Pat Shingleton: "The Avalanche and... the Blizzard Hall of Fame..."
Ski resorts from British Columbia to Utah and Colorado are currently monitoring avalanche consequences. There are two classifications of avalanches: loose snow and slab. Loose snow avalanches are fairly minor and form when powder snow falls on mountain peaks and cascades down the slopes. This type of avalanche rarely causes casualties however slab avalanches are deadly. Slab avalanches can transport trees, rocks and other debris on their journey down the slope. Temperature changes alternate the sequences of freezing and thawing within the snow pack. This process also strengthens the snow pack during these periods of melting. Avalanches can occur at any time and are more numerous in spring when the entire structure releases from the slab. Acts of God, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, compiled a list of events that were placed into The Blizzard Hall of Fame. On December 26, 1778, nine German mercenaries froze at their posts in Newport, Rhode Island that later became known as the Hessian Storm. As it struck southern New England, fifty people died in subzero temperatures that included an 18-inch snowfall. Offshore gales, associated with the storm, beached 28 vessels on Staten Island. The Blizzard Hall of Fame also recognized an event on December 26, 1947, when one of New York’s deepest snowfalls put 27 inches of new snow on the ground in Central Park in 24 hours. Twenty seven people died from the storm and snow removal costs rocketed to $8 million.