Sap Snow -- Spring Snow
During the last days of winter when the daylight temperature goes above the freezing point the sap begins to rise in trees as one of the first harbingers of spring. This new sap is filled with sugar so that certain varieties of trees like sugar maple or black birch can be tapped for the sugar laden sap that boils down into maple syrup or sugar. One of the main requirements for what they call a good sap run is it continues when the temperature goes above freezing, and at night when the temperature goes below freezing.
The old-timers used to consider any snowfall that occurred after the last day of February was “Sap Snow” because this guaranteed a pro-longing of the sapping season as well as providing a good flow of sap. Although most of these snowstorms occur in late March or early April an occasional storm can occur as late as May. Most of these late winter and early spring snowstorms are what the old farmers used to call enough to track a cat in; although an occasional heavy snowfall can occur.
Some of the snowfalls can be quite notable as one that can be counted in the range of the sap snow was the blizzard of 1888 that produced several feet of snow in the northeastern United States. There have been other memorable snowstorms that have occurred during this period as well. One of these snowstorms occurred during early April of 1981 this one deposited up to 28 inches of snow throughout much of the northeastern United States.
One of the latest snow storms that left a large amount of stone occurred on May 9, 1977 that was a snowstorm where the depths of snow was controlled by the altitude at which it occurred. In Winsted, Connecticut we received about 6 inches of snow from this storm, but further north in Otis, Massachusetts they received up to 4 feet. It is not at all unusual for a storm of this nature to be rain in the lowlands and heavy snow in the uplands.
In snow country there is hardly a year that goes by without some kind of snowstorm that occurs after the first day of spring. The particular situation we are explaining occurs in the northeastern part of the United States, and to joining Canada, but it can occur anywhere in the world that has a similar climate.
Because the seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere the same situation can occur in the months of September, October and November.