Monday, January 23, 2017

Powerful Nor'easter Hits Today, Coastal Concerns

A powerful nor'easter is sizing up New England, bringing the potential for heavy rain, high winds, power outages and very dangerous seas.

We'll let the National Weather Service tell you:

Monday Morning Briefing:

The coastal storm that we've been talking about for the past few days is set to arrive today. There is a lot to talk about, so here's a rundown of the potential hazards. Check out the images below for more information.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them here. We'll do our best to answer them as soon as we can.

Winter Weather: Today into Tuesday

- Mix of snow, sleet, and some freezing rain expected across much of western and central MA and northern CT.

- Higher accumulations (2-4") expected across higher terrain near Berkshires and northern Worcester County. There could be as much as 1" of sleet in some areas.

- Less icing is expected than was previously forecast (now under 1/4 inch).

Wind: Strongest Later This Afternoon and Tonight

- East winds gust as high as 60-70 mph along the immediate eastern Massachusetts coast including Cape Ann, coastal Plymouth County, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Block Island.

- Gusts of 40-50 mph expected elsewhere, except 30-40 mph in Franklin and Hampshire Counties.

- Strongest winds expected from late this afternoon into tonight, before winds subside quickly Tuesday morning.

Heavy Rain: This Evening into Tuesday Morning

- 1 to 3 inches of rain is expected, with the higher amounts in RI and eastern MA where locally higher amounts possible.

- Potential for significant urban flooding in RI and eastern MA, possibly flooding of small streams as well.

Coastal Flooding: This Evening and Tuesday Morning

- Pockets of minor coastal flooding expected along the eastern MA coast during this evening's high tide. A storm surge of around 2 ft is expected.

- More widespread minor coastal flooding is expected in the same areas with Tuesday morning's high tide, when there could also be pockets of moderate flooding. A storm surge of 3 to perhaps even 4 ft is expected.

- Most favored areas for moderate flooding include Newburyport, Scituate, and possibly Gloucester and Nantucket Harbor.

- Minor coastal flooding is also possible Tuesday morning along parts of the South Coast including Newport, Westerly, and Block Island. Coastal Flood Advisories may be issued for these locations later today.

Snow isn't expected anywhere in our reading area. This is good, because 3 inches of precipitation can crank out 2+ feet of snow very easily. Throw in several hours of tropical storm force winds, and we'd be using that B Word which rhymes with lizard.

Instead, we'll get soaking rains, howling winds and pounding surf. The storm should produce 2 fierce tides before the winds shift. Prior to what we previously thought, winds are now forecast to be from the NE at high tide on Tuesday morning, which is bad news for anyone owning a beach house.

Tides are astronomically low, but that will be cancelled out by the 2-4 foot surge. The end result is equal to the worst full moon high tide of any month. After that, it's just a question of how big the waves are when they hit the shore. You can use the math from the chart up at the top to see how the tides will be altered by the surge.

The winds may also take down some power lines, especially when you get closer to the coast. You can check the wind forecast for your area in the picture at the bottom of this article.

Some more NWS stuff. We're doing watches and warnings pertaining to Duxbury, just because...

High Wind Warning

Areal Flood Watch

Coastal Flood Advisory (Monday)

Coastal Flood Watch (Tuesday)

As for us, we plan to take to the road for this storm. The surf will be better on the Cape at the height of the storm, but it might be more practical for us to work the Irish Riviera, maybe Scituate to Plymouth to Sandwich. I may not see my own house for two days.

We'll post our pictures as we get them. Anyone who wishes to contribute can reach us through our Facebook page. We love reader submissions. You're probably a better photographer than ol' Steve here, so you'd have a good chance of taking the best picture used in the article.

We'll be back with an update.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

NFL Conference Championships Schedule, Betting Lines

1/22 3:05 ET At Atlanta -5.5 Green Bay 61    FOX

A 61 point over/under is ridiculous, indicative of a shootout. The funny part is that it may be conservative.

While Green Bay's defense does their level best, both teams are pretty much the easy whore of Mister Touchdown, and will give themselves to him all day. You could very well see more points than a Seurat painting.

