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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

And the Stream Goes Down

The Cascades Brook keeps going down and down with each day without new rains.
That being said, the brook would generally be lower than it is even now without Irene, so it will continue to go down unless we get new rains.
At the moment that isn't supposed to happen until Saturday.

Other fun and exciting things are afoot!

Some number of years ago the idea came up of working on pedestrian links between open spaces in the City. A neat idea to be sure, but how would you go about it?
Not so way back in June there was a City Council order, responding to a petition forwarded by District Councilor Bill Eddy, exploring the possibility of a cross walk on Olean Street to link GWLT's Cascading Waters to the Cook's Pond Conservation Area.
Subsequently City DPW staffers explored the request, the reasons, the existing infrastructure, and the crosswalk rules.
Last night the item made it to the Traffic and Parking subcommittee of the City Council where it was approved.

At some point in the not too distant future there will be a crosswalk connecting these two conservation areas.
The hike from Tory Fort Lane, Worcester to Rte. 122 and Camp Street in Paxton is about to get even more pedestrian friendly!
Thank you City of Worcester!

7:33 pm Evening Conditions:

No wind;
No rain;
5.52" of flow in the Cascades Brook (way way down);
70.7 degrees F and falling;
85% humidity and rising;
29.44" of Hg pressure and steady;
USFS Fire Danger Class of LOW.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


We've got another clear day here at the Lodge.
The water is still flowing over the Cascades. We've had a report in from the trails that, while there is debris from the storm on the trails, there are no trees down. Thanks, Tina!
65.1 degrees and rising
81% humidity and falling
29.35 inches of mercury and steady
No rainfall since yesterday
The stream is at 6.12 inches, which you'll note is a whole FOOT less than Sunday!
No wind

Monday, August 29, 2011

Post-Irene calm

Certainly the post-storm calm out there this morning!
At 7:30 am, it is 58.3 degrees and steady, rather chilly actually.
84% humidity
29.06 inches of pressure and rising.
In total, we had 3.66 inches of rain during the storm.

We avoided most damage up here in the Lodge. We've got several sizable trees down: one across the driveway, one across the trail, one behind the shed.
We are asking all hikers and walkers to please report in with downed trees or blocked trails.
We need to know what trail, and where/about how far in.
If you can try to classify what is bowsawable (up to 10" or so) and what is chainsawable (=or > 12") that would be great. Many thanks!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cascades, Worcester: Tropical Storm Irene: 8/28/2011

For those of you who didn't get a chance to hike the Cascades Trail today and see the rainfall from Tropical Storm Irene roaring down the Cascades and Cascades Brook!

5pm update: beyond the eye

It was fairly calm there for some time, and then the wind picked back up. We're seeing gusts of up to 30 mph again now.
The brook has also somewhat subsided; it's down to 13.2, surging to 14.4 inches.
It is 68.4 degrees and steady.
Still 98 percent humidity
28.26 inches of mercury and falling
We've had a total of 3.66 inches of rain here during the storm.

Noon update: gusts of 58 mph!

While we off at church this morning, we had half a tree come down across the driveway. We've also got some birches along the south property bound down, and a sizable one right along the back of the shed. Narrow misses!
The brook is 18 inches surging to 20.4 inches.
While we are very sheltered here between the trees and the hill, yet we are still seeing wind gusts of up to 58 mph (Note: I've had to change that FOUR times while typing this!).
It is 69.4 degrees F and steady.
98 percent humidity and raining steadily.
The pressure is 28.35 inches of mercury and FALLING.
We've had 3.58 inches of rain during the storm.
The Cascades are ROARING!

Morning update: 7 am

The Cascades are running!
The brook is up to 8.4 inches, and the secondary stream channel is open and flowing.
So far, for this storm we' ve gotten 2.09 inches of rain.
The wind has picked up, with a top speed thus far of 15 mph.
It is 71.9 degrees and steady.
The humidity, with rain falling, is 98 percent.
The barometer is 28.67 inches of mercury and dropping.
I'd say Irene is here!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

10:30 pm update

Not really raining here at the Lodge right now, and the frogs are singing full blast.
The brook remains at 6 inches.
There is still no wind.
The pressure is at 29.12 and steady.
It is 69.8 degrees and steady.
98 percent humidity and steady
We've had 0.55 inches of rainfall today.

Next post in the morning, unless something big changes during the night.

As of 5:30 pm

The brook has now risen to 6 inches.
There is no wind.
We've had a total of 0.43 inches of rain.
Currently there are 29.15 inches of mercury, and that's holding steady.
It is 71.1 degrees and steady.
We've got 97% humidity.

And, yes, we've made sure that the culvert above us is clear!

