Cascading Waters can be found at 135 Olean Street on the eastern edge of Worcester's northwest parklands, the Cascades. The Cascades are 350 acres of park and conservation lands along the borders of Worcester, Paxton, and Holden, Massachusetts. Home to countless species of plants and animals, the Cascades are open to passive recreation year-round.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Afternoon Sun

Trail conditions are still the same.
Visitor parking continues to be open.

11:55 am and it has warmed up a bit:
23.5 degrees and rising;
44% humidity and steady;
30.42" of mercury and steady.

Bright afternoon sun isn't going to get us over freezing.
A storm is coming on the radar map.
Expect more winter weather!
Enjoy today's sun.

US Forest Service, Forest Fire Danger is : LOW

Arctic Cold!

Woke up to 5 degrees F.

Thankfully it has warmed up to a balmy 11.5 degrees F by 8:07 am.

This is not a day for lingering outside in a bird blind.
If you are out, layer, cover, and keep moving.

The sky is brilliantly clear and sunny.
The trail is snowy with ice in spots but easily passable.
The trailhead parking is open.

57% humidity and steady;
30.42" of mercury and rising.

Promises to be a beautiful day, and definitely cold.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Ear-Numbing" Cold

The slush froze solid in another of our overnight flash-freezes.
A blanket of snow (less than half an inch) coats the hard-irregular-slick ground.
And as yet it has not warmed all that much.
It is just cold.

If you are heading out, and the bright sunshine does invite it, wear boots and leave no uncovered skin.

Currently at the Lodge it is 8:40 am:
18.9 degrees F and rising (albeit slowly);
68% humidity and steady;
29.80" of mercury and rising.

The brook is running, and is surrounded by snow and forming ice.
It is quite beautiful, if also quite cold.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rainfall Records

Ok, now I am having trouble believing this, but the Weather Channel is saying that we have 12.73" of precipitation for the month of February to date. See here:

Weather Channel Month to Date

Not that I am against such numbers, its just that it is so far above and beyond what I had though we were at.

Now the National Weather Service has a precipitation number I can more easily buy at 9.56" month to date, but it also looks as if they separate out snowfall, and maybe that is how the Weather Channel gets the 12.73". Or maybe the Weather Channel is just wrong. See here:

National Weather Service Climate Data

I'll poke around some more on this (feel free to weigh in.)

Suffice to say that we are in another ballpark entirely on rainfall.
Minimum of half a foot more rain than normal. Pretty wild!

I have been thinking about this as I look out over the slush covered trail.

Worcester Visitor and Tourism Center
Climate Change Tourism Marketing Slogan:
"Welcome to the Atlantic North-East Temperate Rainforest!
Home to some of the healthiest mosses and ferns in North America."

Presently it is 12:59 pm at the Lodge:
It is 34.3 degrees F and dropping;
89% humidity and steady;
29.26" od mercury and steady;
no rainfall since midnight.

The trails are very wet.

* * * * * * *
Update on the precipitation record:
The National Weather Service number includes melted snow and ice.
The Weather Channel's number is simply out of whack even by my own rough numbers.

And they said you can't trust the government!

Viva La Republic!

Precipitation Record is Crushed!

2008 - 8.80" ---> 9.17" (minimum until I find a more official tally)
1981 - 8.37"
1900 - 7.45"

It snowed something like an inch and a half before switching over to rain. At the lodge we were able to track the rainfall last night at 0.39", but the snow and rain together eluded us. Suffice to say that we are now well over the best ever recorded for February. If you are going to beat a record for rainfall, why not blow it out of the water? (so to speak!)

Current Conditions at 7:07 am:
33.3 degrees F and steady;
98% humidity and steady;
29.21" of mercury and steady.

Wear waterproof footwear!
There is a thick layer of slush everywhere out there.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The storm that held back, and held back

So we no longer must await the start of the storm predicted for Monday, then Tuesday morning, then Tuesday afternoon. Flurries at last. Though now we look out from the afternoon towards the evening and night for the bulk of the fun.

Flurries have come again, much as they did but then stopped near noon. This time for real! Maybe.

As for the real storm, surely it will come. It should bring some flooding with it.

Currently it is 2:18 and flurries are falling:
37.0 degrees F and steady;
61% humidity and steady;
29.59" of mercury and falling.

Quiet out at the trailhead.

Last Chance for Hiking Before the Storm

Currently it is 7:22 am and partly cloudy.
26.4 degrees F and steady;
85% humidity and steady;
29.74" of mercury and steady.

