November 14, 2022

MEHLER | Snow!

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On Sunday, Nov. 13, a downpour of rain briefly turned into snow around 4 p.m. as the sun started to set. For all the jokes about Ithaca being a snowy place and prospective students’ main concern about Cornell being the weather, it took until the middle of November for snow to graze Cornell’s campus. Even with the flurries we received, the previous week’s high of 75 degrees ensured that the snow would certainly not stick. As much as others may dislike the snow, I love this part of the year when barren trees and dead grass glisten in a coat of fluffy snow.

With snow comes cold temperatures. But, with cold temperatures comes warm, comfy clothes and hot drinks. With warm, comfy clothes and hot drinks comes an excuse to put down the final study guides and enjoy the huddled-up company of friends and roommates seeking to stay warm. Additionally, for those wishing to not remain cooped up, Ithaca offers plenty to do in the snowy season: tubing or skiing at Greek Peak, sledding down the Slope, seeing frozen waterfalls, creating “interesting” drawings in the snow-filled quads and more. Snow is a time for everyone to slow down and enjoy their surroundings that are normally forgotten during one of the busiest times of the year; if you do not slow down, you might literally slip and miss it.

For all students except the seniors, the first bits of snow arriving in mid-November might feel normal. Last year, the first real couple of inches of snow was on Nov. 15. The year before that it was even later. But in 2019, snow started falling as early as Oct. 9 with multiple inches coming by Nov. 6, 2019. Seniors remember the snow before Fall Break their first year and they especially remember the serious storm just a couple of weeks later that kept students home for a couple of extra days after Thanksgiving. The Sun reported on Nov. 17, 2021 that snowfalls continue to happen even later and later each year; the lack of snow predicted for the coming week of Nov. 14 only furthers the arguments put forth by atmospheric professors and meteorologists: winter is coming… substantially later.

In addition to the dangerous conditions created by wetter winters, such as more black ice, heavier blankets of snow and other environmental hazards, the lack of snow in Central New York robs students and Ithacans of the beauties an early snow has to offer. Fun activities, gorgeous walks without deathly windchills and the excuse to make hot cocoa disappear with the current weather patterns and continuous warming of our winters. Simply put, climate change makes winter less enjoyable.

But good news hides amongst a wet and colder winter without snow. For those of us who love snow, we get to experience it for longer into the school year and get to stay bundled up in cute flannels and oversized coats throughout even April. As winter gets pushed further back so do all the things I love about winter, and the more I get to experience it with my friends at Cornell. While I typically try to have an actionable item for readers who make it to the bottom of my columns, all I encourage this time around is that when it does finally snow inches for the first time this season (and it sticks!), take a break from all your work and enjoy the snow. Winter in Ithaca is an incredibly beautiful time, and you will miss out on the joys of snow without making the intentional time to go play in it.

Patrick J. Mehler (he/him) is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He can be reached at [email protected]. The Mehl-Man Delivers runs alternate Mondays this semester.