That 61 points seems conservative, unless you are betting on Green Bay winning in a rout, 46-14 or something like that.

I don't think Atlanta is all that. I was amazed that they beat Seattle, who I am happy to see out of the playoffs. That was the only game I blew last week.

Thusly, I see Green Bay going way the hell up early, with Atlanta scoring enough to keep you from losing interest. However, the outcome will never be in doubt.

Green Bay, 38-24

1/22 6:40 ET At New England -6 Pittsburgh 50.5    CBS

There's a big nor'easter heading towards New England, which I wish would be a foot of snow but will probably be an inch of rain.

(Please note that the Weather Desk and the Sports Desk at Cranberry County Magazine sometimes disagree, and that the Weather Desk thinks that the rain will hold off until the ride home from Foxboro. However, there is a belief at both Desks that, if he really needs to, Bill Belichick can exert some influence on the weather.)

We also have our spies about, and they tell me that the flu/stomach bug is running wild in the Pittsburgh locker room. LeVeon Bell may indeed get 175 total yards, but still have an Uta Pippig ending.

Expect many ROG-ERRRR chants, as the NFL Commish is cowering in Georgia. He is going to hand us that trophy this year, and he's going to learn to like doing it.

Not having Gronkowski is tough, but I get the sense that the Pats are going all the way this year, and Pittsburgh is just the next clown out of the car.

New England, 27-24

Friday, January 20, 2017

Nor'easter Comin'

Hey there! We wanted to give you the early heads-up, as a powerful Nor'easter is targeting us for Monday and Tuesday.

AS FOR NOW, it looks like a rain event in SE Massachusetts. However, long-range forecasts have a way of changing. Our last blizzard started off as a forecast of "six inches of snow over two days" before evolving into the snow machine which eventually visited us.

This storm looks notable for three reasons:

RAIN.... We're looking at 1-3 inches of rain. .10" of rain is a good soaking, while 3" gets up near Tropical Storm territory. No one has said snow for our area, and I want to stress that before stating that- depending on how fluffy it is- 3" of rain would equate to a couple of feet of snow.

COASTAL FLOODING... Winds along the coast will approach 50 mph, more than enough to push an angry sea towards your beach house. One thing that you have going for you? Low astronomical tides. Duxbury Beach, where we hope to embed ourselves for the storm, has a piddling 9 foot tide lined up for Tuesday morning, as opposed to the 11.4 flood tide that they got during the new moon on the 12th. Tuesday morning looks to be the height of the storm, for now anyways.

LENGTH... This looks like one of those 3 tide storms, which is why relatively weak nor'easters often inflict damage similar to a more powerful tropical systems. The ocean always wins, and it generally wins by attrition. "Attrition" is one of those flighty terms, which can mean anything that a journalist needs it to, but the basic idea is that a series of strong tides will wear down a beach through erosion. I'm not 100% sure exactly how long this storm will drop NE winds on the coast, so some of those storm tides may have winds that don't help the waves directly towards the beach.

This is more of a Heads Up than a detailed forecast. We'll be back with an update as the storm gets closer.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Few Notes On Coach Silva

I'll start off by saying that I'm a Duxbury kid, and it's odd for me to argue for a Marshfield icon. My natural instinct is to encourage things that harm Marshfield's football team and help Duxbury's team. For the most part, their pain is my joy. Schadenfreude, as they say in Germany.

Forgive the German allusion, I'm having brain lock thinking of a prominent fired general who was perfectly competent... but this is very much how people in the American military must have felt when Hitler sacked Rommel. "Oh, Adolph made a big mistake there... that's his best general."

Coach Lou Silva isn't Rommel and Marshfield High School isn't the Wehrmacht (Edand Hitler never fired Rommel, instead demanding and getting his suicide) but the comparison works. From where I'm sitting, it looks like Marsh Vegas just sacked their best general.

What's worse, they did so without a better man in place. Or, since I saw Goldie Hawn coach football in a movie once, a better woman.

Marsh Vegas was always tough under Coach Silva. He went  236-144-7 as a head coach, and he brought 5 Super Bowls home to Marshfield. Winning five Super Bowls in the NFL guarantees you a first ballot, undisputed entrance into the NFL Hall Of Fame... and the NFL only has 32 teams. Coach Silva waded through a state with hundreds of high schools, and he brought multiple titles home.

