Monday, March 21st, 2011

With the caveats of what folks are seeing on the radar that suggest activity will be farther south, I’ve still added in the last couple rounds of BTV graphics from last night into this morning.  As new information gets incorporated it sounds like we might see the latest maps change: 
I checked in on the board last night and saw the discussion about the upcoming storm, but didn’t have time to post.  I did grab screenshots of some of BTV’s graphics so I’d be able to see how they compared to what was out this morning.  It seemed that last night the thoughts were for things to be much more marginal in the valleys, with no advisories up in the Champlain Valley:
The point forecast for our location at 500’ in the Winooski Valley suggested just a few inches, and on the storm total forecast map one could see what the snowfall amounts were expected to be in the valleys.  In our area, the expected drop off in snowfall amounts in the lower elevations was very evident where the Winooski Valley cuts through the spine of the Greens.
Checking in again this morning, I saw that the advisories had been extended to the Champlain Valley:
In the snowfall forecast maps, the anticipated valley accumulations looked more substantial than what they’d been last night:
Listening to Roger Hill this morning, he was thinking there may not actually be much of a changeover to rain east of the Greens.  Also, the point forecast for our location has been increased substantially, such that it now suggests 4 to 10 inches of accumulation.  I’m not sure how much we’ll see since temperatures will probably still be pretty marginal down at our elevation, but anyway, that’s an update on what I’ve seen for our neck of the woods.  This morning at my 6:00 A.M. observations, the temperature was 27.5 F, and snowpack at the stake was 19.5 inches, so that’s where things will be starting from with whatever goes on today.
As of roughly 9:00 A.M., snow has started falling here in Burlington.

Powderfreak, on 21 March 2011 - 07:38 AM, said:

Wow. You're yard must be pretty sheltered?

Yeah, I bet it's very much like you had mentioned in your discussion about the snowpack observed from different people in Stowe.  Our yard gets some sun, but the largest distances to our woods from the house are probably 60-70 feet, so even the most open areas are probably getting only filtered sun a lot of the day with the currently low sun angle.  After a few years now at our current location, I’m pretty happy with the stake placement in terms of representation for the yard.  It’s got partial shade, thus it gets some sun as well, and seems to mark a pretty decent average snow depth for the yard area.
I can see that exposed, south-facing slopes above us are melted out in areas, but even the flat, open fields in the area (such as those around the Cider House) were still generally covered with snow the last time I looked.  I wasn’t looking specifically yesterday, but it certainly would have caught my eye if they had melted out.  I think the images from the I-89 web cameras farther to the west might be a bit deceptive though, because I remember being surprised at how quickly the snow had disappeared around there.

powderfreak, on 21 March 2011 - 08:36 AM, said:

Stowe 0.2 SW had 26" on 3/16 and 18" today... so maybe our snow depth in town is deeper than I think it is and I'm just looking at the bare spots showing up in the fields and such.

It sounds like the snowpack at our location is tracking fairly closely with the Stowe 0.2 SW site (within an inch or so); here are the snow depths from my 6:00 A.M. CoCoRaHS observations from that period (Waterbury 3.0 NW):
Wed 3/16:  25.0”
Thu 3/17:  25.0”
Fri 3/18:  23.5”
Sat 3/19:  20.5”
Sun 3/20:  20.0”
Mon 3/21:  19.5”
Event totals: 2.4” Snow/0.23” L.E.
Once the snow started up around 9:00 A.M. in Burlington, it eventually came down pretty hard during the late morning, then gradually tapered off toward the afternoon.  It looked like it accumulated to perhaps an inch or so, but that began to melt back as the afternoon wore on and there was no additional snow falling.  As I was leaving Burlington around 5:00 P.M., the sky was just starting to spit some new flakes, presumably in association with the next batch of snowfall off to the west:
We accumulated 2.4 inches at the house through 6:00 P.M., and there’s actually been another inch and a half since then.  With the way it’s snowing out there now, there may end up being almost as much snowfall from this second round as there was from the first.
Some details from the 6:00 P.M. observations are below:
New Snow: 2.4 inches
New Liquid: 0.23 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 10.4
Snow Density: 9.6% H2O
Temperature: 30.6 F
Sky: Light Snow (2-15 mm flakes)
Snow at the stake: 21.5 inches
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
Event totals: 5.3” Snow/0.51” L.E.
At 10:45 P.M. last night I was heading off to bed, but I did a quick check on the snowboard and found that the second round of snowfall had already matched the first by putting down another 2.4 inches.  The rate of snowfall was certainly slowing down, but it looked like some streamers of moisture were still stretching into the area that could produce a little more accumulation:
We did pick up a bit of additional accumulation, and I found 2.9 inches of snow on the board this morning, with a 10.4 to 1 snow to water ratio, so it came in with essentially the exact same density as the first round.
Snowfall has now passed the total for March ’08 in this location (33.3”), and with the current 35.6”, this March is second behind March ’07 (40.2”) in the data I have recorded.  For season total, ‘07-‘08 was at 195.5” on this date, so the current seasonal snowfall for ‘10-‘11 sits a bit behind that.
I’ve added the north to south list of accumulations I’ve seen for the Vermont ski areas with this event:

Jay Peak: 6”

