Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
In their morning broadcasts, both Bob Minsenberger and Roger Hill mentioned the potential for another round of snow this weekend, and the Burlington NWS had the following to say in their morning discussion:
SATURDAY...SFC COLD FRNT PUSHES FROM WEST TO EAST ACRS OUR CWA...AND STRONG LLVL CAA DEVELOPS. PROGGED 85H TEMPS DROP BTWN 0 AND -3C BY 00Z SUNDAY ACRS OUR CWA...AS BEST MOISTURE SHIFTS INTO EASTERN NEW ENGLAND. THE COMBINATION OF LLVL CAA...UPSLOPE FLOW AND LEFTOVER 850 TO 500 MB MOISTURE WL PRODUCE SCATTERED RAIN/SNOW SHOWERS SATURDAY NIGHT INTO SUNDAY...WITH SOME SNOW ACCUMULATION POSSIBLE ABOVE 1500FT. UNLIKE A WEEK AGO...THIS SYSTEM WL HAVE MUCH LESS MOISTURE AND TEMPS WL BE SLIGHTLY WARMER...THEREFORE ONLY LIGHT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ARE EXPECTED ABOVE 1500FT. THERMAL PROFILES BY 12Z SUNDAY...SHOW 0C LINE VERY CLOSE TO THE SFC...WITH 925MB TEMPS BTWN -2C AND -4C AND 85H TEMPS BTWN -5 AND -7C. THESE MUCH BLW NORMAL TEMPS WL SUPPORT HIGHS ONLY IN THE U30S SLK/NEK TO MID/UPPER 40S BTV/VSF ON SUNDAY.
At this stage it doesn’t sound like snow levels will be as low as the last round, and the moisture won’t be as plentiful, but it will certainly be something to watch.
On May 4th, 2010 at 10:38 PM, mreaves wrote:
“I haven't seen any updated forecasts, is snow still a possibility this weekend?”
“I just checked the NWS discussion, and the latest update seems to be from yesterday, but here’s what they said:
LONG TERM /FRIDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY/...
AS OF 255 PM EDT TUESDAY...THE CYCLONIC CIRCULATION ON THE BACK SIDE OF THIS SYSTEM WL ADVECT A VERY COLD AIRMASS ACRS OUR REGION FOR SATURDAY NIGHT THRU MONDAY. PROGGED 85H TEMPS ARE EXPECTED TO BE BTWN -7 AND -9C...WHILE 925MB TEMPS APPROACH -6C ACRS THE SLV...WHICH IS 2 TO 3 STD BLW NORMAL. AS THESE VERY COLD TEMPS INTERACT WITH UPSLOPE NW FLOW AND LEFTOVER 850 TO 500MB MOISTURE SATURDAY NIGHT INTO SUNDAY...PRECIP WL REDEVELOP ACRS THE MTNS IN THE FORM OF SNOW. CONFIDENCE CONTS TO INCREASE FOR A ACCUMULATING SNOWFALL SAT NIGHT INTO SUNDAY MORNING ABOVE 1500 FEET FOR NORTHERN DACKS AND PARTS OF THE CENTRAL AND NORTHERN GREEN MTNS. THE GFS BUFKIT AT JAY PEAK CONTS TO SHOW BTWN 0.50 TO 0.75 LIQUID IN THE FORM OF SNOW. HOWEVER...THIS MAY BE OVERDONE SLIGHTLY DUE TO THE MID/UPPER LVL CIRCULATION TRACKING JUST NORTH OF THE REGION...AND PLACING PARTS OF OUR CWA IN THE DRY SLOT. PRELIMINARY SNOW GRIDS SHOW ACCUMULATIONS BTWN 2-6 INCHES POSSIBLE BY SUNDAY MORNING ABOVE 1500 FEET. WL CONT TO MENTION LIKELY POPS AND HIGHLIGHT THE POTENTIAL IN THE HWO ATTM.
Bob Minsenberger and Roger Hill both mentioned the potential again this morning in their broadcasts, but that’s all I’ve heard today.”
Thursday, May 6th, 2010
This morning, Roger Hill mentioned the potential for another round of snow in the midweek timeframe of next week, which was the first hint I’d heard of that, but he also provided his latest thoughts on the weekend system. His current thinking is a snow line around 1,000’ – 1,500’. The latest discussion thoughts from the Burlington NWS on the weekend are below. They are from yesterday afternoon, but seem generally in line with what Roger said this morning, although they did mention the chance for a little accumulation in the lower elevations like the Champlain Valley away from the lake:
.LONG TERM /SATURDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY/...
