Pat Shingleton: "A Snow Story, or 2"
The Mayor of Boston announced Tuesday that a 75 foot pile-of-snow, from last Winter, has finally melted. This mountain of snow was removed from Boston's streets and roads following the cities record accumulations in January and February. Where Boston had a lot, Alaska didn't have enough. The Bulletin of the the American Meteorological Society reports that for the second time in its 42-year history, the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was forced to change course. On some trail locations, the lack of snow caused dangerous sledding, with many spots displaying bare ground. Each year the course alternates between Willow and Fairbanks, Alaska, and the last time the location was disrupted because of "no-snow" was 2003. The Willow route is 19 miles shorter than it typically would have been in an odd-numbered year. Course officials made the determination after observing the course from airplanes and helicopters. Sections of the trail also had exposed boulders and rocks that hadn't been identified in more than 20 years. Dog mushers also checked the trail conditions and even talked to their dogs. (I put that in there to determine if you were still reading.) Without snow, these dogs, like most dogs, become distracted with outdoor objects. The race is always scheduled for March 7th when snow depths are traditionally high. Anchorage normally averages 50 inches of snow but only 20 had fallen. The race should have been held in Boston where 90 inches of snow had fallen.