Burke: 5”

Smuggler’s Notch: 5”

Stowe: 8”

Bolton Valley: 8”

Mad River Glen: 5”

Sugarbush: 5”

Pico: 4”

Killington: 4”

Okemo: 5”

Bromley: 2”

Stratton: 4”

Mount Snow: 3”

With the discussion yesterday I thought we’d be seeing the more southern and central resorts with higher totals, but the Bolton-Stowe stretch seemed to get the most snow.  Perhaps that was due to the second round of accumulation/upslope snows.
Some details from the 6:00 A.M. Waterbury observations are below:
New Snow: 2.9 inches
New Liquid: 0.28 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 10.4
Snow Density: 9.7% H2O
Temperature: 32.9 F
Sky: Cloudy/Flurries
Snow at the stake: 22.5 inches
Now that the recent storm is mostly complete, I updated the running snowfall total for my reporting location in the chart.  While this season’s snowfall is running 6.9” behind where ‘07-‘08 was on this date, one could argue that reaching 200” of snowfall again is not entirely out of the question.  Average snowfall from this point on is 10.2 inches according to my records, and that would get the snowfall pretty close to the 200” mark.  I’ve added in the monthly breakdown chart below; if the November ’10 snowfall had been even close to what was seen in the ‘07-‘08 and ‘08-‘09 La Niña Novembers, this season would have already cruised well past the 200” mark, but every season is different, and that’s part of what makes following the snowfall so intriguing.
A steady snow just pulled in to Burlington, so I grabbed the latest radar imagery.  The NWS doesn’t expect much in terms of accumulation, but it could snow for a bit with the moisture coming in, and perhaps a bit of accumulation in the mountains.  It looks like I grabbed the frame right after yours Scott, and it’s neat to see the precipitation filling in:
[quote="Anthony"]Noticed that the Mansfield stake is still at 90", good sign as the recent warm weather has not had a big impact in terms of snow loss at the higher elevations. The stake had maxed out at about 92" so the loss is minimal compared to the loss of snow below 1500' and in valley locations that occurred this week. The return of cold air will delay the melting process, however should be hard as a rock today. Will keep a eye on this as like to make another cross border run into Northern VT.[/quote]
Snowpack at the stake is in nice shape as you indicated, it should certainly be past 90" today and there might even be a new max for the season with the recent snows.  I think temperatures up at Bolton were expected to be in the 20s F on Saturday, so I doubt I would have hit the high country for turns if we’d been free, but we were down fairly low at around 1,300’ at my cousin’s place in Barton for the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend.  South-facing aspects in the sun had snow that wasn’t quite winter or spring, but it was actually pretty nice for turns:
Presumably Sunday was a bit warmer, because we were at Spruce in the sun and it was corn snow top to bottom:
The full reports and pictures from the weekend can be accessed at J&E Productions.
It’s back to winter with last night’s storm, which dropped a pretty decent shot of snow in the Bolton-Stowe area and Powderfreak said Stowe was quite nice today.
Event totals: 6.0” Snow/0.56” L.E.
Tuesday 3/22/2011 6:00 P.M. update:  There was some snow falling in Burlington when I left today around 5:00 P.M., but I could see that it looked stronger to the east, and indeed, the snow increased in intensity the deeper I headed into the mountains.  It was kind of nice to have some good ‘ol upslope flow back, because we’d been out of it for a while with the previous weather pattern.  As Powderfreak mentioned, there’s been decent snowfall here, and 0.7 inches have accumulated as of 6:00 P.M.  The precipitation has broken up a bit now in this area, but perhaps we’ll see some more if that next stream appearing on the radar can build down this way:
Some details from the 6:00 P.M. Waterbury observations are below:
New Snow: 0.7 inches
New Liquid: 0.05 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 14.0
Snow Density: 7.1% H2O
Temperature: 33.8 F
Sky: Light Snow (1- 4 mm flakes)
Snow at the stake: 22.0 inches
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
Event totals: 6.2” Snow/0.57” L.E.
Wednesday 3/23/2011 6:00 A.M. update:  We picked up a couple of final tenths of an inch of snow from last night’s activity.  This morning, the sky was basically clear, although in line with what Powderfreak mentioned about seeing the moon, we still had some light snow/flurries falling.  I stopped in at Bolton for some turns before work, finding 3 to 5 settled inches at 1,500’, and generally 6 inches in the 2,000’ to 2,500’ range.  It is very dry snow as my data from down at the house would indicate, so turns generally weren’t bottomless down at the lower elevations where I skied, but with all that fresh snow the skiing is still quite nice.  Listening to Roger Hill’s forecast from this morning and reading the BTV NWS discussion, it sounds like we’re on the fringe of the next system this far north, but there could be a little light snow from it combined with the upper level low in Eastern Canada.  Powderfreak’s comment about a January-style pattern is certainly true, it felt very much like that out there today, although the air doesn’t quite have that mid winter bite – no complaints there though.
Some details from the 6:00 A.M. Waterbury observations are below:
New Snow: 0.2 inches
New Liquid: 0.01 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 20.0
Snow Density: 5.0% H2O
Temperature: 19.8 F
Sky: Mostly Clear/Flurries
Snow at the stake: 22.0 inches