Rain just started

The rain from Irene just started here at the Lodge, where our hurricane preparations have included getting the weather reporters (wind gauge, rain gauge) back up online. We'll post (so long as we have service) updates as they're interesting.
Right now it's 76.6 degrees, 78% humidity, lightly raining.
Barometer is at 29.18 and steady (the center is pretty far away yet)
No measurable wind

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Trail Angels"

There is a notion out on the Appalachian Trail that when someone does a gratuitous kind act to help others they are "trail angels." At first this sounds a bit over dramatic, like a bad Hallmark card, but when you read about the sorts of acts of kindness and the amount of trouble folks engage in it rings true.

Well, today, with the path for Hurricane Irene centered on Worcester, MA we had just that sort of wonderful act take place.

There is a giant canvas wall tent that we set up for the summer. We use this for interns, volunteers, projects driven under cover by rain, etc. Well it is up, and it is held up by a series of 32+ ropes, and it is subject to the influence and action of the wind. 35 mph wind and a canvas wall tent are a poor combination, never mind 75 mph, and if you want to be able to use the tent again you need to get it down on the ground.

No problem, there are DAYS before the hurricane hits (assuming it hits.) Only this morning it was threatening rain, and you can't put away a wet canvas tent for the season without ruining it, and taking it down wet, and trying to set it up wet, just to dry it and take it down again, is a seriously unpleasant prospect.

But then the volunteers to work on trail signs, property signs, and timber framing arrived. Despite this being totally different, somewhat tedious, and definitely heavy, they each joined in and got the tent down dry and stored it away.

In an act of less than half an hour they save days of work, and for that, to me, this morning, they were indeed "trail angels."

Then they did an immense amount of timber work, stayed extra time, and shared great stories and camaraderie.

It was a splendid morning here at Cascading Waters.

Thank you Michele, Russ, and Ron!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another Sunny Day!

As the pink rose along the stone wall begins to mature, a red rose bed promises to expand soon!
A squirrel has decided to enjoy the vantage point of sitting atop one of the stone cairns.
It looks to be a great day out on the trails.

Conditions at the Lodge as of 9:15 a.m.:

64 degrees F;
no precipitation;
29.21" of Barometric Pressure;
a slight breeze moving through the leaves;
the brook is already down to 3.84" of flow, and receding quickly without constant rain to feed it;
USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Suuny! At last!

Last week I caught sight of the local red fox crossing Olean Street at 7:30 am.
This morning there is a pink rose in bloom along the field stone wall, and there are small frogs that leap in the grass as you pass by.
Wood asters are in bloom in a delicate petaled white, while the tail end of the Jewelweed is still present with orange blossoms having grown just a little higher.
Fall may be heading our way, but don't rush it! Summer is still in bloom.

10:00 am conditions:

65.8 degrees F;
70% humidity;
Blue skies!, breeze;
rain yesterday (as of the airport readings) 0.04";
the Cascades Brook is running at 4.56";
the barometric pressure is 29.03" of Hg;
the USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

The trails are in good shape, and the short section of the Cascades Trail here at Cascading Waters was cut back this weekend to make passage easier (while dispatching some invasive exotic Winged Euonymous at the same time.)

On the rainfall front, it has been a bumper crop for wet this month!

This month alone has seen 6.58" of rain! (usually it would be about just over 2.5"!!!)
The year to date rainfall is 38.47" (usually about 30"!!!)
127% of norm for the year, and 250% of norm for the month!!

So, enjoy the sun!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Yesterday's Rains

So, yesterday's rains still have the world soaked through.

A few interesting thoughts:
1.) It didn't rain a drop over by Lake Quinsigamond!
2.) It only rained 0.26" up at the airport, very nearby to the Lodge,
3.) And yet here we had deep standing water on bare ground and a stream flowing through the grass out back.

Pretty amazing, localized, and the world is more green this morning as a result.

Also fun, driving north on Olean Street/Reservoir Road (Holden side) there were downed limbs and an occasional tree from the passing torrent of a storm.

Presently at 8:45 am the conditions here are:
69 degrees;
77% humidity;
29.23" of Hg barometric pressure;
(The Rain gauge was OF COURSE out of order yesterday (my luck!));
The stream is running at 6" of flow (up from 4.8" early yesterday);
The USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE;
and there is only a gentle stirring of leaves.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Now THAT was a storm!

Numerous nearby lightning strikes!
Hail, more hail, and still more hail! (usually it lets up after a minute or two.)
Rain so fast and furious that the gutters couldn't keep up and water spilled along the entire length.
The glen out front was standing water and a stream ran through the backyard towards the driveway access.
The hail created diagonal patterns or ricocheting white off of the roof angles.
And even now, with the sun out, the rain over, everything is dripping furiously and the lightning still strikes nearby!

That was a storm!