We started this week with our largest snowfall of this season, many areas picking up close to 5 inches from Sunday to Monday night. At the end of the week, we’ll see a warmup. This may be good news for most of us, but for some……not so much.
Tarps cover piles of snow in Sinnissippi Park as preparations are underway one of Rockford’s favorite winter events. Nearly 100 talented sculptors lining the street to showcase their eye-opening work. The annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition has been running since 1986. However, in recent years, the Rockford Park District has had to utilize a tool that all the sculptors were missing…….snow.
John Beck of the Rockford Park District said, “It was our 30th anniversary and we were just like, ‘There’s no snow,’ and we’d already postponed a week. We can’t believe we’re not going to be able to have this event.”
The incident led them to purchase machines used to create snow in 2017, when conditions weren’t much better, with a snow deficit of 12 inches for the year. This year, it’s a six-inch deficit so far, but there’s a chance for warmer temperatures and even rain, giving the Park District only one solution.
Rockford Park District Events and Recreation Projects Manager, John Beck, says, “There’s not much you can do. They do have tarps. A lot of the ice sculpting teams that have the smaller blocks, the 6-foot blocks, a lot of them bring out pop-up tents to protect their blocks both from the sun and any rain that might fall.”
This year, they actually have snow to protect, as nearly 5 inches fell at the start of the week. However, we’re still behind, even though we’re in a La Niña weather pattern, which should produce more snowfall. Why is this?
A La Niña occurs when temperatures in the Eastern Pacific are colder, pushing the jet stream up north and creating the perfect storm track for the Midwest. Except, something got in the way this year: the Arctic Blast, which kept us cold and dry, and kept the extra moisture out, resulting in less snowfall.
In the meantime, the Park District continues to push forward, doing anything they can to keep the competition going.
Beck adds, “It’s truly a community event, and I think that people really appreciate it. It’s unique. It’s something that we can be proud of to have here in Rockford.”
The sculpting starts tomorrow morning at 7am. The competition begins Saturday at 10am in Sinnissippi Park.