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Cold Weather Events Forced to Cancel Amid Mild Winter

Aside from two bone chilling weekends, it has been a very mild winter in New England with well below average snowfall. Daily record highs were broken across the region last week and more could be broken at the end of this week. Temperatures for the first part of next week are forecast to be well above average as well. February is typically the snowiest month for New England, but, aside from some very light snow showers, there has been nothing this year.

All of this is starting to cause some serious problems for annual events that rely on the cold and snow. Lake Champlain's 43rd annual Islands Fishing Derby scheduled for this past weekend was canceled hours before the event was set to start.

This derby has raised thousands of dollars for local charities in the past. This came after three people died after falling through the thin ice in two separate incidents on the lake. Officials in Vermont have ordered people to stay off the lake until colder weather comes back.

Bare ground on a trail for the sled race. Photo: Adam Drapcho (The Laconia Daily Sun)

In New Hampshire, organizers of the World Championship Dog Sled Derby, which takes place in Laconia, had to cancel the 94th edition of the event yesterday. Despite a train of snowstorms a few weeks ago, the ground along the course was mainly bare.

Since the ground never really froze this winter, the 20 inches of snow just melted and seeped right into it. An alternate course couldn't be used as part of that course would have gone over the still open Lake Winnisquam. The purse to be awarded this year will likely be rolled over to next year's race.

Two other events scheduled in New Hampshire's lakes region were forced to change plans earlier this month. The Pond Hockey Classic, which normally takes place on Lake Winnipesaukee, had to move to the smaller Lake Waukewan. The ice was less than ideal, but the game was played. In a bit of irony, the first day of the tournament featured sub zero temperatures and a wind chill in the -40s.

The Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby took place this past weekend on Lake Winnipesaukee and surrounding lakes. The ice conditions weren't great, but the event went on, however, the iconic "bob house city" on Meredith Bay was missing. The ice was much too thin for anything heavier than people.

New Hampshire's iconic snowmobile trails have also taken a big hit this winter. New Hampshire Snowmobile Association vice president Brian Labrie is holding out hope for more snow before spring arrives. Labrie said:

"I'm very hopeful, I'm always hopeful that we're going to have a continued good year and I'm trying to keep a positive mindset that it'll turn on a dime"

Being February, there is a pretty good chance of things "turning on a dime" before winter is all done. The 8-14 day temperature outlook is now leaning toward below average temperatures for February 22-28 in northern New England.



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