Monday, February 14th, 2011



Event totals: 1.3” Snow/0.12” L.E.


Monday 2/14/2011 8:00 P.M. update: The precipitation was intermittent bouts of light/moderate rain and the temperature was around 40 F when I got home today around 5:00 P.M., but the rain was so sporadic that we’d picked up just 0.03” of liquid. About an hour later I was down in the basement getting something and heard what I thought was rain pattering on one of the outside vents, but when I came back up my wife asked me if I had heard the sleet outside. I guess what I heard was sleet. Hearing that, I decided to look outside and was surprised to see that it was dumping snow, so it looks like we changed over right around 6:00 P.M. as others in the area mentioned. It came down quite hard for a while there, and I’d say we had somewhere between a half inch and an inch by 7:00 P.M. It gradually tapered off to much lighter snowfall, but as of 8:00 P.M. we had picked up 1.3 inches of snow comprised of 0.09 inches of liquid. With the intensity of that snowfall, this storm certainly delivered more liquid equivalent on the frozen side vs. the liquid side. This marks the 30th accumulating snowfall event for the season here based on my storm breakdown.


Some details from the 8:00 P.M. observations are below:


New Snow: 1.3 inches

New Liquid: 0.09 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 14.4

Snow Density: 6.9% H2O

Temperature: 25.5 F

Sky: Light Snow (2-5 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 24.0 inches



Tuesday, February 15th, 2011



Event totals: 2.3” Snow/0.15” L.E.


Tuesday 2/15/2011 6:00 A.M. update: We picked up an additional inch of snow overnight at the house, and there was some wind out there. We even had a touch of wind down in the yard, but nothing that interfered with snowfall measurement.


Relative to what the NWS was thinking on Saturday for these past three events:


J.Spin, on 12 February 2011 - 08:10 AM, said:


“I just checked in on the latest discussion at BTV, and their thoughts are for three snowfall events for around here through the short term, with the first one today. They seem to line up as follows:”


Saturday: 1” – 3”

Sunday: 1” – 3”

Monday: 1” – 4”


…things went down at the house as follows, assuming the Monday/Tuesday event is complete:


Saturday: 2.5”

Sunday: 0.0”

Monday: 2.3”


The Sunday system seemed to be the one that didn’t really deliver anything down in the valley, and I think totals were pretty low in the mountains as well. The northern mountains did get a decent shot from the third event however, some north to south 24-hour Vermont ski area’s totals are below:


Jay Peak: 8”

Smuggler’s Notch: 2”

Stowe: 4”

Bolton Valley: 6”

Mad River Glen: 2”

Sugarbush: 3”

Killington: 3”

Stratton: 3”

Mount Snow: 0”


Totals seemed to be highest north of the Winooski/I-89/Route 2 corridor, although I’m not sure why Smugg’s didn’t quite get in on that. Bolton Valley is reporting a 72-hour total of 10”, so in aggregate that’s pretty consistent with what the NWS predicted for the three events in the higher elevations.


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


New Snow: 1.0 inches

New Liquid: 0.03 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 33.3

Snow Density: 3.0% H2O

Temperature: 7.5 F

Sky: Partly Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 24.5 inches



powderfreak, on 15 February 2011 - 08:22 AM, said:


“Also, J.Spin, I can't believe you only had a little wind at your location and not enough to effect measurements. You're wind-sheltered location is great for snowfall because I could see this fluffy snow piling up quite nicely in a calm environment... but in this wind the snow isn't able to build any loft.”


I was actually a little worried about last night’s accumulation in terms of wind, since we were getting a few small gusts even down in the yard. As I watched the first flakes settle on the elevated board after the 8:00 P.M. clearing, I could see that there was at least a little wind blowing them across the surface. Even in our location that happens at times, but when the board is freshly cleared, depending on how slick one’s board surface is, that can be a critical time for setting up an accurate accumulation of the next round of snow. Once the first flakes sit down, they seem to aid in appropriately capturing the flakes that follow, but even with just a little breeze of a few MPH, it can seem like the flakes don’t want to take hold, and if that is delayed, it could suppress an accurate accumulation. The lighter and drier the flakes are, the lighter the breeze that can affect them.


After about the first tenth of an inch was down last night, the accumulation was looking a bit patchy, and I thought that I might end up getting a better measurement off my ground-based board, but in the morning the elevated board had a really clean inch on it. That measurement was corroborated by my ground-based board, and ironically the elevated board worked the best. Because of the fluffy snow, my ground-based board was sitting a bit below the surrounding snow surface (the fluffy snow cannot support the weight of the board so it sinks in). The ground board actually had some slight drifting for a few inches around the edges, because the sharp edge of snow from where the board sunk into the snowpack was just too fragile to hold up even to a gentle breeze. As is usually the case though, the bulk of the board had a nice even accumulation that matched with the elevated board. Sometimes, I will wipe away and smooth out that sharp edge from where the ground-based board has cut into the powder, to ensure that the edges of the board don’t get that drifting, but this prep work takes additional time and as I suspected, it didn’t really matter for last night’s accumulation.


While it only matters in some events, I’d argue that the lack of wind certainly plays a role in the snowfall numbers derived from my location. While some other locations might be getting wind-blasted fragments of dendrites, they may be in better shape in our area without the wind.