Snow on October 15! At first it was fun. Rolling balls for the snowman, I had to keep stopping to pull out black walnut leaf ribs — enough to make three dozen Eves, at least. Sure, give him a blaze-orange cap. Maybe he’ll come to life and wreak some minor havoc.
Snow fell throughout the afternoon and evening, fell faster than it could melt onto a ground that was still unfrozen. (Hell, we’d just gotten our first frost the day before!) By Friday morning, the power was out and the phone was dead. There were three to four inches of heavy, wet snow in the vicinity of the houses, and five inches at the top of the field. Sitting outside to drink my coffee around 8:00, it sounded as bad as any icestorm we’ve ever had, with loud cracks and crashes every few seconds. The trees seemed to be taking “fall” a bit too literally.
The bigger-leaved trees took it the worst: oaks, maples, tulip poplars, black locusts, and cucumber magnolias all suffered extensive pruning and occasional bole-snap. The damage was localized, presumably corresponding to wherever snow fell the hardest and stuck the longest. This was a very elevation-dependent snowfall throughout the region.
Numerous limbs and broken treetops, and around a dozen toppled mature trees, came down across the Plummer’s Hollow Boulevard. It took our new neighbors and caretakers, Troy and Paula Scott, two days to clear them all. Damage petered out along with the snow about a quarter mile from the bottom.
We’ve had October snows before, but none so heavy or so early. Of course it was beautiful — but some kinds of beauty we could definitely do without.
Plenty more damaging storms have hit Plummer’s Hollow, but it’s been a while since the oaks have taken this hard a beating. Icestorms rarely affect them. Although of course that’s in part because icestorms generally don’t occur until after the leaves are all down… knock on wood.