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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Sunday, Dec. 20, 09 -- 20 to 22 inches fall on LBI

Sunday, December 20, 2009: If you so much as idly hummed “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” you’re among those to blame for that storm. We got between 20 and 22 inches here on LBI, some of highest amounts in the state and only slightly below the Island’s modern record of 24 inches. I’ll bet anything there were some big storms during those thousands of years before white man came along. Anyway, to get that LBI average snowfall measurement, I took depth readings from a few locations, mainly mid-Island. I targeted non-drift areas that were somewhat level with snow, preferably non-grass areas. I used a standard rigid metal ruler. I also took what’s called a water-equivalency measurement. That’s when snowfall is captured in a cylindrical Plexiglas receiver, then melted down to then be measured and translated back into a snow equivalency -- based on established rain-to-snow equations. Some meteorologists like that reading. You ask, “Why not just take the measurement of the snow itself?” Exactly. That rain-to-snow equivalency is most often used to predict snow falls. If Doppler radar indicates a certain amount of precipitation is falling into cold air, the Weather Service can anticipate that an apparent one inch of moisture per hour translates into roughly 10 inches of snow per hour. The problem: the equivalency doesn’t take into account the various grades of snow, i.e. light and airy, wet and heavy. Puffy snow (cold air) can make an inch of moisture into a foot or more of snow. Wet and thick snow (right near freezing) can amount to only 8 inches of snow per inch of melted equivalent. As I do with every snowstorm, I’ll warn mobile anglers that snow-covered beaches are a bitch to drive on. Try it and odds are you’ll wind up stuck beyond belief -- and in need of the costliest of tow-outs, since 4WD tow trucks are resistant to come onto the snowy beach. By the by, the problem is not the wet sand zone that can easily be seen and driven. The bugaboo is the crossing of the snowed over beach and, most of all, getting off the beach at snowy exits. Last but not least, there are schoolie bass galore in the system. How quickly the ocean settles makes all the difference since it is fairly imperative that the ocean be relatively calm to target these small stripers. Also, most anglers rightfully pick nicer days – weather and temperatures – to fish schoolies. The problem we have is a series of storms arriving this coming week, Tuesday and again Christmas. Look for loads of rain for that holiday storm.

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