Click on any image below to launch the photo viewer.
April 12, 2017 - The Block Has Sunk
Soaking rains and record warmth combined for a one-two punch that spelled the end of the 2017 Meltdown. The end came at 5:07PM after a sun drenched day that found temperatures soaring to near 80 degrees.
March 28, 2017 - Like the Weather?
Patchy rain and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny. A chance of snow before noon. Rain and snow likely before 4AM. Freezing rain then sleet before 9AM then rain.
March 20, 2017 - Spring Has Sprung?
The vernal equinox, which represents the exact moment that the sun is directly over the equator, arrived this morning at exactly 6:29AM. What does that mean to the Meltdown contest? Nothing other than to say that spring has officially arrived. However, it’s clear that winter still has its grip on Hammond Pond.
There are no storms forecast over the next two days but there will be quite a difference in the temperature department. Tomorrow’s highs are forecasted to be in the 50’s but an arctic blast will usher in much colder and windy weather on Wednesday when we will struggle to get out of the 20’s. With a blanket of snow now covering and insulating the ice shelf below it, I’m not certain what impact single digit temperatures Wednesday night will have on the ice.
March 12, 2017 - Soaring Temperatures
A lot has happened since my last update.
Temperatures soared into the 60’s in late February for an extended period of time making me start to think that the Meltdown was doomed to end early for the second year in a row.
Mother Nature reminded us who was boss when she brought in a cold front on February 25th that made history. Not only was there a tornado that touched down in Goshen, it was the first tornado ever recorded in the month of February in the State of Massachusetts. Many parts of town were without power for almost 24 hours. The storm caused significant pockets of damage throughout town including here at Hammond Pond. Three cottages were damaged by falling trees. Two of them significantly. Elsewhere, trees were toppled from both straight line and tornadic winds.
Then came the cold. Temperatures dropped to the single digits for several nights in a row. Several days of strong winds in the 40-50 MPH range brought down the trees that were weakened by the earlier wind event.
Over that same period, the Goshen fire department was called in to assist in the retrieval of a dune buggy that had fallen through the ice on Lower Highland Lake in the center of town. Two weeks ago, the ice there measured 6” thick when the ice on Hammond Pond measured 16” thick.
Even though we are now in what is referred to as the meteorological spring, a late winter nor’easter has it’s sights on our region. The entire state with the exception of the Cape and the Islands is expecting to get 12” – 18” of snow on Tuesday.
When I went to measure the ice today, my 18” drill bit couldn’t get through to water. So, it’s safe to say that the ice near the block is over a foot and a half thick.
Ticket receipts have started to come in at the same time I’m trying to get the word out on the contest.
February 19, 2017 - The 2017 Meltdown Has Begun!
Since Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year (which means that there’s still 6 weeks of winter ahead of us), it’s time to get the 12th annual Meltdown under way.
As you all know, the block sits on a wooden pallet that holds a flag. The flag is simply a marker that shows where the block is in the event it gets completely covered in snow. The block is connected to an electric clock by a rope. The clock is plugged into an outlet in the gatehouse on the dam holding back Hammond Pond. Once the block falls through the ice or the ice floe moves away from the dam, the tension on the cord will pull the plug out of the wall socket and stop the clock. It’s that straightforward.
This year’s fundraiser will go towards the purchase of a new automated external defibrillator (AED) for the New Hingham Regional Elementary School in Chesterfield. The school, which teaches kids from pre-Kindergarten to 6th grade, already has one AED that was donated to them by the Chesterfield Fire Department. State officials are now requiring a second AED that will available at school-sponsored events including field trips. With your help, we’ll take care of that mandate.
The deadline for ticket submissions is Saturday, April 1st. Last year, the contest ended on March 11th. Back in 2012, the block fell through the ice on March 19th – almost two weeks before the deadline. While I can only do so much to regulate the impact climate change is having on our contest, what I can say is that ice has been on Hammond Pond this winter season since just after Thanksgiving. As of last Tuesday, the ice was 18″ thick. Tickets received after April 1st (unless they were postmarked on or before that date) will be returned. This date is weather dependent and will be irrelevant if the block falls through the ice before the deadline.
Here are some statistics from the past 11 years of Meltdown events to consider as you make your selections:
- The most popular dates were 4/15 (621), 4/10 (604), 4/12 (598), 4/1 (588) and 4/13 (562).
- 68% of all guesses have been for dates between April 1st and April 21st (hint, hint).
- Daylight savings time starts on Sunday, March 12th. Keep that in mind when making your selection.
The official ends of the previous contests were as follows:
2016 – 3/11 at 12:58 AM
2015 – 4/17 at 4:17 AM
2014 – 4/14 at 11:51 AM
2013 – 4/16 at 12:19 PM
2012 – 3/19 at 2:14 PM
2011 – 4/14 at 12:44 PM
2010 – 4/02 at 11:52 AM
2009 – 4/05 at 11:02 AM
2008 – 4/16 at 3:04 PM
2007 – 4/21 at 12:00 PM
2006 – 4/01 at 8:18 PM
2005 – 4/12 at 4:47 PM
Other significant dates to consider are as follows:
3/18 at 11:00AM – Start time for the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day parade
3/20 at 6:29AM – First day of Spring
4/10 at 1:05PM – First pitch on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium against the Tampa Bay Rays
4/03 at 2:05PM – First pitch on Opening Day at Fenway Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates
4/15 at 2:45AM – Day and time the Titanic sank in 1912
As always…THINK SPRING!