March 13

This update will be filled with statistics that might help you decide on a date the 2022 Meltdown will end. First of all, a few facts from the previous contests:

  • The contest has never ended in May

  • 59% of the time, the contest ends in the PM

  • The ice on Hammond Pond always melts from North to South

  • The block is located on the southern end of Hammond Pond

For years, I’ve been trying to find some sort of trend that might help better predict what might happen in any given year. Punxsutawney Phil and the Farmers Almanac haven’t been much help. Neither have the occurrences of El Niño or La Niña as you can see from the table below:

However, one thing is for certain, the average annual temperatures in Massachusetts have steadily increased since 1950 as the NOAA graph below indicates.

With that in mind, I took a look at which day of the year the block went through the ice to end the contest. The red line below represents April 1st (the 91st day of the year). The green line below represents a 3-year average of which day of the year the contest ended. While it’s coming closer and closer to ending on April 1st, the 17-year average shows that the contest ends on the 97th day of the year or April 7th.

Here are some pictures (in chronological order) of the condition of the block and the ice it sits on:

2022 Meltdown as of 03/12
2020 Meltdown as of 03/12 before the latest snowstorm blew through.
2022 Meltdown as of 03/12
2022 Meltdown as of 03/12
2022 Meltdown as of 03/12
2022 Meltdown as of 03/12
2020 Meltdown as of 03/10
2022 Meltdown as of 03/08
2020 Meltdown as of 03/06. One this is for certain, the freeze / that / cold / warm weather cycle we’re in this year is making things quite unpredictable.
2022 Meltdown as of 03/06
2020 Meltdown as of 03/06. The ice measured 18” thick.
2022 Meltdown as of 03/08
2020 Meltdown as of 03/06. One this is for certain, the freeze / that / cold / warm weather cycle we’re in this year is making things quite unpredictable.
2022 Meltdown as of 03/06
2022 Meltdown as of 03/06

If the 10-day forecast for Goshen holds out, most night will barely get down to freezing while daytime temperatures will average around 50º. That means two things to me. One, it’ll be mud season around the hilltowns and two, a lot of melting will be going on.

I hope this update provides some worthwhile data that can help you select your dates for this year’s contest. Please consider getting your picks in sooner than later.

2022 Meltdown as of 02/17/2022
The block and pallet have been placed on the ice which currently measures 18" thick when this picture was taken on February 17th, 2022.

There’s never been a greater time for a Meltdown that now.  For the past two years, we’ve done our best to stay healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic.  With the hope that this year’s contest will provide a much-needed respite and distraction from the world’s problems and allow us to focus on the end of the contest which marks the beginning of spring (in my book anyway), let the 2022 Meltdown begin!

The concrete blocks sit on a wooden pallet that holds a flag.  The flag is simply a marker that shows where the blocks are in the event they get completely covered in snow.  The blocks are 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 blocks fall 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.  Simple, right?

The benefactor of this year’s fundraising efforts will be the Williams-Boltwood House Trust (WBH).  The WBH trust is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to acquire, restore and preserve the property known as the Williams-Boltwood House in Goshen MA and its associated artifacts as a museum for the education of diverse audiences about the history and culture of Goshen and surrounding region.

Regular updates are posted here and on the Meltdown Facebook page.  Additional tickets can also be downloaded from this site using the link above.  Participants that include an e-mail address on their ticket stub will be added to a private e-mail distribution list that is used to provide periodic updates and snapshots

of the block.  The current list includes several hundred addresses of people who are regularly entertained by these updates.  The sooner your tickets are returned, the sooner you can become part of that exclusive group.

The deadline for ticket submissions is Wednesday, April 1st at 11:59:59 P.M.  Back in 2016, the block fell through the ice on March 11th – almost three weeks before the deadline.  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 17 years of Meltdown events to consider as you make your selections:

  • The most popular dates continue to be 4/1 (842), 4/15 (837), 4/10 (833), 4/12 (797) and 4/2 (762).
  • 84% of all guesses have been for dates between March 27th and April 26th.

As you can see from the table below, the block has gone as early as March 11th (2016) and as late as April 21st (2007). The official endings of the previous contests were as follows:

Meltdown Results by Year