MEREDITH — Town road agents and public works directors say this year's mud season has been much milder than in the recent past in the central part of the state, to their delight.
All the snow remaining from winter had many people thinking the state would be in for a troublesome mud season.
But as Ashland Public Works Director Tim Paquette said, there haven't been any "hot spells" in the past few weeks to cause the late snow pack to melt quickly — a recipe for mud on the state's dirt roads most years.
"As long as we don't get any big warm-ups, I think it won't be too bad this year," Paquette said.
Belmont Public Works Director Jim Fortin took it a bit further in looking forward on Monday. The state was due to receive an inch or more of rain Monday night. Combine that with by 50- and 60-degree temperatures this week, and mud season may pass by week's end, he said.
"I think the rain (Monday night) will take away the rest of the snow," Fortin said.
A "mild" mud season is already occurring, and the rains "will cause some road problems," he said.
"But we're not having a normal year for mud," Fortin said. "It's been a very nice spring thaw so far."
Gilmanton, which has a large number of dirt roads and has had some bad mud seasons recently, is also doing well so far, according to town Road Agent Paul Perkins.
Two years ago, mud season was so bad that several school buses full of children had to be pulled out of bad mud areas in town.
This year? "It's not too bad, really, there are some shady areas on roads that stay cold while the sunny parts get warmer, and that has caused some problems, but compared to other years, not bad," Perkins said.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Bob Marine said the heavy rains are not likely to remove most of the central New Hampshire snow pack and snow will very likely remain in northern towns. There's still 20 to 30 inches of snow on the ground in central parts of the state.
"The snow may disappear from the rains in some towns, but probably not in most," he said.
"I think the rain will take a lot of the snow, I don't know about all of it," Perkins said. "But either way, I don't see any major mud problems ahead."