Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

First snow accumulation in over a month hits western Massachusetts

Lindsey Davis/Collegian

As University of Massachusetts students had started to break out their spring coats and daffodils began to sprout, western Massachusetts experienced its first snow accumulation in over a month.

“Everything’s kind of out of whack,” said freshman chemical engineering major Jahson Hollett. “The other day it was, like, 45 degrees out. It was pretty nice, and now there’s a big snowstorm. It’s weird.”

Rick Sluben, a meteorologist at WGGB abc40, said that by the time classes are scheduled to begin today, the storm is expected to bring between four and eight inches of snow.

This will double the total amount of snowfall this winter in some parts of Massachusetts, he said. Boston, for instance, only had seven to eight inches of snow before yesterday’s storm, Sluben said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes down as the mildest New England winter in history,” said Sluben, who noted that there has only been a day or two when the temperature consistently stayed below freezing.

Last year at the time, Worcester had recorded between 75 and 80 inches of snow, according to Sluben.

“I guess [the snow] is not unusual in the sense that it is New England, so I guess it’s inevitable in that respect,” said senior accounting major Marc Freccero. “But in another aspect, it’s unusual in the sense that it is March … and it’s supposed to start getting nice and warmer and now it’s snowing.”

The strangely warm weather that western Massachusetts has experienced this year is a consequence of a weakening in the North Atlantic oscillation, a weather pattern that slows down storms before they head out to sea, said Sluben. Winter storms usually get trapped by the oscillation and turn into Nor’easters, but for some reason that has not been happening this season, according to Sluben.

“It’s been a very unusual four months,” Sluben said. “Very bizarre.”

When the snow started in the early afternoon yesterday, many students contemplated  what this would mean for their schedules.

“It kind of ruined my motivation to go to classes,” said junior economics major Sean Saxena.

Some classes were let out early yesterday afternoon due to concerns about the quality of the roads.

“My professor did let us out of class early,” said sophomore English and women’s studies major Stephanie Squire. “Because she wanted to go home and so did we, so that kind of helped me in theory, but walking around is always annoying in the snow.”

The snow has some people reminiscing about the October snowstorm that barreled through western Massachusetts dumping at least 10 inches of snow and causing widespread power outages.

“I think October was a lot worse because all the leaves were still on the trees and since the snow came down so heavy and dense, everything collapsed. So right now it’s not too bad,” said Squire.

Sluben expects the snow to be mostly gone by Saturday, as a rainstorm will be moving in that day and over the next few days temperatures are expected to shoot into the 50s. He does not predict any more snow in the next week.

Sarah Fonder contributed to this report. Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected].


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    alumMar 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    “ruined my motivation to go to class”
    ” walking around is always annoying in the snow”

    Sheesh – 4 inches of snow and the world comes to and end. Hey econ major – you do know you (or more likely your parents) are paying for you to be there. Go to class!