Is there someone who can do that out there? They have one chance of getting a better coach than Pretty Lou Silva.... and that is the longshot bet that a second celebrity inexplicably becomes enamored with operating a small business in Marshfield, a la Steve Carell, or however he spells that. This celebrity would have to be a retired NFL or Div. 1 college coach, and he'd have to be in place by the spring practices.

Other than that, Marshfield just cut off their nose to spite their face. The next coach will be someone who teaches there, his teaching experience will make little/no difference in the player's lives through his coaching, and the team will be less well-run.

Silva retired as Athletic Director in 2014, so the bump-him-upstairs option isn't there.

I would say something along the lines of "I hope they go 0-10," but that just seems mean to the kids. I could say something like "Any Marshfield kids who can really, really play are welcome to transfer over to Duxbury High School," but that may be illegal... especially where I have run several Gambling columns in my life. DHS is an Ivy league factory, however... just sayin'.

I should add that Duxbury- another Grade A program with multiple Super Bowls- has been through at least five or six coaches since Marsh Vegas brought Coach Silva into the mix. Many a Thanksgiving saw Deluxebury serve as Lou Silva's punching bag, and he won his last squabble with us by 50+ points.

It would be fitting if the whole MHS team quit en masse, and instead showed up at Coach Silva's house on the date of MHS's first practice like "Hey coach, split us up, let's scrimmage."

Or Marshfield could do the right thing, admit that they made a mistake, and hire Coach Silva back.

While speculating on a man's demise is never nice, I don't feel badly at all saying that Silva should get the Bear Bryant treatment, i.e. "he is allowed to coach until he is a week from death."

Marshfield shouldn't need a Duxbury guy to tell them this... and yet it seems that they do.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Who Still Has Christmas Lights Up?

I do a lot of driving around, and it spawns many of my stories here. That is the case today, as we ponder when exactly it becomes strange that you still have the Christmas lights up.

I got these pictures in a 3 sq mile area of Plymouth and Bourne. I'm sure that this article could have 50 pictures if I felt like wasting a night plowing through Suburbia with my camera. I took every single picture after Martin Luther King Day.

Before we even discuss this, I want it on the record that I'm not making fun of these people. To the contrary, I admire them. They are holiday honey badgers... they go where they want to, and they don't give a uffffffff. When you and I have let go of Christmas 2016, they are still plugging in the lights for another night of 2017 holiday cheer.

We took a peek at who had the Christmas lights up early, and "prior to Veterans Day" seems to be the Mendoza Line for "when roaming journalists with nothing to write about might take notice of your property." Likewise, the holiday for Dr. King- a man of peace, who somehow still paid a soldier's debt- is a pretty good cutoff point for "that same journalist is now outside your house, aiming a camera."

Sorry about the blurry pics. I keep odd hours, much like a werewolf, and I'm a large and menacing person to see stopping his car in your yard and getting out. I'm actually a fun and goofy guy, but you won't know that when you see me doing my thing in your yard out of nowhere at 5 AM. Anyhow, I just snap-shotted this picture, hence the Blurry.

Even if you like a nice Veterans Day to Jesus Day to MLK Day light show, MLK Day was Monday. I'm publishing this on Wednesday. Leaving the lights up until Groundhog Day (and we're closer to that than we are to Christmas) makes it more likely that he sees his shadow, and having them up on Valentine's Day makes it more likely that you'll be sleeping on the couch.

Part of it is the holiday weekend. With an extra day off, you really should have created some time to get out there and yank the lights down. Your next holiday is President's Day, and that is some time away, player.

In case you're wondering, the Twelve Days Of Christmas are generally thought to begin with Christmas and end on January 5th. January 5th is also known as Tomorrow Minus Two Weeks. If you put the lights up during Veterans Day weekend and leave them up until a week from Friday, you'll have done the Twelve Weeks Of Christmas. I do have some votes for the Epiphany, which is January 8th.

Many people on Cape Cod and other coastal regions use string lights on their decks and porches all year, but this tends to be more secular and less holiday-driven. There are those who say that those lights are there to help beach-walkers find their way home, especially if they have been drinking.

