The winds of change blew through the coastal Mid-Atlantic region turning 60 degree temperatures and rain on Thursday into a fleeting winter wonderland come Friday. The predawn hours saw a changeover to snow from west to east as an over-performing coastal low pressure developed along a stalled cold front just off the coast. While there were hints of this possible outcome, a mid-week fade from the models coupled with unseasonably warm temperatures sent this system to the farthest reaches of public consciousness. A trend to a northwest solution began in earnest on Wednesday and didn’t look back until widespread 3″–6″ fell upon an unsuspecting region. As as the alarms sounded many questioned whether 60 degrees and soaking wet ground could create an accumulating snow solution some 18 hours later? In hindsight such skepticism was put to bed.
For my entire life I’ve watched the weather in awe. Captivated not just by its patterns and trends, but by its consistent penchant to surprise. There are no sure things in weather, and given a large enough sample size over a long enough period of time, and you’re bound to observe rare, if not entirely unique occurrences. In this case not only did the snow show up with much surprise and in the face of doubt, it also disappeared nearly as fast as it came. While making photos out in the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area just after the snow had stopped the great thaw had begun immediately. A snow melt the likes of which I had never seen. With sun-kissed energy pine boughs began shedding their load as temperatures rose and some wind worked through to ease their weighted burden. Steady streams of snow, water, and ice were melting away at a rate I’ve never before witnessed. It was as if the Pinelands were insistent upon forging forward to spring in the blink of an eye. Despite clear skies working in, the forest looked and sounded as though a robust summer downpour was working through the thicket. You could watch and hear the earth take its snow back in real time. A symphony for the senses.
Of course the immediacy of the melt brought on some needed expediency for making photographs. Matters were made a bit more tricky as softball sized snowballs were dive bombing the ground both readily and at random from the canopy. My camera and I took a few good hits before the lens and body were too overwhelmed with water, giving me just enough time to make this photograph and a few others. A brief moment in time captured before any remnant of our latest weather event fell into obscurity. A ghost storm if there ever was one.
Oh, and there are a few storm signals looming to start next week. For now, we track.
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