There are glimpses of sun from time to time but that should fade.

While the barometer is not yet convinced of it the radar map shows that the system is nearly upon us and the National Weather Service says we should expect precipitation after noontime. Since much of this will fall as rain here are two observations:

Hike now while it is dry powdered snow if you are going out today.
If the rain really comes down it will melt the snow cover and the Cascades may again roar this evening into tomorrow morning. We will post when she gets going, and often if they threaten the lodge.


Monday, February 25, 2008

More Bright Sunshine

We wake to bright sunshine, but cold.
There are some whispy clouds, but as yet nothing threatening or darkening our skies.

Hikers and snowshoers came through yesterday and broke the trail here at the trailhead. There were snowshoers up on the Cascades earlier this weekend breaking trail. Boots are pretty key right now.

The visitors lot is open and bare ground.

There is some flow in the brook, though the Cascades are mostly snow covered.

Presently it is 8:02 am:
24.6 degrees F and rising;
77% humidity and steady;
29.83" of mercury and steady.
No precipitation as of late.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Brilliantly Bright and Warm

The sun is blazing, and the temps are up!

1:00 pm :
39.6 degrees F and rising;
45% humidity and falling;
29.94" of mercury and steady.

Hikers have been moving through.

Clear and Chilly

A clear chilly morning with blue skies above the snow. A great day for a hike, but you'll need your boots (at least!).
This morning it's 23 degrees with 78% humidity.
Barometer is high and steady.

As always, updates on trail conditions or photos from your hike are most welcome!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

So we indeed have a precipitation record!

A little bit of research yielded the following.

February total melted precipitation records:

1981 - 8.37"
1900 - 7.45"

2008 ......... 8.80"!

That would be the most recorded snow/rainfall for Worcester since 1892 (116 years).
And we are not even done with February yet!
Heck there is a storm predicted for Tuesday deep in the am running all day.

To give this context the usual rainfall for the month to date of February is 2.41".

Season to date snowfall is 58", so it may be time to pull out our "Moylan Meter."

Trailhead Parking is Open!

7.5" of snow.
There were about ten samples taken.
A triffle more (just shy of 8") in spots.

We were out there and between Karl and Russ snowblowing the plow-mound, and the rest of us armed with shovels the visitor parking is open.

The trail has still not yet seen any activity.

Presently conditions at 12:25 pm:
Cloudy sky, and no wind;
34.0 degrees F and steady;
64% humidity and steady;
29.83" of mercury and steady.

Snowshoes, XC Skis, Gaiters

We have snow depth!
From practically nothing yesterday morning to well over 6" (we'll check depths in a bit out here.)

As of 8:55 am conditions are:
Grey and cloudy,
27.3 degrees F and rising,
79% humidity and falling,
29.85" mercury and steady.

There are no spaces carved out of the parking area as yet.
Approach on foot!

As of this point you would be breaking the trail.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ever Deeper Snow!

As of 4:45 pm we had a hiker wandering around in the snow along the brook and trail. Way to go!

We had 4.5 - 5.0" of snow out there at 4:45 (slightly less under the trees (amazing what bare branches will hold back.))

The weather conditions as we approach dusk at 5:00 pm:
The temperature is 25.2 degrees F;
the humidity is 88%; and the mercury is 29.85" and falling.

Snow, and more snow, and more snow....

1.5 - 1.75" of snow just outside the lodge at the moment.
It is presently coming down pretty fast.

There is no wind, and the crows are very irritated.

Presently it is 1:30 pm and:
26.1 degrees F;
83% humidity;
and 29.97" mercury and falling.

The trails will be hard to make out so keep your eyes up and go from blaze to blaze.

Bare ground one day means..... Snow the next!

It is presently snowing out at Cascading Waters.
This likely means that we are about to have the wettest February on record, ever!
This is the sort of record that is fun to make and break.

[As an aside, no one is particularly sure what the local ramifications will be for global climate change.
There are guesses with computer models to back them up.
Personally I saw a far out one once a few years back that included both the jet stream and the ocean currents changing their circulation patterns pretty dramatically, and failing to mix as much with more equatorial and warmer areas. It had a NORTH AMERICAN ICE AGE REDUX!
Naturally I was very much enamored of such wildness.
Odds on this are practically 0, but I am still holding out hope.