Another secular thing claimed by Cape Cod are the Christmas-looking red and green exterior lights.... which are actually some sort of nautical thing telling you which way you're supposed to drive around a channel buoy or something.

One of my pictures comes from a construction company near the Cedarville Marylou's. The house picture is from Plymouth Road, in Bourne. I'll be watching each property, as they are on the coffee run route from my house. One of them is going to cave in first and take their Christmas lights down.

Nothing other than just who that will be interests me right now.

Monday, January 16, 2017

January Weather 'Round These Parts, Winter Weather Records

New England is one of those cold places. We get a bit spoiled in Cranberry County (SE Massachusetts), as our lows aren't as low as they get further inland. We're actually the balmy part of New England, which I doubt is of any great comfort to you.

New Englanders are logical, and we'd be quick to point out to someone who is suffering in our climate that many parts of America have it worse than we do with Old Man Winter. Everything from the Great Lakes west to the Rockies along our latitude is colder than we are, as our climate is influenced by the Gulf Stream. As cold as our air is right now, there is a touch of Florida to it that is saving us from the true Ice Bowl stuff.

Still, New Englanders sometimes forget that a lot of the country is comprised of states that are much warmer than we are. Any state which once had people picking cotton is warmer than us. Any state Mexicans sneak into is warmer than us. Any state where people surf, any state with a Disney park in it, any state with palm trees, any state with more than one NASCAR track... you guessed it, warmer than us.

Winter is officially when the axis of the Earth is tilting away from the sun in our hemisphere. Weathermen sometimes call winter the 3 months with the coldest temperatures. Other people go by length of day, vernal equinox dates, animal migrations, and a ton of other omens.

Winter brings the coldness. Cold is a subjective perception thing. Someone from New England might scoff at what someone from Georgia considers to be cold, while someone from Alaska might find the Yankee to be a bit of a wuss. The coldest temperature ever recorded reliably was above Lake Rostov in Antarctica, which clocked in at -128 Fahrenheit. That's just about as cold as the polar ice caps of Mars, if you need a scale of reference.

Cold will happily kill you if you don't protect yourself from it. Humans have an optimal operating temperature in the 90s. We're not designed (fur, down, blubber) for colder conditions, and we only survive in places like New England or Finland because we're crafty suckers who figure out stuff like fire and electricity. Without that, we'd be Peopsicles.

How cold does it get around here?

Although it is not Cranberry County, Boston has extensive weather records. Boston is a bit north of Cranberry County, but it also has a more concrete-ish urban heat effect. They are generally just a bit colder than coastal Cranberry County, and warmer than inland Cranberry County.

The same basic logic applies to snowfall, with Boston getting the lesser snow of an East Falmouth rather than the heavier snowfall of an East Bridgewater.

I just happen to have the January weather records for Boston right here. They go back to 1920. Let's roll through some fun facts, shall we?

- January is the coldest month, with an average high/low temperature range of 36/22. Second coldest? February, follwed by December, March, November, April, and October.

- Rolling through the lowest January temperatures, we get a -2 in 2011, a -7 in 2004, -4 in 1994, 1988 and 1981, and an ungodly -12 in 1957. For highs, we hit 69 degrees in 2007 and a lay-out-and-tan 72 degrees in 1950.

- Boston's record for coldest high temperature in a January day is 7 degrees. It was -4 that night, so people were happy with the 7. However, the temperature never dropped below 55 degrees on a day in 1950.

- The state in January has an Average Daily High temperature range running from 21.9 degrees in the Berkshires to 29 in Boston to 31 on Martha's Vineyard.

- The lowest temperature ever recorded in Massachusetts was -37 F, in Chester. Nominally warm states like Arizona, California, Missouri and Mayland have all had colder days than that. California also somehow owns the national snowfall event total record at like 20 feet or something.

- Cape Cod, the South Shore, Bristol County and Boston get, generally, about 2/3 the snow that Worcester gets.

- Average annual snowfall totals (days with at least .1" of snow, and inches of snow per year) for towns in our area, through 2014:

Boston 22.4 days/43.6"

Boston is our standard, and we'll lead off with it.

