Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Has Provincetown Turned That Cold, Snowy Corner Toward Spring?

Bike trails and footpaths abound in Provincetown, made even lovelier by
the snow, and even the extreme cold and snow can't keep us indoors for long.
With Provincetown's recent average daily high temperatures running around 10 to 15 degrees cooler than usual for about the last 100 years or so, folks are taking advantage of any day where the mercury rises above freezing. Even with snow still on the ground in the shady spots, people are watching for any slightly warmer days to get themselves outdoors to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us here. And with city temperatures being even chillier than ours, PTown has seen a few visitors join us for a little recreation recently.
While the rest of the world is having record warm temperatures, the midwest and the eastern United States have had consistently cold weather this winter, with many areas averaging temperatures 20 degrees lower than normal. While on average in recent years the US has had a blizzard every winter, this year there were three. Tremendous amounts of snowfall coupled with extreme cold ran out the nation's supply of rock salt, and the manufacturers couldn't supply enough to keep up with the demand. The DPW did a remarkable job of keeping our roads navigable, and we really didn't have much trouble getting around town by car or on foot, despite the ice and snow that took its time melting in the frigid temperatures we endured. During our last storm there wasn't a single pound of rock salt or ice melter on the shelves in any hardware outlet, convenience store or neighborhood market in town, but none the less we still managed to traverse our frozen sidewalks and stairways, although a bit more slowly and carefully than usual.
Ice melter has been a precious commodity recently, doled out judiciously.
Of course, all of the banks were closed on Presidents Day, but people still had to get to the cash machines to make deposits and withdrawals. I looked on as the woman from the bank worked to shovel away all the snow she could, and then very carefully she sprinkled a tiny bit of the precious ice melter to break up the icy layer she couldn't chip away.
Despite all of our struggles, we've had a winter that turned out a bit milder than predicted, with some major storms shifting or breaking up a little as they rolled over us, dropping a bit less snow than we were constantly being threatened with. All in all, we've made our way through the winter pretty well once again, and now look forward to the month of March, when average daily temperatures typically rise about two degrees per week. But even though the average high over the years for the first week of March has been 41 degrees, and our highs this week range only from the low 20s to the mid 30s, it looks like we're done with the 14 degree overnight lows we've been having. We'll start to gain that degree or two each week, and soon the snow we've been slogging through will be gone from even the shady spots in the trails, and shirtsleeve weather in Provincetown will have returned once again.
By the way, today's predicted high is 28 degrees, well below the average high of 41, with a forecast of 25 for the low and perhaps a bit of snow, but the record temperatures for March 4th in Provincetown came in 1965, with its high of 62, and in 1968, with 13 degrees being the low temperature that day.

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