Although it’s July, a 12-foot-high frozen mound is a reminder of the record 110.6 inches of snow that accumulated in Boston over the winter.
BOSTON — Now that it’s July, how easy it is to think of Boston’s record snowfall last winter as a bad dream. These days, you can walk outside without dressing in multiple layers. You can even see your car when you stand next to it.
But if you want a reality check, come to the Seaport district, where you will find an astonishing residual artifact from the glory days of February: a 12-foot-high frozen mound, a remnant of the record 110.6 inches of snow that accumulated in Boston over the winter.
Yes, some of that snow is still here. No, it has not all melted yet. Yes, it is July.
“We watched it pile up and have been watching it slowly get smaller and smaller,” said Breanna Brown, 21, an intern at a nearby law firm. “It’s almost gone — thank God.”
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This otherwise empty lot is the last of 11 “snow farms” that Boston created during a punishing winter when it had nowhere left to move the relentlessly falling snow. This particular mound, once a stunning 75 feet high and blanketing 4 acres, lingers because it was by far the biggest.
“There were times when we had it packed really high, and when it got a little dirty, new snow would come, and it was beautiful,” said Michael Dennehy, the commissioner of public works. “It looked like the White Mountains.”
Also, the snow was tightly compacted with debris that the plows unavoidably picked up while clearing the roads over and over again — covering mileage equivalent to almost 12 trips around the equator. That collection of trash helped insulate the dense, thick pile from the sun’s rays. And there has been little rain, which could have accelerated the melting. All this has created the oddity that remains: an ice-encased, cinder-encrusted mound of snow laced with urban flotsam and jetsam, from candy wrappers to fire hydrants.
The well-insulated mound is actually chilly. Standing next to it is like standing next to a freezer with the door open. The gelid interior keeps any melting to a trickle.
“Water coming off the mound was refreezing because this mass is so cold,” said Daniel Nee, supervisor of the highway crews. “It’s its own little ecosystem.”
It looks like a landfill, but it has become a landmark. It is now a frequent backdrop for photos, and a kind of mascot for workers in this semi-industrial part of town who have lived with it for almost six months.
It has even attracted the attention of the mayor, who has started a contest on Twitter asking people to guess when it will finally melt and leave its frozen coil.
On June 25, with no end in sight, Mayor Martin J. Walsh asked people to use the hashtag #BOSMeltNow and tweet their best guess of “the day we have all been waiting for.”
A few optimists chose July 4. Many others picked dates in August or September. Some have ventured into October.
One person suggested it would all melt by Aug. 7, then dared add what few have expressed out loud: “Or maybe won’t melt before next snow comes, lol.”