Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

 

Summary:  2.2” snow total in Waterbury (495’) as of 6:00 A.M. EST

 

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009:  6:00 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 2.2 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.16 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 13.8

Snow Density:  7.3% H2O

Temperature:  22.8 F

Humidity:  88%

Dew Point:  18.5 F

Barometer:  29.83 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Light Snow

Storm snow total:  2.2 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  0.16 inches

Current snow at the stake:  12 inches

Season snowfall total:  90.4 inches

 

It was snowing lightly when I left the house in Waterbury (495’) this morning a bit after 6:00 A.M., with fairly small flakes ranging up to perhaps 0.5 cm in diameter.  Driving through the mountains on I-89, the temperature was 25 F, and after about 5 minutes the snow pretty much stopped.  As I approached the Richmond/I-89 Exit 11 area (300’), the temperature bumped up a degree to 26 F, and for several minutes it sounded like there was some sleet on my car windshield.  As I ascended the French Hill area (~600-700’) toward Williston, snow began to fall with fairly large flakes, and the snowfall intensity ramped up to moderate.  The temperature remained at 26 F all the way to the UVM campus, where the same moderate snow was falling.  The snowflakes were up to ~1.5 cm in diameter.  I parked my car in the campus parking garage since I suspect there will be additional snow today, and the walk across campus to my building (380’) was quite a treat.  There was the moderate snowfall with big flakes, there was no wind, and the temperature was really nice.  It would certainly be a good morning to take a walk in the Burlington area if you like to walk in the snowfall.  I checked the snow accumulation in a couple spots on campus, and found about 1.5 inches of accumulation as of ~7:00 A.M.  Overall, the roads I traveled (mostly I-89) were in good shape, I-89 was blacktop in the well-traveled lane.  Route 2 in the Waterbury area and the roads here in Burlington were snow covered, but I didn’t find them too slick.

 

J.Spin

 

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Summary:  3.1” snow total in Waterbury (495’) as of 10:00 A.M. EST

 

I just checked in with my wife who’s at home with boys due to school cancellation, and after checking the snowboard she said there’s been an additional 0.9 inches of snow since I cleared it this morning.  She also indicated that they were now getting some sleet.  Here in Burlington on the UVM campus it’s been light snow most of the morning, and I haven’t seen/heard any signs of sleet yet.

 

J.Spin

 

 

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As of ~11:30 A.M. I’m hearing ticks on my window here at the UVM campus in Burlington, and I can see that there is light sleet falling now with a few flurries of snow.

 

J.Spin

 

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Summary:  4.3” storm total in Waterbury (495’) as of 6:30 P.M. EST

 

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009:  5:30 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 1.6 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.52 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 3.1

Snow Density:  32.5% H2O

Temperature:  30.7 F

Humidity:  85%

Dew Point:  25.3 F

Barometer:  29.23 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Moderate Snow

Storm snow total:  3.8 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  0.68 inches

Current snow at the stake:  13 inches

Season snowfall total:  92.0 inches

 

On the UVM campus in Burlington today we had light snow until ~11:30 A.M., then I noticed some ticks on the window and the precipitation was light sleet, and finally a bit after noon the precipitation was over to a few spits of rain.  There didn’t appear to be much going on during the early afternoon, but as time went on light rain began to fall again.  I left Burlington at around 5:00 P.M., and as I walked over to the UVM parking garage the precipitation was light rain.  I couldn’t tell if it was freezing rain or not during my walk, because the temperature felt borderline, but a light glaze had formed on untreated paved surfaces, and there was a notable crust on the snow.  Treated surfaces were just wet.  I got to my car and the temperature read 32 F, right at the freezing point.