AS OF 345 PM EDT WEDNESDAY
...DEEP WRAP AROUND MOISTURE...ALONG WITH STRONG LLVL CAA WL DEVELOP BY 06Z SUNDAY. THIS COMBINED WITH FAVORABLE UPSLOPE FLW OF 30 TO 40 KNTS AT 85H WL HELP TO REDEVELOP SNOW AND RAIN SHOWER ACTIVITY ACRS NORTHERN/CENTRAL VT AS WELL AS THE NORTHERN DACKS. BOTH GFS/ECMWF SHOW PROGGED 85H TEMPS AROUND -8C AND 925MB TEMPS APPROACHING -4C BY 12Z SUNDAY...SUPPORTING MAINLY SNOW...EVEN IN VALLEY LOCATIONS. IN ADDITION...1000 TO 500MB THICKNESS VALUES ARE AROUND 530 DAM...WITH 1000 TO 850MB THICKNESS VALUES FALLING BLW 130 DAM BY SUNDAY MORNING...WHICH INDICATES LLVL AIRMASS IS COLD ENOUGH TO SUPPORT MAINLY SNOW. HOWEVER...HEAVIEST QPF AMOUNTS AND BEST DEEP LAYER MOISTURE DUE TO MID/UPPER LVL CIRCULATION TRACKING JUST NORTH OF CWA...WL BE ACRS THE NORTHERN ZNS. STILL THINKING SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES WL BE POSSIBLE ABOVE 2500FT FROM JAY PEAK TO MOUNT MANSFIELD AND ACRS THE HIGHER TRRN OF THE DACKS BY SUNDAY MORNING. MEANWHILE...SNOW ACCUMULATIONS BTWN 1500FT AND 2500FT WL RANGE BTWN 1-4 INCHES ACRS THE MTNS OF CENTRAL/NORTHERN VT. STILL WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED TO SEE A DUSTING IN THE CPV...AWAY FROM THE RELATIVELY WARMER LAKE CHAMPLAIN ON SUNDAY MORNING.
Sunday, May 9th, 2010
Event Totals through 6:00 A.M.: 0.2” snow/1.04” liquid
We do have some accumulating snow down at our elevation; as of 6:00 A.M. we had a couple of tenths on the elevated surfaces, and it was starting to show up on the grass. We’ve had on and off light snow since then, with flakes in the 3 mm diameter range, and there have been another couple of tenths of accumulation as well. It’s very slushy snow of course; the air temperature was at 34.7 F as of the 6:00 A.M. observation. Looking up into the heights north of the house, I can see snow on the trees and the snow line looks to be around 1,000’.
The additional accumulation from that first round of snow melted on the snowboard with temperatures rising a bit. Now we’ve got much heavier snowfall, and although temperatures have gone up a bit, the precipitation is so heavy that we’re getting another round of accumulation that is more substantial than the first. When I look at the radar, it looks like there is a lot of moisture coming in from the northwest. The temperature on Mt. Mansfield at 3,900’ is in the 21-22 F, so the higher elevations must be getting quite a good hit of snow.
At the point of my last update from this morning, we were into that batch of extended precipitation visible on the radar, and the snow was coming down steadier and heavier than it had been in the early morning. The temperature, which had crept up toward 37 F, came back down to around 35 F with the heavier snowfall, and we accumulated another 0.6 inches of snow on the elevated surfaces with variable accumulation on some grassy surfaces. Eventually the warming of the day won out though, and while it continued to snow, it couldn’t outpace the melting, so the accumulation at this location totaled an inch from this morning’s activity.
Later in the morning we headed up to Jay Peak, and got a good feel for accumulations along the way for those that are interested in what went on in parts of Northern Vermont today. We left the house and the temperature was ~37 F; it was still snowing but not accumulating. Around in Waterbury, there were only scatterings of snow in areas protected from the sun – even though it was cloudy and snowing, the sun was still having effects. That accumulation and general temperature trend was pretty much the case all the way north through Waterbury, Waterbury Center, Stowe, and even to Morrisville, with the notable exception being the Waterbury/Stowe line, where the temperature was a bit lower (~35 F) and the scatterings of accumulations more substantial.
