Cape Cod And The Thunder-Snow

Simon Hunton -

Winter politely waited for the Christmas gift unwrapping to be wrapped up before making a grand entrance. Heralded as “Blizzard 2010”, the TV news’ teams were warning us to prepare for over 2ft of snow and winds gusting up to 50 mph hitting Boston and the western edge of the Cape. The snow-storm had barreled up the Eastern seaboard dumping heavy snow from the Carolinas through NYC and was now en-route to New England. The camera crews were out early in pursuit of the first snowflake and while they (and we) waited we were treated to recurring shots of mountains of salt, plows getting ready to do battle and reporters desperately searching for people panic buying essentials at “Stop & Shop” in case they were to be snowed in for weeks. But most entertaining of all was to witness the pure joy that was coursing through the veins of all the local TV weathermen. The spotlight was firmly on them and though they worked hard at not breaking out into beaming smiles it was clear that their inner selves were doing highland jigs, kicking their heels in the air and making merry. All those years of studying adiabatic processes and anabatic winds were not in vain and it was fair to say that the major depression that they were tracking was certainly not in evidence at the weather center.

As the storm moved in the reporting gradually moved from the sublime to the ridiculous with weathermen describing the town that would get the highest snow-fall and winds as “hitting the jackpot”. Surely a term better suited to a windfall rather than snowfall and not the phrase that immediately comes to mind when you open your front door to find a 6ft snow drift cascading over you into your front room. I doubt the last words from the soon to be buried “winner” would be “quick Bob open up the Champagne!”

Then we had the news that the storm may also create areas of  “Thunder-Snow”! I know I need to get out more but I have to say that I’ve never heard anyone talk of thunder-snow before. What were we in for? I imagined colossal snowflakes or perhaps snowflakes which explode on impact with the ground. I could hardly wait and went to bed with already 5 inches of snow accumulation on the ground, the wind picking up and my expectations set high.

We awoke next morning and threw back the curtains in childlike anticipation………Nothing, at a mere 3 inches we’d actually suffered snow-shrinkage during the night (a phenomenon caused by the very cold weather I’m guessing) and there was no sign of any scorched earth from thunder-snow. The snow had skirted past Cape Cod and focused its attention on Boston. Of thunder-snow there was no mention.

The Platinum Pebble

The Platinum Pebble enjoying a White Christmas

With or without the excitement of a snow-storm the Cape is a wonderful and enchanting place in the winter, when the occasional white dustings give the houses and beaches a magical look. Visits to a Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast at this time of year are a real treat with snow dusted trees, empty beaches and bargains galore at antique shops.

Annabelle and I wish you a very happy and prosperous 2011 from The Platinum Pebble Boutique Inn and hope to welcome you as guests in our inaugural year as Cape Cod Inn proprietors.

Glossary of some common weather terms:
Nimbus – Harry Potter’s broomstick
Cyclone – The name I gave as a child to my imaginary identical twin
Isobar – A drinking establishment internationally recognized for its commitment to quality and continuous improvement
Doldrums – A Barbie percussion set
Hurricane – A turbo-charged walking stick
Anafront – An insult
Adiabatic – A person lacking insulin

Safe travels,



  1. Patricia says:

    The Press do make a big thing out of snow in the USA– get used to it!!

  2. Gary says:

    I captured thundersnow on video on Jan 12th 2011.