 

I pulled out of the parking garage and the rain immediately began to freeze on my windshield and obstruct my vision, and it was touch and go for a moment there as to whether I’d have to pull over and let the car warm up as I kicked all my defrosting elements into high gear.  The defrosters kicked in within a few moments, so I was on my way down I-89.  Through the Burlington area the precipitation was just light rain, and the car thermometer stayed at 32 F.  Interestingly, as I approached Williston the temperature rose to 33 F and then 34 F, but the precipitation (presumably following temperatures higher in the atmosphere) seemed to simultaneously be going in the other direction as it started turning to sleet with what looked like an occasional flake of snow.  The temperature remained at 34 F through Richmond, Jonesville, and even Bolton, and the precipitation seemed to fluctuate between the light rain, or the light sleet with occasional flecks of snow.  I was amazed that the temperature had stayed at 34 F all the way into the mountains, but finally as I approached Waterbury and the Washington/Chittenden county line, things began to change again.  The precipitation changed over to all sleet, then snow began to mix in, and finally about a mile before I got the house, the precipitation was entirely over to moderate snowfall.  In that same span the temperature dropped from 34 F down to 33 F and 32 F, and finally when I got to the house at around 5:30 P.M. the house thermometer was reading 30.7 F.  I was once again amazed at the ability of the Green Mountains to separate the weather.

 

On the snowboard I found 1.6 inches of accumulation, which was snow on the bottom, and then some sleet, and then a trace of the new snow that was falling on top.  I’d cleared the snowboard at 6:00 A.M., and my wife indicated that we’d had an additional 0.9 inches of snow as of 10:00 P.M., but she’d also said that there was some sleet falling at that point.  The 0.9 inches of snow didn’t seem to be squashed down too hard by the sleet, and it fact it didn’t seem like there was all that much sleet in there, but there clearly was a good dose of it because the 0.52 inches of liquid equivalent in there spoke of some serious density in just 1.6 inches of accumulation.  Assuming the local mountains did at least as well as we did, the 0.68 inches plus of liquid are going to be good for building the snowpack.

 

The moderate snowfall continued while I worked on my observations and ate dinner, so I took a couple of intermediate depth measurements off the snowboard:

 

5:30 P.M.: 0” snow total

6:00 P.M.: 0.3” snow total

6:30 P.M.: 0.5” snow total

 

So the snowfall seemed to be in the range of ~0.5”/hr during that period, but since then it has let up to somewhere between light snow and flurries.

 

J.Spin

 

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After slowing down to almost nothing for a while (there was a visible dry area on the radar as well), the snowfall here in Waterbury has been revitalized to light/moderate intensity with some nice big flakes up to the 1 cm+ diameter range.  Based on what I see on the radar we might have another good round of fluff; I’ll try to do a check on the accumulation at ~9:00 P.M.

 

-J.Spin

 

 

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As of 9:00 P.M. there’s 0.8 inches of snow on the snowboard, up from 0.5 inches at 8:30 P.M., so it looks like the snowfall is moderate at ~0.6”/hr.

 

J.Spin

 

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Thursday, January 7th, 2009

 

Summary:  7.5” storm total in Waterbury (495’) as of 6:00 A.M. EST

 

Thursday, January 8th, 2009:  6:00 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 3.7 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.24 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 15.4

Snow Density:  6.5% H2O

Temperature:  30.6 F

Humidity:  98%

Dew Point:  29.9 F

Barometer:  29.12 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Moderate/Heavy Snow

Storm snow total:  7.5 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  0.92 inches

Current snow at the stake:  16 inches

Season snowfall total:  95.7 inches

 

I last checked the snowboard at ~10:00 P.M. yesterday and there were 1.1 inches of snow on it, so we picked up 2.6 inches in the 10:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. timeframe.  The snowfall this morning has generally been moderate, with occasional periods of heavier intensity.  There are some good dendrites in the snowfall, diameters up to 0.5”-1.0” at times, but the snow is certainly building up with more density/less loft than some of our upslope stuff.  This storm is approaching an inch of liquid equivalent, which is nice to see as it should do a decent job of resurfacing the local slopes, especially since the snow has a bit of heft to it thanks to the sleet in there.

