December 7th, 2011 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates


A short summary of this winter storm is also available in the J&E Productions web log.



Monday, December 5th, 2011



View Postpowderfreak, on 5 December 2011 - 06:51 AM, said:

The graphics at least look nice and wintery, haha. NWS has 1-2" of snow late tonight and tomorrow after some rain showers.


It’s nice to see all the flakes PF, even if it’s not quite to the level of what was going on last year at this time… As I was preparing for lecture today, I saw that my slides from Dec 6th of last year had some snowflakes on the cover sheet, which I often do if there’s snow around.  So I went back and looked at my weather records, and sure enough, we were in the midst of a nice upslope snow event that brought two feet of snow down at the house, and close to four feet up in the higher elevations.  At the house, it actually wound up being our second largest event of the season in terms of snowfall.  Incidentally, my summary of the event at the linked text above starts off with one of those NWS point forecast graphics, which looked pretty nice even for the valley:



I know we’re not quite there yet this season, but then I pulled up today’s forecast graphics for our area and they don’t look half bad:



I was going to pull the snowflakes off my title slide, but after seeing today’s graphics I think I’ll keep them on.  Even if we’re not heading into a big upslope event, it looks like we’ll have some December-like temperatures as adk said, with at least the potential for some flakes.



Wednesday, December 7th, 2011



I grabbed the BTV graphics from this morning for the upcoming winter weather; we’re under a Winter Weather Advisory here in Waterbury, with the point and click calling for 2-4 inches of snow.





I thought I was seeing the occasional flake among the rain when I was driving to the house around 6:15 P.M., and I couldn’t confirm it, but as of ~6:50 P.M. snow definitely started to mix in.  As I’ve been writing this, the precipitation has changed over fully to snow (7:00 P.M., T=34.9 F).  Initially I think our point forecast had us changing over to snow at some point late tonight, but now it just says snow:




Snow started to really mix in here in Waterbury around 6:50 P.M., and the precipitation was fully over to snow right around 7:00 P.M. with a temperature of 34.9 F.



View Postmoneypitmike, on 7 December 2011 - 08:19 PM, said:



Hopefully it’s a sign that cold air is on the way for others; I can’t imagine that Powderfreak will be raining for too much longer if I’ve changed over here, he’s only about 10 miles north-northeast of here.



View Postpowderfreak, on 7 December 2011 - 08:49 PM, said:

Just drove up to the ski resort base at 1,500-1,600ft and its snowing pretty good up there. Snow level was at the base of the Mansfield Toll Road at 1,300ft


That’s great to hear PF; the snow should be to you before long.  I’ll be up late working this evening so I’ll try to send in some hourly observations and I’ll do a snow/water analysis at midnight if there’s anything to report.  8:00 P.M. observations:  it’s been snowing for an hour, but with the warm temperatures down at this elevation it hasn’t really been accumulating.  Currently on the snowboard we’ve got a very slushy accumulation of mostly liquid, maybe a tenth of an inch, but the temperature has dropped (perhaps with aid from the snowfall) to 34.0 F and the flakes are getting bigger (some up to the 6-7mm diameter range) so that may help in terms of accumulations going forward.



9:00 P.M. Waterbury update:  Not too much changed for the bulk of the past hour – snowfall was fairly light in intensity and flakes were similar in size to my previous report with some up above that 5 mm diameter range.  Temperature is down at touch as of 9:00 P.M. to 33.8 F.  It looks like some sort of switch flipped just a bit ago though, because the snowfall intensity has really ramped up to a consistent moderate level, and some of the flakes are really big at up to an inch in diameter.  Accumulation on the snowboard is up to 0.2”, but if this current snowfall keeps up the way it is going right now there will definitely be some more appreciable accumulation on the way.  Actually now that I look at the BTV composite radar I can see that that area of yellow echoes just nosed into our area and is presumably associated with the increased snowfall intensity:




View Postpowderfreak, on 7 December 2011 - 09:18 PM, said:

Out of curiousity, how much liquid has fallen before snow begins accumulating? I'd be curious for a QPF analysis.


