time, people are looking forward to some cold weather, some snow falling from the sky, and a bump in winter business.
If we sound a little overly optimistic, well, we are. The valley needs a shot in the arm, economically speaking, and nothing will provide a better shot than a blanket of white that lasts until Easter.
For winter lovers of all varieties, for businesses and their staff, there is no better time to break out a favorite snow dance and give Mother Nature a little prod. We need a “good winter.” Here’s hoping it comes soon and stays long.