 

J.Spin

 

 

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Summary:  10.5” storm total in Waterbury (495’) as of 8:45 P.M. EST

 

Thursday, January 7th, 2009:  6:00 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 2.5 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.10 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 25.0

Snow Density:  4.0% H2O

Temperature:  18.5 F

Humidity:  68%

Dew Point:  7.0 F

Barometer:  29.50 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Moderate Snow

Storm snow total:  10.0 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  1.02 inches

Current snow at the stake:  17 inches

Season snowfall total:  98.2 inches

 

After clearing the snowboard at 6:00 A.M. this morning, our storm total in Waterbury (495’) was at 7.5 inches, and it was snowing pretty hard.  The intensity of the snowfall lightened up not too long after that, but by the time I headed up to the mountain at around 8:30 A.M. there was an additional 0.4 inches of snow on the board to bring our valley storm total to 7.9 inches.  We had a couple big gusts of wind come through at the house, so I was concerned about what was going to be going on up at the mountain, but in general our winds were pretty calm in the valley.  Parking up in the Bolton Valley village (~2,100’) the temperature was 26 F and the air was calm with an occasional light breeze.  Up near the top of the terrain park (~2,400’) I checked on the powder and measured 12 inches of loose snow over the base.  I couldn’t tell if it was all from this storm, but Bolton was reporting 11 inches in the past 48 hours (representing their storm total as of this morning) with 6 to 8 inches in the past 24 hours.  Testing with my poles I could find that there was a thicker layer in the middle of the new powder accumulation, which presumably was a manifestation of some sleet that fell.  It wasn’t snowing when I first got to the mountain, but the snowfall began to build while I was there with some brief bouts of moderate/heavy stuff.  Winds came in with the new snow, and while they stayed fairly light on the lower half of the mountain, up at the Vista Summit (3,150’) they were in the 20-30 MPH range.  When I was leaving the mountain around 10:00 A.M., the precipitation was all out heavy snow comprised of big flakes, and the temperature had dropped a bit to about the 24-26 F range.  I headed down the access road and descended out of the snow, and at the bottom in the Winooski Valley (340’) the snow had completely stopped and the temperature ranged from 28-30 F while I drove to Burlington.

 

I occasionally checked out the mountains from the UVM campus during the morning, and at first it looked like the weather was going to clear out as the clouds began to rise up.  There were just pockets along the Green Mountain spine where you could see snow crashing out of the clouds, and at one point it looked to be just the Bolton Valley area that was receiving snowfall.  But, as the afternoon wore on, the white wall along the mountains began to build.  I watched a big area of snow move down from the north and swallow up Mt. Mansfield from north to south, and soon the mountains had all disappeared.  The snowfall was certainly becoming more widespread because eventually the wall of white even started to build toward the Champlain Valley.  First it enveloped the foothills, and then finally it even started to snow lightly in Burlington.  The snow in Burlington gradually tapered off, but the snow appeared to stay in the mountains for the rest of the day.  By the time I was leaving Burlington around 5:30 P.M., it very much felt like the storm was over in town.  I could look out toward Lake Champlain to the west and see some areas of open sky with a little color from the last rays of the sun.  I couldn’t see the mountains the east because it was too dark, but I’d soon find out that the storm wasn’t quite finished over there.

 

The drive home from Burlington this evening was once again the tale of two worlds, but unlike last night where there was a sharp demarcation between the rain/sleet mix and snowfall, this time changes came on more gradually as I headed into the mountains.  I left Burlington and there was no precipitation, and even when I stopped in Richmond to grab a few groceries, there was nothing falling from the sky.  I expected that to last all the way home to Waterbury, but as I hit the Jonesville area some flakes began to fall.  From that point on, the snowfall just continued to intensify until I found myself in lots of wind and borderline heavy snowfall in the Bolton Flats area.  The visibility went way down, and the roads were covered with falling and drifting snow.  Throughout the drive, the temperature had fluctuated in the range of 20-22 F.