Chatham 11.7 days, 28.9"
Martha's Vineyard, 9.7 days, 23.6"
Hyannis,  6.1 days, 15.6"

Chatham and Martha are further out into the ocean, and get clipped by storms more than closer-to-the-mainland Hyannis. The totals spike upward when we go to the mainland, although the South Coast is subject to the same Gulf Stream effect that Cape Cod is regarding to moderate temperatures.

Taunton, 10.3 days, 28.0"
New Bedford, 14.7 days, 33.2"
Wareham, 14.3 days, 36.1 inches
Plymouth, 13.1 days, 36.2"
Hingham, 25 days, 47.1"

Hingham's totals illustrate how the snow is more regular as you move north. Plymouth, Taunton and Wareham (and even the Cape and Islands, once you stare at the numbers a lot) illustrate how, when they do get snow, they tend to get a lot of it. Plymouth gets rain half of the time when Hingham gets snow, but they get more than 2/3 of Hingham's snow in that same time frame.

Blue Hill, 29.1 days, 62.7 inches
Lowell, 20.3 days, 51.9"
Amherst 16.6 days, 36.9"
East Brimfield, 23.1 days, 59.0"
Worcester, 31.7 days, 64.1"
Great Barington, 22.1 days, 61.0"
Worthington, 52.6 days, 79.7"
Ripton, 366 days, 1968"

Worcester, which is in the hills a bit, is used as the Central Massachusetts benchmark on most news programs. Blue Hill is a mountain, or what passes for a mountain in EMass. Amherst is in the Connecticut River Valley, which gets lower totals than, say, Great Barrington. I'm amazed that there is a need to differentiate between the eastern and western pats of Brimfield, but it probably matters a lot to Brimfieldians. Ripton is a fictional community, so I gave it fictional snowfall totals.

- Boston is the windiest of major US cities, with an average wind speed of 12.3 mph.

We're windier than Chicago, the Windy City, which clocks 10.3 mph. Tornado-ridden Oklahoma City only gets 12.2 mph.

- January snowfall totals in Boston

2016, 9.5"

2015, 34.3" (February was the backbreaker that year)

2014, 21.8"

2013, 4.8"

2012, 6.8"

2011, 38.3"

2010, 13.2"

2009 23.7"

2007, 1.0"

2005, 43.30"

1996 39.80"

1992, 0.40"

1986, 0.80

1978, 35.90 (that's BEFORE the Blizzard, btw)

1957, 20.6" (They also had a 72 degree day that month)

1945, 42.3"

1920, 24.8"

- Boston's Top Snow Events

2003 Blizzard, 27.5"

Blizzard of '78, 27.1"

Feb. 1969 Blizzard, 26.3"

April Fool's Blizzard, 1997, 25.4"

February 2013 nor'easter, 24.9

January 2015 Blizzard, 24.6"

February 2015 Blizzard, 23.8"

Blizzard of 2005, 22.5"

- Snowstorm records

* New Hampshire got 13 feet, 8 inches on Mount Washington in one storm.

* Blizzards in 1997 and 1992 dumped over 30" of snow in Worcester. Their record is 34.8" in the January 2015 blizzard.

* When I was at Worcester State College, we got 18" of snow on April 28th, 1987. I had to drive a girl to Berlin, MA and then go back to Worcester in the height of it. What makes the story cool is that, before the storm, I had picked her up at West Boylston Regional High School, because that's how I rolled back in 1987.

* I lived in Monponsett, MA when they got 36" of snow in 2005. I actually had to shovel my way out of the house. There were no high school girls hanging around for this storm.

* The Massachusetts single-event snowfall record is 62", which fell on Great Barrington in a 2013 Blizzard.

* Massachusetts ranks 23rd in a list of Worst US Snow Events, State By State. We lack the mountains or lake-effect-snow-makin' lakes to fight the contenders.

The state with the most snow ever from one event is, as you might have guessed, California, where 451 inches fell in the Sierra Nevada mountains in 1911.