By contrast the Union for Concerned Scientists did a much more probable scenario for the northeast. It involves more rainfall overall, more local flooding generally, more incidence of hurricanes specifically, and an overall temperature more in line with Virginia entering into Massachusetts future.
I prefer this option over desertification in New England.

So as I watch the snows fall and watch another weather record fall (rainfall) in a series of years that set records (high temperatures) I wonder if we are dipping our toes into the future here.]

The hiking is pretty nice with the snow falling.
Careful of underlying ice and consider using poles, staff, or a stick for extra stability.
Good traction boots are in order.

The brook is running, as are the falls, though gently compared to last Sunday and Monday.

As of 9:45 am it is:
22.6 degrees F and steady;
78% humidity and steady;
30.15" of mercury and steady.

Snowfall is over 1/4" and building quickly with a solid blanket over the landscape.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Clear and Bright, but Cold

Hope you caught the lunar eclipse last night!
Watching the moon slowly turn dark and red and reemerge was good fun.
Here at the Lodge we were frequently outside looking it over.
Thankfully the haze burned off just as the moon was getting into its early stages.

Right now we have less snow cover on account of dissipation, sun, and wind.
It is still quite cold, but that is easily countered with walking briskly.

The brook and Cascades are still running but much more sedate.
The Cascades are pretty much back to ice floe status.

As of 8:15 am conditions are:
21 degrees F and rising;
55% humidity and falling;
30.24 " of mercury and rising;
Bright sun and no clouds.

A nice morning outside appears to be in store.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bright, Sunny, Cold

The Cascades Brook continues to run impressively, and the Cascades are running as well.

Last night there was a snowfall that blanketed everything in a thin layer.
It is a tenacious winter. Everytime the ground gets very nearly clear of snow (though never completely clear) it immediately snows again.

This snowfall has made portions of trails very tricky as there is often ice beneath the snow along the trails most used.
Consider a hiking staff, stick, or poles for extra stability. Boots with grip are key, and slower is probably better.

Right now the trailhead parking spaces are open (if a little muddy.)

Present conditions 10:45 AM:
28 degrees F and falling;
47% humidity and steady;
Mercury 29.91" and rising;
Overnight snow fall 1/8th to 1/4 of an inch.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The morning after

The sun is up and bright.
The forest floor is back to the leaves and sticks of the fall, though they are matted down from all the rain.
It is frozen outside.

The Cascades are running fast as is the Cascades Brook.

Right now it is 7:30 am;
The Temperature is 29 degrees F and steady;
The Humidity is 98% and steady;
The barometer reads 29.53" of mercury and rising;
No additional rainfall has registered since last night.

The woods should be drying out today.
Expect very soft trails and areas of isolated flooding.
The Silver Spring Trail often has a brook like characteristic in the rock decline from the amphitheater to the turn before the junction with the Meadow Ridge Trail.
The River Trail and Meadow Ridge Trail crossings of the brook west of Silver Spring Road in Boynton Park (area from the ball field to 122) may be requiring a leap to cross.

Any specific trail observations are appreciated at

Monday, February 18, 2008

Last Look for Flooding


In order to sleep better I headed up to the culvert to take a last look.
Basically the same conditions as 9pm.
60% clear.

I poked at the debris a bit and managed to get the whole grate clear.
Much easier to sleep knowing it is even better now than earlier.
Also easier knowing that it hasn't rained heavily in a while.
We will see what the dawn brings.

Fun tid bit:
The eldest 'junior ranger', 6, was entrusted with the GWLT walkie talkie earlier today during the flooding work and managed it to great effect.

The Cascades and Brook are so loud that at full volume the NOAA weather advisory was inaudible on the walkie talkie in my jacket pocket. The crashing white water stands out vividly in the dark.

More on the Cascades in Full Flow

Tracy manned the Lodge today throughout the storm.

Today saw 0.83" of rain on top of tons of snow and ice that it melted, meaning who knows just how much water drained through the Cascades Brook today?!

Right now it is 9:40 pm;
37 degrees F and falling;
98% humidity and steady;
29.44" of mercury and rising.

Stayed tuned!

DPW told Tracy that the flood doesn't crest until tomorrow!

Getting wetter

The initial flooding of the side of Cascading Waters gradually spread across the yard over the course of the afternoon, as the snowbanks up on Cataract were undermined by the water. The DPW has been by and taken care of that culvert up on the street, so we are okay for now. We've got a pretty good little stream flowing across the backyard of the Lodge right now, heading under the Lodge itself. That's why it's on piers.
For a bit this afternoon, the Cascade Trail coming down from Cataract was impassable and under water. It isn't so now, but it may well be again.

