Illustrated bites of Island news

Jim Cerny, reporting and photography

Public occurrences Parks report Winter scenes Shiver me timbers Piscataqua ship spotting Quick index to back issues

Public occurrences

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Parks report

Sunrise at Wallis Sands. (NHDTTD/George Disario photo)

On January 22 the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation released the final version of the Ten-Year Strategic Development and Capital Improvement Plan. The Seacoast Area includes these parks and historic sites: Fort Constitution, Fort Stark, Hampton Beach, Jenness Beach, Kingston, North Beach, North Hampton, Odiorne Piont, Ragged Neck/Rye Harbor, Wallis Sands, Wentworth Coolidge, and White Island.

The report is a well-organized assemblage of information and anyone interested in these parks should look at it. There are over 100 pages of material, consisting of a basic 65-page report followed by 19 appendices.

The most basic point is that the self-funding model is not working, resulting in a growing backlog of needs, on the order of $100 million over 10 years, with several million dollars of short term needs. While some savings can be made by more efficient operation of the Division, that will not close the gap, which grows nearly every year.

In the Seacoast, the main park is Hampton Beach in terms of producing a surplus of income, but also requiring the most maintenance and development. Some places, like the Fort Stark historic site in New Castle, involve very little expense, benefiting from an active volunteer group, the Fort Stark Brigade often shown at work in these pages. Even so, money is needed at Fort Stark to expand parking, install a new gate, and improve interpretive materials.

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Winter scenes

These pictures were taken on a sunny winter day with fresh snow for making of a fort and sliding at the Maude H. Trefethen school.

Overloaded sled meets a bump. Very nice hats!

A girl goes airborne as she starts down the slide.

A boy goes airborne at a bump on the slide.

Girls pose in front of the snow fort.

We couldn't find a snowman in New Castle, before the January thaw and rains, but found this one on South Street in Portsmouth.

New Castle home on a winter evening.

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Shiver me timbers

Channel buoy off Goat Island. (Jim Cerny photo)

How cold has January been? Based on the Durham records, both real-time and historical, it has not been particularly cold, especially in terms of overnight lows. Durham is used as the closest source of well-maintained continuous records and of course most of the time New Castle will be somewhat less extreme. All temperatures discussed here are in Fahrenheit degrees.

In Durham there was only one night in January, 2010, when it went below zero, and that was -1.4 on the 10th, just at sunrise. The Durham record goes back to 1893 and there have indeed been some remarkable Januarys.

The month of January, 1957, when I was in junior high, was an extremely cold month. I remember trundling off to school when it was -20 and then the next day when it was -20 again we stayed home because the school boiler broke! That month (in Durham) it went below zero 12 times and three of those times it was -20, -21, -24.

However, the worst cold outbreak in the Durham record, in terms of January lows, is one I don't remember it was 1971 and I was in southern Rhode Island. That month saw the second-coldest low in Durham at -30 (the coldest is -35 in 1935) and there was a consecutive run of daily lows of -18, -22, -24, -30, -12. Shiver me timbers! Durham has not gone to -20 since 1994 when -22 was recorded.

What I regard as the most anomalous temperature extreme (outlier) in the Durham record was not in January, but on March 19, 1967, when it went to -18. I was in school at the time and distinctly remember the event there was a snow cover and it radiated heat insanely that night. Let's hope it is never repeated in any future March!

Weather map for March 19, 1967 at 1 a.m. EST. (NOAA Central Data Library Imaging Project)

Weather fans may be interested to know that there is a complete online archive of daily US weather maps, going back to 1871!

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Piscataqua ship spotting

The SWATH research vessel, Ferdinand R. Hassler, is still projected to arrive at the UNH marine facility in New Castle in late 2010. Check out this video clip of it being lowered into the water at the Halter Marine site in Mississippi in September, 2009.

The Atlantic Arrow was seen loading scrap metal at the State Pier in Portsmouth, just as it was back in November 2009.

"Atlantic Arrow" loading scrap metal at the State pier in Portsmouth. Click image for larger view.

The Tsuru was also spotted as a repeat visitor, last reported here in January 2010.

"Tsuru" with its port side against the pier at Granite State Minerals in Portsmouth.

"Tsuru" unloading salt.

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Quick index to back issues of Saltines


February, 2010