Worst Boston Winters:

1. 2014-2015: 110.6 inches

2. 1995-1996: 107.6 inches

3. 1993-1994: 96.3 inches

4. 1947-1948: 89.2 inches

5. 2004-2005: 86.6 inches

6. 1977-1978: 85.1 inches

7. 1992-1993: 83.9 inches

8. 2010-2011: 81.0 inches

9. 1915-1916: 79.2 inches

10. 1919-1920: 73.4 inches

Worst Snowfall Months In Boston

1. February 2015: 64.8 inches

2. January 2005: 43.3 inches

3. January 1945: 42.3 inches

4. February 2003: 41.6 inches

5. February 1969: 41.3 inches

- Some historical snow and cold information:

* The British started shooting at the Boston Massacre partly because they were angry that American kids were throwing snowballs at them.

* Russia would be French or Nazi if they didn't have such rotten winters. Even then, they sold us Alaska for pennies on the dollar, and we were widely thought to be foolish for purchasing it at any price.

* Cold or snow killed the Frankenstein monster, the Nicholson character in The Shining, several Jack London protagonists, and- via colds, which increase in cold weather- the Martians in The War Of The Worlds. Mr. Freeze of the Batman rogues gallery is dependent upon cold.

* Rudolph only got to drink from the white reindeer fountain because his red nose could be seen through snow.

* Songs referencing snow or cold include Let It Snow, Hazy Shade Of Winter, Snowblind, Frosty The Snowman, No Quarter, Jingle Bells, Freeze Frame, Winter Wonderland, She's So Cold, The Immigrant Song, Winter Wars, Funky Cold Medina, Cold Shot and just about every Christmas song. I'm not sure if The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald involved or mentioned snow.

- Rappers love chilly names, as Ice Cube, Ice T, Vanilla Ice, LL Cool J, Snow, and Kool Moe Dee prove. White guys who rap stand a strong chance of getting a snow-related nom de guerre.

* No, Walt Disney is not cryogenically preserved, and yes, Ted Williams is.

* Military engagements with Cold themes include Cold Harbor, the Battle of the Ice, the crossing of the Delaware, the Battle of Quebec, the failed assault on Quebec, the Battle of the Bulge, Napoleon's invasion of Russia, the Winter War, and the Cold War. There was even a Snow King, at the Battle of Lutzen.

* The ditzy blonde on Three's Company was named Christmas Snow, aka Chrissie.

* If a substance is brought down to Absolute Zero, even the molecules in it aren't moving.

* The first documented snowman in history dates back to 1380 AD.

* The tallest snowman ever stood 122 feet high. She was named Olympia Snow, after a Senator in the state (Maine) where the snowman was built.

- Famous New England Cold Events

* The Year Without A Summer

Volcanic activity leads to climate abnormalities, lowering the planet's temperature by a degree.

Frosts in June, July and even August 23rd killed food crops. Famine followed. Massachusetts had snow on June 8th. Massachusetts was not getting western grain at this point, and the death of her corn crops led to spikes in food prices.

The effects were felt world-wide, and didn't go away until several years later.

* The Great Blizzard of 1988

This one followed the unspeakably tragic Schoolhouse Blizzard in Nebraska, although it was not the same storm. This storm was known as the Great White Hurricane. It set up over Cape Cod and beat the Northeast for 2 days.

It dumped 50 inches of snow on parts of Massachusetts and New York. Hurricane force winds mauled the coast. They had just figured out telegraphs at this time, and this was the storm that made them realize that telegraph wires suffer heavily in ice storms.

If your city has their telephone and power wires underground, this is the storm that made them do it. Boston was isolated once her telegraph lines fell, and the drifting snow made it impossible to move goods (especially food and fuel) into the city. New York and Boston were cut off from the rest of the world for some time after the storm.

Factory workers had to work to eat, and many died trying to get to work. This, and the isolation after the storm, is why Boston started working on the nation's first subway system.

* The Blizzard of '78

This is the benchmark storm for anyone over 45 or so. Any large storm since has been compared to it. Storms that dumped more snow in recent times are still considered to be less fearsome than the Blizzard.

