‘Weather Nut’ calls this section of Mass. ‘the Triangle of Disappointment’ for snow lovers | Bot To News


Dave Hayes considers himself a lover of snow. He’s not a meteorologist by trade or training, but through decades of fascination with the weather, he’s learned a thing or two.

One of those lessons, based on his meteorological skills and more than 30 years of residing in western Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley, is this: Compared to its neighbors to the east and west, the region might be the most disappointing place for those who I love to see a heavy snowfall in New England.

Hayes, a resident of Hampshire County, is the unofficial meteorologist for Western Massachusetts. And there’s territory he’s outlined that, for various reasons, tends to get less snow compared to the Worcester Hills or the Berkshires, he says. From Greenfield, at the north end of the valley, the region stretches south along the Interstate 91 corridor to Westfield and east toward Wilbraham, before reconnecting to Greenfield to the north, forming a triangle.

It’s not a supposedly dangerous triangle, like the one in southwestern Bermuda. Quite the opposite. Hayes calls it the “Western Mass Snow Lovers’ Triangle of Disappointment.”

If you meet Hayes in Twitter, Facebook, or your website, it’s likely to be branded as “Dave Hayes the Weather Nut.” Dispatches from him about the weather from the western half of Massachusetts arrive every day, explaining to locals precisely when he might start snowing in the Springfield area, or how strong the nightly winds could be in the Berkshires.

But when a winter storm heads into Massachusetts, Hayes often draws attention to the Triangle of Disappointment, which shows up very clearly on snowfall maps.

david hayes

Northampton weather enthusiast Dave Hayes. Online, it’s known as “The Weather Nut.”

After a snowstorm in mid-March 2018, the Pioneer Valley had much less snow than eastern Massachusetts, the Worcester region, or the Berkshires. That March 13 storm delivered two feet of snow to Newton, nearly that much to Worcester, more than a foot to Leicester and as much as 18 inches to some of the Hilltowns, according to the National Weather Service. But there sat Amherst, Springfield, and Westfield, with a measly 3 to 4 inches of snow to report.

“There it is: WMass Snow Lovers’ Triangle of Disappointment,” Weather Nut tweeted. “It’s real, folks. VERY REAL.”

The Triangle of Disappointment is only disappointing, of course, for those who enjoy a New England blizzard.

Hayes fell in love with the weather as a child, looking at forecasts from Bob Copeland and other legendary Boston meteorologists, then looking outside to see the brilliant colors of a storm on the radar in reality.

“I would sit in front of the television at 6:13 pm, knowing that the weather would set at 6:15,” he said.

Hayes leaned toward announcers who would explain why weather events occurred, and not just what was happening. He started watching the Weather Channel in the 1990s, still in the early years of the network. When the Internet went online, he unlocked a new wealth of knowledge. In 2011, Hayes began posting her tips online. The idea caught on and grew steadily at first, and then much faster. From a few thousand followers on social media around 2013, Hayes now has over 51,000 today.

david hayes

Mount Belmonte, 93.9 FM – The River’s morning anchor talks with WWLP Meteorologist Brian Lapis, center, and Western Massachusetts “Weather Nut” Dave Hayes (left), then of Deerfield, during the fifth annual 26-mile ‘Mountain March’ from Northampton to Greenfield, November 6, 2014. The event is a fundraiser for the Western Massachusetts Food Bank. (Greg Saulmon/The Republican).baton shot

“People were telling me that I was helping them and that they were enjoying it and benefiting from it,” he said. “I wanted to be helpful to people, and when I heard that I was helping people around one of my passions, it was a no-brainer.”

Hayes is not a meteorologist, he points out, but he is an enthusiast who has followed and learned about the weather his entire life. He is a weather freak.

There are a few reasons, says Hayes, why the Triangle of Deception exists.

As the storms move from west to east in their typical fashion, they encounter the Berkshires. When air hits a mountain range, it has nowhere to go but up, where it cools, condenses, and sometimes precipitates. On the other side of the Berkshires, the air descends into the valley and tends to dry out and evaporate.

There is also the general elevation of the foothills to the east and west of the Pioneer Valley. As blizzards pass over the Berkshires, there is a better chance for snow in the colder, higher altitude regions. If the temperature is around freezing in the valley, it may not be ripe for snow. But five or ten degrees cooler in the hills, conditions may be better.

Another minor cause of the Triangle is its remoteness from the coast and the area most affected by strong northeastern coastal storms, Hayes said. There are other reasons, but they become progressively more technical.

So while the Berkshires town of Lenox has averaged nearly 5 feet of snow over the past five winters, Amherst has averaged about 2 1/2 feet, according to National Weather Service records.

The Triangle of Disappointment is just a catchy way to sum up the experience of being a snow lover in the unique landscape of Pioneer Valley. The term, Hayes said, “was just a little thing that popped out of my brain at five in the morning one morning.”

Not everyone is a fan of a severe winter storm, whether it’s the kind that dropped more than 30 inches of dust on some Massachusetts cities last winter, or a minor system that leaves enough buildup to force school cancellations.

“Some people love to live in the Triangle of Disappointment,” Hayes said. “There are a lot of people who don’t like winter and a lot of people who don’t like snow for various reasons. And they have no problem when the forecast is down.”

Hayes is not one of them.

“I love the snow and I live in the valley,” he said. “For a snow lover, I’m living in the wrong place.”





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