A little wet out there

We've got a flood watch on, and, as always, the problem isn't with the Cascades themselves (which are quite impressive, incidentally!). The culvert farther up on Cataract Street is blocked, and that small stream is flowing across Cataract and down the south side of the Cascading Waters property. We've been out with shovels to try to save the driveway (in October 2005, it washed out). Parking at Cascading Waters could be a questionable proposition for the next day or two, though.
We'll keep you posted.

Ground Fog!

7:30 am
Pretty much 50 degrees F (49.8);
actively raining;
0.47" fell overnight;
98% humidity!;
29.53" mercury and falling.

This isn't over yet.

The melting is in full fast forward.
Past footprints became patches of ice, and now they are bowls of ice filled with water.
Wherever the snow pack was light, like under a coniferous tree, it is bare ground and as wet as quicksand.

Anyone looking to hike ought consider rubber boots/galoshes.

The fog hugs the ground and there are waves of dense fog and thiner fog as the very gentle breeze moves across the landscape.
I am willing to bet that the fog at Cook's Pond across Olean Street is quite impressive as the ice turns back to pond again.
The trees and landscape of the woods always seem more alive with fog.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weather moving in

Well, it couldn't last.

Skies are grey and cloudy, and the mercury is falling.
The cusp of the storm is upon us, and the radar map shows it all the way out to Ohio in a band.

The trail has been quiet.
The brook is running,
the Cascades are flowing beneath the frozen crust and is visible in spots.

Soon the snow/sleet / rain will be upon us.
Stock up the firewood and settle in.

Right now it is 2:30 pm;
35 degrees and falling gently;
59% humidity and steady; and
the mercury is 30.09" and falling.

Sunny and busy yesterday, Sunny and....

Yesterday saw warmish weather (for February anyway) and you could tell out on the trail.
At least five different vehicles worth of hikers came through without counting any local folk on foot. A solid Saturday of activity out here at the Cascades in the winter.

Today, once again it is bright, sunny, and the temperature hopefully will climb up above freezing again.

Right now it is9:00 am:
27 degrees F and rising;
60% humidity and falling; and
30.21" of mercury and steady.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Overall a nice day!

Well, dusk is drawing on at the foot of the Cascades.
The sun sets a little earlier due to the height of the rock strewn slope to the west , with hills beyond that to the west.

A hiker has been through today based on the tracks.

It wasn't too cold, not too windy, and didn't precipitate.
Pretty excellent for such a wild February.

The clear skies and lots of light confirmed the loud noise we heard two nights back with all of the wind.
There was a large diameter very long trunk and canopy (looks to be an ash from a distance) lying on the forest floor.
Follow it with your eyes and it point to a tree trunk that shattered about 5' up.
"Blasted" is the word that comes to mind as you look at it.

Right now it is 4:42pm
The temperature is 39 degrees F and falling
The humidity is 53%, and
The mercury is 29.83" and steady, promising more of the same!

Red Skies at Morning

...and you know what they say about that!
Barometer is falling. There are clouds moving in later today.
Current temperature is 31 degrees with 69% humidity.
The brook is running fast with ice along the edges.
The Cascades Trail is crunchy this morning.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back to artic at the brook

31 degrees F and falling
59% humidity and rising
29.97" mercury and steady

Despite forecasts to the contrary it was a bright sunshiny day.
Even melted in spots.

But now with clear skies, a setting sun, and a base temp of 31 we settle in for a night of freezing.

The brook is still ripping right along so it will be a battle of kinetic force vs. molecular inertia!

Let's see what the morning brings.

Cascades are flash-frozen

From roaring torrent to frozen ice-floe overnight!

Even the brook is looking icy on its edges, and it is moving fast.

Pretty impressive to see the ice on the Cascades given the volume of water that had been moving through just recently.

Currently the conditions are:
27 degrees F
76% humidity
29.74" mercury and rising

The digital raingauge managed to acquire a cap of snow and ice and missed the torrential rains very nearly entirely. 0.04" managed to seep through somehow, so we will see if the manual raingauge had a frozen cap on it as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cascades are ROARING

I know it is late, after dark, and cold,
BUT the Cascades are ROARING!

