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Winter Is Coming? More Like Winter Never Left — For Bostonians, At Least

bostonsnowpileChristmas in July is apparently no longer just a phrase that retail stores use to lure in customers during the dead of summer with rock-bottom sales prices; now, it even includes snow.

Granted, this applies to several regions in the U.S. where temperatures are cold enough year-round to result in some light snowfall, but in a city like Boston, winter is not supposed to last 12 months out of the year.

Many East Coast cities were hit particularly hard this past winter, and Boston led the pack with a record-setting amount of snow: 110 inches.

Boston’s weather has finally warmed up, but as the New York Times reports, the city’s Seaport district still has a 12-foot-high wall of ice and snow, standing in all its frozen glory, amid heaps of trash and debris.

The wall was once an astonishing 75 feet high and spanning four acres wide, back in February when the city was hit with snowstorm upon snowstorm.

So how does this mound of dirt and ice manage to stay frozen even in the July heat? The NYT explained that the snow was packed so densely with trash and debris — which snowplows naturally pick up while plowing the roads — that the mixture could have covered enough mileage to equal about 12 trips around the Equator.

Furthermore, this thick layer of trash has keep the wall of ice insulated from the harshest rays of sunlight (and from the 84-degree heat), thus keeping a cool blanket over what the NYT called “an ice-encased, cinder-encrusted mound of snow laced with urban flotsam and jetsam, from candy wrappers to fire hydrants.”

City officials reportedly had to fight with residents this past winter when deciding where to shovel the never-ending now piles — residents were sick of having sheets of ice and piles of dirty snow layering the city, and wanted snow removal companies to start dumping the snow into the Harbor.

Perhaps this would have been the most cost-effective move at the time, since boston.com reported back in February that the city had allotted $35 million for snow removal costs during 2014-2015 and had already used up $18.5 million. This cost doesn’t come close to the estimated $1 billion Canadian snow removal companies rake in on a regular basis each year, but for just one city, this abnormally high cost means that other infrastructure projects will not have adequate funding.

Officials opted out of having an Iced Tea Party despite the financial implications — and in hindsight, it’s a good thing they did, the NYT states, lest Boston residents would like to see their Harbor and waterways “clogged with more than 250 tons of bicycles, hubcaps, and other detritus.”

For anyone wishing to take part in the fun, Boston’s mayor has invited Twitterers to use the hashtag #BOSMeltNow to send out their guesses for when the Ice Monster will finally melt. Current estimates are around early August, although some people have added that the wall might not even melt before it starts to snow again.



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