Temperatures in central Vermont have been hovering right around freezing for the last couple of days as a series of storms passes through. First, the forecast called for mostly snow, then for mostly rain. As it turned out, a weather 'compromise' emerged for the Montpelier area. Most areas of the state picked up mostly rain, but cold air trapped between the mountains meant Montpelier is picking up snow a bit faster than the rain can melt it.
That's about the deepest it got - maybe 4 or 5 inches in favored areas. It wasn't enough to ski in, but it was enough to revive one of my favorite silly winter traditions - the Snow Monster.
The Snow Monster started in Middlebury as a pile of snow that slid off a roof onto another pile of shoveled snow. It survived the entire snowy winter of two years ago, and acquired arms and facial features for a while.
It suffered through thaws but survived into March and perhaps April (I did not document its final demise).
Last year I created a new Snow Monster, in East Middlebury. The winter was very mild, so the snow monster died and was reincarnated several times.
Here's this year's snow monster:
It's already as big as last year's snow monster... but since we now live in Montpelier, it may not be a fair comparison. Montpelier averages about a foot and a half more snow each year than the Champlain Valley, and more importantly, it is colder - while overall average temperatures are only about two degrees colder, this two degrees largely represents the fact that thaws borne on south winds have a hard time making it into the central part of Vermont. They funnel right up the Champlain Valley, which is also moderated by lake temperatures until/unless the lake freezes.
So the snow monster has been reborn, and is now battling the rain. It is on the shaded north side of the house, mostly away from rooftop drip. Today's rain has been very cold and the snow is mostly intact. The snow monster may increase in size tonight if the rain turns to snow (it is already mixing with sleet at the airport nearby). This Friday it may face a larger risk at the hands of a strong storm that will probably contain a fair bit of heavy rain at its core. But, if it starts and ends as snow like this storm did, the snow monster will probably face little threat.
We'll see! If the snow monster makes it through this week, I think I have a good chance of keeping it alive through most of the winter.