If you have a flashlight, a sense of adventure, and a yen to do so, head on over to the stone bridge on Cataract Street.
I'd tell you to come in from Olean Street and take the trail but it is really sloppy out there and while a short hike 0.1 mi. it might not be your cup of tea slogging in the dark next to the brook.

This sort of level of flow happens only a few times a given year, and without additional rainfall it will be impressive, but smaller even tomorrow morning. At the moment the brook is fast, furious, and wide. It looks like a different brook entirely.

There are and have been folks with flashlights at the bridge admiring this evening.

34 degrees F
98% humidity
29.41" mercury
at 9:25 pm

What a mess!

The storm, which by our count went through snow, freezing rain, sleet, and rain over nearly 24 hours, has left quite a bit of slop our there! We did manage to clear out one slot this morning, thanks to our neighbors, but everything else is snowed in.
In walking the Cascades trail this morning, we've found a crust on top of four to six inches of snow, under which you may well find water. Go for warm and waterproof, especially on your feet!
Our electronic rain gauge seems to have freaked out with all the types of precipitation. We'll have to give you a report from the manual one.
Currently 34 degrees and still raining here.

Monday, February 11, 2008


That's right.
This morning around 7 a.m. it was 8 degrees F with gusting winds.

The brook, where flat is nearly iced over with slushy water flowing partly on top of the ice and partly through the forming ice. Where the brook has falls it is still open, except at the edges.
As for the Cascades, well 8 degrees and below with winds all night (sometimes fierce) froze it up pretty solid by dawn. There is water running but it is beneath the ice.

By 9 a.m. the temp was up to 11 degrees with a humidity of 54% and winds still gusting.

By 11 a.m. the temp was up to 21 degrees and still rising, but the wind is still with us.

If you are going hiking, leave no exposed area at all, dress warmly, and keep moving!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Snowshowers today

Today's precipitation is falling mainly as snow; it will continue on and off all day.
It is very wet snow. If you follow the hikers that have already come through today (sorry we hadn't gotten out to shovel the parking area yet!), be sure your footwear is waterproof.
Currently it is 37 degrees and clear.
Humidity is 92% and the barometer is falling.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Snowing still

We had about every kind of precipitation possible last night (maybe not hail); the rain gauge shows .20 inches in total. It finally settled on snow this morning and is still lightly snowing now. Expect lightly snow-covered trails this morning over frozen trails, icy in spots.
The Cascades Brook has expanded into its spring wetlands, swamping neighboring trees. The falls are roaring, and look particularly lovely falling down through the snow.
Temperature is 31 degrees. Barometer is steady.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cascades are roaring

Between the rain and the continued snowmelt, the Cascades are roaring full force today. You can hear them inside the Lodge with all the windows closed. Even if you aren't up for a hike, take a cruise down Cataract Street and check them out!
We've had .67 inches of rain today. The bartometer continues to fall.
Current temperature is 36 degrees.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rainy Primary day

Should you decide to punctuate your Primary day with a hike, wear your waterproofs. It has been raining steadily all morning long. The humidity is measuring 98%!
At 11 am, the temperature is 34 degrees. It has been only just hovering above freezing all morning.
The barometer is still falling.
Falls are running fast.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Chilly hikers along the trail

The day started with clear skies, but clouds are moving in now. Two hikers, looking rather chilly, just came through.
It's 34 degrees and falling. 72% humidity. We're expecting some precipitation tonight.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Clear Sunday afternoon along the brook

The brook is running fast and furious this afternoon.
The east side of the bridge still has some ice, making for a fun affect with the water coming under.
And the Cascades, of course, are lovely. Water and ice.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Clear skies, but slippery

The skies this morning are clear. With a brisk wind, rising barometer, and the temperature already at 39 degrees, this should be a good drying day.
Be careful this morning, however: overnight, some of the rain froze. We've had a spill here this morning already!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Storm coming in today

The barometer is falling this morning and the animals outside are busy. A storm is coming in this afternoon.
The temperature outside is 25 degrees. Humidity is 64% this morning.
There's cloud cover already.
The snow remains crunchy this morning. Depending on what the precipitation falls as this afternoon, the trails may not be in great condition later. Get your hike in now!

The ice has started, and then stopped.
There are millions of tiny balls of ice all over the universe.
Other than being kinda nifty and kinda cool it isn't much of a big deal as yet.
Perhaps when it starts back up again it will amount to something.
30 degrees F
78% humidity and rising
30.27" mercury and falling.
as it has been all ice the rain gauge remains silent.
So far no problem for hiking.