Mariton: First Quarter Precipitation 2018

April 4, 2018

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Because of a very wet February, precipitation is ahead of average for the first quarter of 2018. I have recorded 13.54 inches of precipitation (rain and melted snow) for the quarter; the average is 10.81”.  January (2.72”) was like much of 2017 and close to ¾ s of an inch below average.  March (4.23”) was slightly above average.

In February, Mariton received 6.59 inches of precipitation compared to the 3.25” average. Much has been made of how warm it was in February this year, and most of the precipitation came as rain during the month.  (Good thing, that would have been quite a bit of snow.)  There were a few snow/rain mixes during the month, and a seven inch snowfall on February 17-18.

In March, I recorded 1.44” of rain on March 2, and another 0.14” of rain on March 3 before it turned cold for the month. Most of the other significant precipitation events were the result of snow.

This March was the first time that I noticed the influence of elevation on spring snow events at Mariton. The snow event on March 7 in particular showed the effects of elevation.  That morning the grass was covered and the snow was just starting to stick on the parking lot when Bob and Eileen came for their morning walk.  Bob told me the snow was 2” deeper on top of the hill than it was by the Nature Center.  I decided to drive into Riegelsville to do an errand and there was no snow on the ground by the time I got down the hill to Spring Hill Road.  That day it snowed hard all day long and we ended up with about 6 inches on non-paved surfaces.  Just as it was letting up I was getting ready to plow when people from Riegelsville started showing up.  The parking lot was quite deep and a few people got stuck temporarily.  (I just couldn’t imagine why people felt confident enough to be driving around in such nasty weather.)  It wasn’t until the next day that I realized that a lot of people didn’t get any significant snow where they lived.  When Bob and Eileen returned Thursday morning they said they never even bothered to shovel their parking area because it melted about as quickly as it fell.  While there was a huge difference in snow accumulation, the elevation differences are not that drastic.  The Nature Center is about 500 feet in elevation.  Riegelsville is roughly 200 feet, and the top of the hill is roughly 750 feet.  In the grand scheme of things that is not a lot of difference, but for these spring events, it really had a big impact.