This was the perfect storm, and not just in a weather sense. Forecasting figured into the chaos. They actually called the storm properly, but people tended to not believe them. They were still blowing storms as recently as 1991, so some sympathy can be extended in this instance. As it stands, almost everyone went about their daily business, and did nothing to prepare. This is where the bread and milk panics as storms approached were born.

Boston had also had 35" of snow in January (including a 20" storm a few weeks before the blizzard), and it was all still on the ground when this nightmare hit us in early February. This snow would either blow around and drift, or stay on the ground as an shovel-impossible bottom layer of ice.

Snow fell for 2 days, and ended as an ice storm. Boston picked up 27 inches of snow. Highways were full of abandoned cars, and people were trapped in their homes for weeks. The coast was smashed by a full moon storm tide, and the damaged matched or surpassed that done in hurricanes.

I lived on Duxbury Beach for this storm. We never saw a flake of snow, but waves were tearing houses in half. We were evacuated on a fire truck, and lived at either the Governor Winslow School or the Kingston Howard Johnson's for the next few months. Winds passed 85 mph before my wind gauge thingy was torn down.

This storm ended the weather complacency ("Hurricanes are the South's problem, and blizzards are the midwest's concern.") that many New Englanders felt. This monster, plus the additional media focus on weather and weather forecasting technology, meant that future storms wouldn't sneak up on us any more.

If you say nothing more than "the Blizzard" to someone over 50 from Massachusetts, they assume that you are talking about '78.

* 1997 April Fool's Blizzard

April is usually when you start preparing for summer, but that all went up the chimney when this beast laid into us.

Very much like the Blizzard, it dropped tons of snow and gashed the coast with heavy surf. It actually put down more snow (25.something inches) in one day than the Blizzard of '78 did, although '78 rallied to take the overall title on Day 2.

Prior to this storm, the snowiest MONTH of April in history could only ring up 13.3" of snow. This storm beat that in 6 hours.

I was still in Duxbury for that one. I had the only fireplace in a neighborhood of cottages, and I had 10 neighbors sleeping on the floor in front of it once the power was knocked out.

I also had an Australian nanny in the neighborhood, and she was from the part of Australia that has Florida's climate. She had seen snow before, but nothing like this. She kept calling my house- terrified, but perfectly calm and might I say very English- and asking "When does the Army come for us?" and "How and where does all of this snow go away to? Does the Army move it?"

April storms are rare, but they are hardcore when they do hit. Coastal New Englanders do no yard repair at all until mid-to-late April.

* The Blizzard of 2003

There are actually two of these, a December storm and one that hit on President's Day. Both dropped 30-40" of snow on Massachusetts.

The PDII storm owns Boston's single day and full-storm total of 27.5 inches of powder.

Everyone had The Weather Channel by this point, so the only people who got snuck up on by this deserved it.

* The Blizzard of 2005

As far as Cranberry County goes, you can choose between this one and the Blizzard of '78. The '78 storm did worse damage and fell on a deeper snowpack, but this storm generally owns the local snowstorm total records.

Sagamore Beach got 40" of snow, while a Bridgewater-Plympton stretch of tiny Route 106 got between 30-38". Most of Cranberry County, from Duxbury to Cape Cod to New Betty to Brockton got between 2 and 3 feet of snow.

I was teaching in the area for this storm, and I got 2 weeks off from it. Highlights include driving a Jeep through the whiteout to pick up some smoking supplies, falling off my roof and landing unharmed on my back in a snow drift, and having my border collie dig our way out of the side door through a snow drift.

* February 2013 Nor'easter

This was a recent monster. It was like a B+ version of the Blizzard of '78.

This was notable for a few things. It dumped 24.9 inches of snow on Boston, and more on surrounding areas. It was the 5th highest storm total for Boston, and Portland, Maine set a town record with 31.9"

Fearing a sea of abandoned cars of the highways, Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency to send everyone home, and then implemented a driving ban. It was the first time we have had a ban since the '78 storm.

This was also a storm, along with Hurricane Irene, which showed us that NSTAR needed to step up their game. This storm ravaged much of the eastern USA, and NSTAR crews were spread thin. It took a long time to get the power back on, and this- unlike Irene- was during a period where low temperatures were in the teens during the blackout.

