After a fine evening last night carving pumpkins with my wife while watching the brilliant Boris Karloff in one of my favorite movies of all time, the 1931 Universal Monster classic, “Frankenstein”, I awoke this morning to ironic news reports of the NOAA dubbed “Franken-storm” that will likely be hitting the East Coast this coming week (aka Hurricane Sandy). If your imagination conjured up satellite images of a green hurricane featuring neck bolts and big boots too, don’t forget that the doctor played by Colin Clive is actually Frankenstein, not the monster (or “the creature” as Boris Karloff liked to call his character).
But let’s not forget that these storms are serious business. We are closely monitoring the storm’s track and have already begun preparations at Monadnock. Like we saw in Hurricane Irene last year, Monadnock’s trails could be closed during the storm and may need to remain closed for a day or two for staff to complete a post-storm evaluation. Whether the mountain’s trails and campground are officially closed or not, it would be wise to not plan for a hike anywhere Monday-Wednesday, at least. The most up-to-date information on trail closures and conditions can always be found by calling Monadnock State Park directly at 603-532-8862 as long as the phone line doesn’t give out.
There may still be an opportunity to enjoy Monadnock before Sandy arrives. The forecasts are calling for a slight chance of rain on Saturday, but hikers arriving early may be able to enjoy at least an overcast, but dry and fairly warm hike. Clouds and an increased chance of rain in the Monadnock Region are in store for Sunday and Sandy will be here likely by Monday. It is a slow moving storm that seems like it will be hanging around for most of next week.
Currently, the trails are mostly dry and many are covered in fallen leaves. Hikers should be arriving with layers and using extra care with their footing on the trails. Monadnock Mountain Patrol Staff engaged in and responded to two more involved rescues this past weekend.
This Date in Monadnock History:
While some of the talk and news of this current hurricane is reminiscent of last year’s August storm by the name of Irene, I am also reminded we had different type of weather event at this time last year on Grand Monadnock.
Coming off the heels of an early winter snowstorm that dropped nearly 6” of snow on Mt. Monadnock (the first snowfall of the year) on October 27th, a storm of historic magnitude blanketed the Northeast with additional heavy snow on October 29th, 2011. The snowstorm ranged from West Virginia to Maine, left 3 million people without power, and was blamed for 13 deaths. The National Weather Service stated that 31.4” of snow fell in Jaffrey. 22” was reported in Concord, NH. Snowdrifts in the upper portions of Mt. Monadnock were as deep as 6 feet. Warmer seasonal temperatures followed for the next two weeks, reaching into the mid 60’s on some days, and causing a swift melt off. Most of the snow had dissipated by Veterans’ Day, 11/11/11. An unusually dry and mild winter would follow with record setting lack of snow and one of the warmest (above seasonal averages) months on record in March.
“There is a sumptuous variety about the New England weather that compels a stranger’s admiration- and regret.”- Mark Twain
On a side note, it was the exact same date, October 16th, in 2009 and 2010 that Mt. Monadnock recveived its first measurable snowfall. We’re well past that date now and it looks like we’ll have to wait until at least November to see any snow here.
By all of this talk of snow, you can tell what a Monadnock Manager looks forward to in the midst of foliage season. Perhaps Mike Pelchat at Mount Washington State Park can help us out; he seems to get snow every October…and most every other month of the year too! Speaking of which, check out Mike’s recent photos at Mount Washington State Park shared on the NH State Parks Facebook account. It will get you excited for winter!
But hey, first thing is first: let’s get through this potential Hurricane. We’ll check in again next week once Sandy is gone and will let you know how Mt. Monadnock fared. Good luck and be well.