Area sees first snow of season

by Steven Orbuch | 10/28/03 6:00am

Snow fell in Hanover for the first time this school year on Oct. 23. Although it did not accumulate, for many Dartmouth students, especially '07s from warmer climates, the precipitation came as a surprise.

Snowfall is fairly typical in upper New England at this time of the year, according to WCAX Burlington Meteorologist Sharon Meyer. "It is not uncommon to get our first snowfall in October," she said.

Meyer said she remembered it snowing in the New Hamphire-Vermont Region in early October 1987. She said there was a heavy, wet snowstorm the first week of October in the middle of the fall foliage season.

According to Meyer, the station predicts a typical season of snow for the New Hampshire-Vermont region -- about 80 inches of snowfall.

She also said it is too early to predict whether this winter will be particularly cold or not, but said that even if she were to have these predictions, they ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

"Long range forecasts are pretty tricky," she said. "They are nothing you want to bet your life on."

Nolan Atkins, an assistant professor of meteorology at Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vt. said he agreed with Meyer's assessment.

"Long term predictions need to be interpreted with caution," he said. "Sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong."

Atkins also said the recent snowfall was not abnormal for this time of the year because no snow accumulated.

"Climatologically, the area sees snow start staying on the ground in early December," he said.

Both Atkins and Meyer said that although it is no indication for the winter to come, last year seemed like a particularly long with winter.

Atkins said last year's winter felt long to many in the area because it was particularly cold in January and February. Meyer said people thought it was a long winter, not just because of the chilly weather but because snow began to stick to the ground in November.

Despite meteorologist's claims of normality, last week's snowfall shocked many Dartmouth 07s.

"It freaked me out that it is snowing already in October," Amie Sugarman '07 said. "I'm petrified for the winter now."

Sugarman said that before this year she considered her home of Long Island to be a relatively cold and gray climate.

"Now I think of Long Island as having a tropical climate as compared to here," Sugarman said.

Alex Martinez '07 of Mexico City expressed similar concerns. He said before Thursday, he had never seen snowfall in person.

"I'm now a little bit scared about what kind of weather the winter will bring," he said. "I definitely do not have the right kind of winter clothing to wear if the winter is as cold and snowy as people say it is going to be."

Unlike Sugarman and Martinez, many Dartmouth students said that they were actually enthused by the snowfall.

Josh Gajer '06, who is on a leave term in Washington DC, said that he was told over the phone that it recently snowed and is excited.

"I like snowboarding and cross country skiing," he said. "If it snows early and often, I will be able to do both activities when I return to campus and that's awesome."