 

Back at the house I found 2.5 additional inches of snow on the snowboard, and it was notably drier snow than what had fallen in the morning, coming in at 4.0% H2O.  We’ve now actually passed an inch of liquid equivalent for this event down here in the valley, with 1.02 inches according to my measurements, although I find it interesting that the liquid equivalents for Mt. Mansfield from the past two days only add up to 0.95 inches based on the hydrologic reports.  Our snowpack here in Waterbury has not yet topped our season high of 22 inches that we attained after the December 21-22 upslope event, but today Mt. Mansfield flew right past their previous high for the season, reaching 51 inches at the stake.  A current plot of my Waterbury snowpack data and the Mt. Mansfield data is included below:

 

 

Although it didn’t look like this storm was going to deliver quite the snow it might have with the way the upper level warmth brought in some sleet, there have still been some decent storm totals for the local mountains, here are some I’ve seen reported listed from north to south:

 

Jay Peak:  20 inches

Smuggler’s Notch:  20 inches

Stowe:  18 inches

Bolton Valley: 13 inches

Mad River Glen:  8 inches

Sugarbush:  8 inches

Killington:  17 inches

Okemo:   7 inches

Bromley:  9 inches

Magic Mountain:  12 inches

Stratton:  13 inches

Mount Snow:  12 inches

 

The moderate snow that was falling when I arrived home tapered off after a bit, but as of 8:45 P.M. light snowfall is back and there are currently 0.5 inches on the snowboard.

 

J.Spin

 

 

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I covered some of the Bolton snow conditions from this morning in my evening weather update, but here’s a little more detail on the skiing.  The powder was certainly heavier than some of the upslope powder events we’ve had over the past month, but I’d say part of that feel came from the fact that there was the thicker layer of material lower down in the powder, and that seemed to keep one higher in the snow.  It was great snow overall though because it really set down a substantial covering (~1” of liquid or more) on much of the mountain.  It still looks like some of the more steep windswept trails are going to need at least another round of this type of snow before they ski really well, but based on what Bolton says on their website, they will be opening more terrain this weekend:

 

“For those of you who've made it all the way to the end of the report, I'll offer a little tease. I'm not mysterious by nature, but all I can say is look for us to expand our terrain for the weekend. Considering that everything under the Vista, Mid-Mountain, and Snowflake lifts is open, there aren't too many possibilities as to what that could mean. We hope to see you out there with us, carving up all this snow.”

 

I’ve added one image from today to provide an idea of the snow consistency.

 

J.Spin

 

 

Here’s a Waterbury/Bolton weather and conditions update from this morning.  After clearing the snowboard at 6:00 A.M., our storm total in Waterbury (495’) was at 7.5 inches, and it was snowing pretty hard.  The intensity of the snowfall lightened up not too long after that, but by the time I headed up to the mountain at around 8:30 A.M. there was an additional 0.4 inches of snow on the board to bring our valley storm total to 7.9 inches.  We had a couple big gusts of wind come through at the house, so I was concerned about what was going to be going on up at the mountain, but in general our winds were pretty calm at the house.  Parking up in the village (~2,100’) the temperature was 26 F and the air was calm with an occasional light breeze.  By the time I hit the base of the Vista Quad there were only about 10 minutes until lift loading, but I wanted to get in some cardio so I took a quick skin up to the top of the terrain park area.  Up near the top of the terrain park I checked on the powder and measured 12 inches of loose snow over the base.  I couldn’t tell if it was all from this storm, but Bolton was reporting 11 inches in the past 48 hours (that should represent their storm total) with 6 to 8 inches in the past 24 hours.  Testing with my poles I could find that there was a thicker layer in the powder

 

 

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Summary:  10.5” storm total in Waterbury (495’)

 

Friday, January 9th, 2009:  6:00 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 0.5 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.02 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 25.0

Snow Density:  4.0% H2O

Temperature:  10.9 F

Humidity:  62%

Dew Point:  -2.8 F

Barometer:  29.85 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Cloudy

Storm snow total:  10.5 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  1.04 inches

Current snow at the stake:  16 inches

Season snowfall total:  98.7 inches

 

No new snow fell beyond the 0.5 inches from last night, and this morning’s analysis indicated that the snow on the board was made up of 0.02 inches of liquid, which is right in line with the density of the rest of the stuff that fell yesterday.  So it looks like the storm totals at the house for this event are 10.5 inches of snow (with a bit of sleet) made up of 1.04 inches of liquid.  I was thinking this would be the final summary for this event, since there were just flurries in the area this morning, but from here in Burlington I can see that the mountains have disappeared behind snow and it’s even snowing in town.  The BTV NWS indicates that the precipitation is from our cold northwest flow and there should be little if any accumulation, but I’ll check the snowboard when I get home today in case any snow fell on it.