I just saw this one as I’m catching up on the thread.  Since all the recent precipitation of the past couple of days has been associated with this front, I’m probably going to roll it all into the event.  We had 0.20” of liquid as of yesterday morning at 6:00 A.M., and then another 0.10” as of 6:00 A.M. this morning.  I looked at the gauge when I got home around 6:15 P.M. or so, and there was only 0.02” additional in it from today.  Since it seemed like it might be changing over to snow, I put a fresh snowboard on the table soon after that to try to get the liquid from the start of the snow, so I should have a pretty good estimate from that point on when I do a core, but I bet it was only a few additional hundredths of liquid before the snow came in.  I just checked the gauge (switched it over to snow mode) but it’s already a semi-solid pile of slush in there so I can’t get a number on the liquid in there for you at this point.  Big flakes are still coming down though, I’ll check back in at 10:00 P.M.



The evening updates for snow totals have been put out, with some areas upgraded to winter storm warnings due to a bit more snow - the latest maps from BTV are below:





10:00 P.M. Waterbury update:  The temperature dropped a bit more down to 33.1 F.  Moderate snow continues with some flakes up to ~1” in diameter, 0.5” total snow accumulation on the snowboard.  That band of 30 db echoes seems to have collapsed for now:




11:00 P.M. Waterbury update:  The temperature has held steady at 33.1 F.  Snowfall rate has fallen off a bit, more to the light/moderate range with smaller flakes topping out around 0.5” in diameter.  Not much additional accumulation this past hour, 0.6” total on the snowboard with a similar coating on grass etc. and a bit less on paved/rocky surfaces.



Event totals: 0.7” Snow/0.48” L.E.


Snowfall has been steady in the last hour in the light to moderate range, although we haven’t had those large flakes from before and additional accumulation has been slow with the wet snow on the board.  A core sample revealed that the 0.7 inches of snow on the board contained 0.16 inches of liquid.  I swapped boards and the snow began to accumulate quickly on the new, dry snowboard I set out.  If the temperature continues to drop tonight and gets below freezing, I suspect accumulation will happen more easily.


Some details from the 12:00 A.M. observations are below:


New Snow: 0.7 inches

New Liquid: 0.16 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 4.4

Snow Density: 22.9% H2O

Temperature: 32.9 F

Sky: Light/Moderate Snow (2-8 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 0.5 inches



Thursday, December 8th, 2011



Event totals: 2.4” Snow/0.70” L.E.


The temperatures certainly cooled off to well below freezing, but the overnight snow still came in at a hefty 12.9% H2O, so the stack on the snowboard was surprisingly dense.  With this morning’s addition, the total liquid derived from this event as snow was 0.38”.


Some details from the 6:00 A.M. observations are below:


New Snow: 1.7 inches

New Liquid: 0.22 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 7.7

Snow Density: 12.9% H2O

Temperature: 27.9 F

Sky: Partly Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 2.0 inches



Here’s the north to south list of snow totals I’ve seen for some of the Vermont resorts that are reporting so far:


Jay Peak: 4”

Smuggler’s Notch: 6”

Stowe: 4”

Sugarbush: 4”

Killington: 5”

Okemo: 4”

Mount Snow: 2.5”



Well, the alpenglow on the Greens (especially Mansfield) this evening has been fantastic from here in Burlington thanks to all the new snow – here on the UVM campus it looks like they may have picked up about an inch, but it’s nice to see things white from valley to summit.  Looking ahead, at this point it appears as though the next two potential rounds of snow for Northern Vermont will be the Friday/Saturday event, and then a Tuesday/Wednesday event.  I’ve added some of the relevant NWS discussion below.  There’s nothing in terms of huge storms at this point, but there are more events to watch and chances to add to the snowpack:











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