Things changed dramatically when we got north of Morrisville though. Up in North Hyde Park where the elevations get up around 1,000’, the accumulation of new snow was very solid – I’d say an even coating of 2-3 inches that covered all the grassy surfaces. Temperatures were again dropping down in the 35 F range. Accumulations fell off a bit in the Eden area, but we took Route 118 past Long Pond, and once we got into Belvidere and up into the 1,000’ to 1,500’ elevations it set a new standard in the accumulations. I’m not sure exactly how much snow had accumulated, but it was more than we’d seen in North Hyde Park; the temperature was down to about 32 F, and the snow was actually accumulating on the road. We then dropped down into Montgomery Center, where the elevation is only in the 600’-700’ range, and the snow accumulations were sparser.
The final leg of the trip was up Route 242, and as one might expect, accumulations shot up. Halfway up the pass the snow was already accumulating on the road, and once we saw a plow working the other lane, we knew the snow really meant business. Up at the crest of 242 in the 2,200’-2,300’ range, there was plenty of snow, and the treed slopes coming down off Gilpin Mountain and Big Jay looked almost skiable. We went to the stateside base of Jay Peak (2,000’) and did some skiing. The wind was howling at times in classic Jay Peak style; I bet it was gusting to 40 MPH, and the temperature at that elevation was 30 F. With the wind, I measured snow accumulations from 4 to 18 inches in the lower elevations, although if I had to put a number on the accumulations at 2,000’ I’d go with 6”+.
It dumped all afternoon, and it was still dumping when we left the mountain around 4:00 P.M. The sun didn’t seem to stand a chance of slowing anything down up on the mountain. Dropping back down from the resort, it was amazing the way the snow accumulations fell off in just the course of a few miles - in the town of Jay at a bit below 1,000’ it was still snowing, but there was no snow on the ground at all. It snowed all the way back to Waterbury at all elevations, but the warming of the day had melted things off a bit since our trip out. Back at the house it was in the upper 30s F, but amazingly still snowing with no mixing.
We never got into the higher elevations of Jay Peak so I can’t report on the accumulations there, but the Mt. Mansfield report from ~3,700’ came in with 10.5 inches of new snow as of 6:41 P.M., so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Jay Peak had picked up a foot in the higher elevations.
Monday, May 10th, 2010
Waterbury Event Totals: 1.0” snow/1.21” liquid
At the house (495'), we didn't pick up any additional accumulation from the end of the snowfall last night, although what liquid was on the snowboard this morning was frozen. The rain gauge had collected 0.17" of additional liquid since Sunday morning. I headed up to Bolton early for a few turns, and the first visible accumulations of snow I saw along the access road were pretty low – a bit below 1,000' near the Bolton Valley welcome sign. Up at the main base (2,100') the temperature was 28 F, and with the cool dry air and clearing skies it felt very much like a November day - much more than I've felt on any of the other cool days this spring for whatever reason. The leaves really aren't out much up there, so that seemed to contribute to the feel. I could see that most of the trails had been hit pretty hard by the winds from yesterday, but I generally found accumulations to be in the 3" - 6" range at the base where the snow wasn't fully scoured. I went up to an elevation of 2,600' – 2,700' and in areas protected from the wind I found up to 10" of snow, but I'd go with 6" – 8" for a depth estimate there. The accumulations at Bolton certainly look to be less than what we saw at Jay Peak yesterday at equivalent elevations – the fact that the grass isn't fully covered in the lower elevations and the way the wind hit the exposed trails makes the accumulations look much lower. Back down at the base of the access road, the temperature was 36 F. There's no snow down in the lower valleys of course, and it was quite a dramatic return to spring with many trees that appear to be fully leafed out. There were some amazing views of Camel's Hump though, the snow up there above what almost looks like summer foliage now is pretty neat. Roger Hill did make mention of that potential next round of snow in the midweek timeframe, although it doesn't sound as substantial as this weekend's event.
Here are some of the totals I’ve seen from the Mother’s Day event:
Waterbury (495’): 1.0” snow/1.21” L.E.
Mt. Mansfield (3,700’): 11.0” snow/1.94” L.E.
Mt. Washington (6,288’): 4.9” snow/1.63” L.E.
As usual there’s the caveat with regard to how the Mt. Mansfield data are measured, but at least the mountain got a good shot of snow. I’ve added the latest Waterbury/Mansfield snowpack plot below, and as with some of the other storms we’ve had this spring, one can clearly see the spike contributed by the Mother’s Day storm.