 

J.Spin

 

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I stopped off for a skin up Timberline yesterday morning, so here’s a conditions update.  There temperature was about 10-12 F down in the valley (300’-500’), and 8 F up at the Timberline Base (1,550’), and the precipitation was just snow flurries.  I skinned up Twice as Nice, and I’d be surprised if they opened it to skiing when they open the lift, since coverage is still not too great there.  Usually Twice as Nice seems pretty protected from wind, but it seemed to get hit pretty hard a couple storms ago.  It also could simply be that they groomed it so it looks worse than the other trails.  The mountain was making snow on Showtime, which must have been a piece of cake with the temperatures, and judging by the whales I’d say they will have a ton of snow on there.  I stopped at the Timberline mid station and began my descent from there, heading along Wood’s Hole.  Ty and I had skipped past Brandywine on Sunday, so I checked it out this time.  There are certainly areas of brush still poking through still, but there was plenty of coverage for bottomless powder turns as well in many places.  The snow that fell on Thursday and Thursday night was notably drier (4% H2O for both periods based on my valley analyses) than what had fallen on Wednesday, and you could feel the difference in the powder skiing.  It was still nice to have that denser base around though.  I was the only one who had been on Brandy Wine, but I did see several sets of tracks on Spell Binder as I crossed beneath it, presumably made by some early morning turn-earners or someone from the night before.  Timberline was supposed to open today, but my Bolton Valley update from this morning indicates that they have a mechanical issue to deal with first:

 

“And now the bad news: even though we've been careful not to make any promises about the Timberline Chair opening up, I finally strongly suggested it would be running this weekend. And that can only mean one thing: a mechanical issue will keep Timberline on hold Saturday. We've got the Dopplemayr experts on site, and shipments are on their way to the mountain from Utah, so progress is being made. But that lift will not be ready today. I blame myself for blatantly jinxing it.”

 

So the good news is that there’s a little more time for those that want to earn turns.  Wilderness is opening up today however, so that should be a nice addition to lift-served terrain.  In terms of new snow, it didn’t look like we’d be getting too much out of the Saturday/Sunday system, but now it seems to have moved north a bit so we may get in on some snow.  Currently our county (Washington) is under a Winter Weather Advisory:

 

NYZ034-035-VTZ008>010-018-102200-
/O.NEW.KBTV.WW.Y.0002.090111T0000Z-090111T1600Z/
WESTERN ESSEX-EASTERN ESSEX-WASHINGTON-WESTERN ADDISON-ORANGE- EASTERN ADDISON- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...LAKE PLACID...PORT HENRY... TICONDEROGA...MONTPELIER...MIDDLEBURY...VERGENNES...BRADFORD...
RANDOLPH...BRISTOL...RIPTON
414 AM EST SAT JAN 10 2009
 
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO
11 AM EST SUNDAY...
 
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BURLINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW ACROSS THE SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS OF NEW YORK AND CENTRAL VERMONT...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 11 AM EST SUNDAY.
 
SNOWFALL TOTALS WILL BE 3 TO 5 INCHES ACROSS THE SOUTHERN
ADIRONDACKS OF NEW YORK AND CENTRAL VERMONT BY EARLY SUNDAY.
 
LIGHT SNOW WILL DEVELOP FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST ACROSS CENTRAL VERMONT BETWEEN 10 PM AND MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. SNOW MAY BE HEAVY AT TIMES AFTER MIDNIGHT.
 
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS CONDITIONS FOR PRODUCING AROUND 4 INCHES OF SNOW ARE EXPECTED TONIGHT AND CAN MAKE TRAVEL HAZARDOUS.
 
PLEASE STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO...YOUR LOCAL MEDIA...OR GO TO WWW.WEATHER.GOV/BURLINGTON FOR FURTHER UPDATES ON THIS WEATHER SITUATION.
 
$$
 

SISSON

 

I’ve got one picture from yesterday pasted below for an idea of the snow consistency:

 

J.Spin