I got home from work one day during the blackout to find an empty house. Soon, my girlfriend called. "I have the kid and the cat, and we're driving South until we find a hotel with electricity." A state trooper turned her around in Connecticut.

* The Winter Of 2015

You lived it, Hoss.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

NFL Divisional Playoff Schedule, Betting Lines


1/14 4:35 ET At Atlanta -5 Seattle 51.5,  FOX

If there's ever a time to bet a Road Dog, it's when Matty Ice is hosting. 

If you're betting Seattle to win, it may be wise to bet on the game being  low-scoring affair, a dangerous bet with an Atlanta team averaging 30 points a game.

Atlanta has a poor history of defending itself against northern invaders. I do believe that General Sherman (or, to be fair, perhaps beaten rebel troops) burned that ish to the ground in the Civil War.

William Tecusmseh Sherman was confident as he marched into the Peach State, practicing Total War, fully intent on wrecking everything in his path. "I will make Georgia howl," cried Sherman. "My aim then was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. 'Fear of the Lord' is the beginning of wisdom."

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, a Stanford man, should feel the same way.

Seattle, 27-13

1/14 8:15 ET At New England -16 Houston 44.5,  CBS

Let's stick with Civil War generals. General Sheridan was charged with occupying Texas after the Civil War. He hated the climate. When asked how he liked Texas, he replied, "If I owned Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent Texas."

We took these guys to the woodshed earlier in the season with our third string QB, and- while they have improved- they aren't the team who is going to knock us out of the playoffs. 

I wish that the blizzard we got last weekend was happening this weekend instead, but that's the way the rookie rumbles. We don't need the snow to handle these guys... which is a good thing for them, because there are those in the sportswriting community who believe that Bill Belichick is able to exert some form of control over the weather.  

It matters not. We will whip them like they were mouthy serfs. They'll wish that their mothers had never met their fathers. 

I'm betting the Over, and I don't expect one team to even reach double digits.

Pats, 38-7

1/15 8:20 p.m ET At Kansas City -1.5 Pittsburgh 44,  NBC

A second Road Dog to wager my wages on!

Pittsburgh walloped KC earlier in the season. Maybe that's how this goes, or maybe KC is in the playoffs for a reason.

I think it's the former. I'm taking the Under in  44 point game, and I expect Pittsburgh to score 31 points. That's what Kansas City gets for not being in Kansas.

Pittsburgh, 31-10

1/15 4:40 ET At Dallas -4.5 Green Bay 52.5,  FOX

Dallas can slowly run it down the field on anyone. Green Bay is more of an aerial show who can move the ball quickly. 

That said, I have great doubts about Dak Prescott needing to move the ball by the air in hurry. If this or any game turns into a shootout, bet on whoever you think can move the ball 80 yards in 80 seconds when they really have to. I don't think that Dallas can do that.

Green Bay, 28-27


Dallas vs. New England +$250 (5 to 2)

Atlanta vs. New England +$450 (9 to 2)
Green Bay vs. New England +$450 (9 to 2)
Seattle vs. New England +$800 (8 to 1)
Dallas vs. Kansas City +$1,200 (12 to 1)
Dallas vs. Pittsburgh +$1,200 (12 to 1)
Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh +$1,800 (18 to 1)
Atlanta vs. Kansas City +$2,000 (20 to 1)
Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh +$2,000 (20 to 1)
Green Bay vs. Kansas City +$2,000 (20 to 1)
Seattle vs. Kansas City +$3,000 (30 to 1)
Seattle vs. Pittsburgh +$3,000 (30 to 1)
Dallas vs. Houston +$10,000 (100 to 1)
Atlanta vs. Houston +$15,000 (150 to 1)
Green Bay vs. Houston +$15,000 (150 to 1)
Seattle vs. Houston +$25,000 (250 to 1)

Latest 2016 MVP Odds 

Matt Ryan -$400 (1 to 4)
Aaron Rodgers +$450 (9 to 2)
Tom Brady +$500 (5 to 1)
Ezekiel Elliot +$7,500 (75 to 1)
Dak Prescott +$7,500 (75 to 1)
LeVeon Bell +$10,000 (100 to 1)
Derek Carr +$15,000 (150 to 1)