December 23rd, 2011 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates



Thursday, December 22nd, 2011



View Postpowderfreak, on 22 December 2011 - 04:56 PM, said:

I know absolutely no one cares but that Monday set up has upslope snow written all over it, from here to skierinRangley, as the late coastal low tugs some NW flow along with moisture from a weak clipper like system to the north in Canada.


Some of us care PF, even if we’re in the minority.  I was just looking at my NWS point forecast for tonight, and even this far north they’ve got a rain/snow mix for our elevation (~500’) before it goes over to all snow, so clearly things are coming in a bit warm.  Looks like all snow above 1,000’ though.



I’m not sure what the temperature was in Burlington when I left, but I’ve got a couple of updates from east of/in the Greens.  At the Waterbury Park and Ride (~500’) a bit after 6:00 P.M. the temperature was 32 F, heading through the center of Waterbury soon after that, the temperature was fluctuating in the 33-34 F range, and when I was at the house around 6:15 P.M. the thermometer was reading 32.7 F.  The trend has been downward in the past 15 minutes though, because it was just reading 32.2 F and now it’s 32.0 F.  I’m not sure if this is just low-level cold, but hopefully it will help with any snow that falls around here.  



I’ve got a few more temperature observations from this evening.  We headed in to Stowe for a bit, and on the way in earlier this evening the temperature readings through Waterbury, Colbyville, and Waterbury Center were in the 33-34 F range on the car thermometer.  On the way back though about a half hour ago it was 32 F for the whole route, and here at the house we’ve got a reading of 30.7 F.



Friday, December 23rd, 2011



Event totals: 2.2” Snow/0.20” L.E.


I’m not sure what time it started, but we’ve got light snow here at the house, and it’s even calm for this location – it’s dead still out there, so the snow is falling straight down and you can see it in the pattern of accumulation.  There are another couple of tenths of an inch on the board since the 6:00 A.M. clearing.    The air temperature is a touch above 32 F, and the snow was a bit dense, but still coming in at under 10% H2O.


I’ve added in the north to south list for totals at the Vermont ski areas that I’ve seen report in so far.  There are still several resorts that haven’t reported in yet, including anything south of Killington, but from the numbers it seems that the Central Vermont Ski Areas are doing well so far:


Jay Peak: 1”

Burke: 2”

Smuggler’s Notch: 1”

Stowe: 2”

Sugarbush: 4”

Pico: 4”

Killington: 4”


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


New Snow: 2.2 inches

New Liquid: 0.20 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 11.0

Snow Density: 9.1% H2O

Temperature: 32.5 F

Sky: Light Snow (2-8 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 2.0 inches




View Postpowderfreak, on 23 December 2011 - 07:53 AM, said:

Got some conflicting reports from the groomers this morning, so I just reported what I have here at the base area (2"). Knowing how this works though, there's probably at least 3" another 2,000+ feet above my head near the top. Sweet snow too because its got some moisture to it so this will do wonders for surface conditions... also no wind so its not all blowing into the woods like upslope snow does.


Thanks for the update PF – I just saw that Bolton Valley came in with their report at 2” at 6:54 A.M., although I suspect they’ll be getting some more based on the radar.



I headed up to the mountain for a few runs this morning, so I can provide some valley and mountain observations for this event.  When I left the house (495’) around 8:15 A.M. we had light snow falling and an additional 0.7” on the snowboard, so that would put the total for the event at 2.9” for this location.  The valley snow accumulations certainly dropped off as I headed west to Bolton, and at the bottom of the Bolton Valley Access Road (340’), I’d say the accumulation looked like about 1”.  As I ascended the road, I was surprised at how slowly the accumulation increased – even up at 1,000’ it didn’t seem like there was too much more than at the base of the road.  Eventually it started to increase though – up at 1,500’ at the base of Timberline, the trails had a decent covering of a few inches – although they may have had some base left from earlier storms.  Up in the Bolton Valley Village area at 2,100’ I found 2-3” of fresh snow on the car next to me when I arrived, and I suspect that car had been there since the start of the snowfall.  It was snowing a steady light snow, with relatively small flakes in the 1 - 3 mm range.


I skinned up toward the summit, and in terms of total snowpack on the ground, the lower mountain had about 3 - 4” (which includes the new snow).  Up around 3,150’ near the Vista Summit though, the accumulations were notably higher.  Depth checks revealed that new accumulations by the time I was up there were 4”+, and I found total natural snowpack in the 6 - 8” range.  That snowpack is actually pretty substantial, since there is a good layer of consolidated stuff below that went through the thaw/freeze, (sort of like what adk mentioned would be good the other day) with this new snow on top, which is certainly not ultra fluff.  One good storm is all it will take to open some of the mellower natural snow terrain on the upper mountain.  Snowfall was also notably more intense on the upper mountain as well, I’d certainly call it moderate while I was up there, and there were some larger flakes up to 7 - 8 mm in diameter.  Visibility was probably about a tenth of a mile, although I may have been getting into some low clouds that affected the visibility as well, so that visibility may not have been 100% due to snowfall.  The temperature up there at 3,150’ was 28 F using the thermometer on the Vista Quad summit station.


I hung around for a few lift-served runs with some friends, and we started to get some nice big 1” upslope-style flakes of snow – the intensity was still generally light to at most moderate at times, but it had that nice maelstrom look to it.  Back down at the car at 2,100’ I found close to an inch of new snow on it, and since I was there for a couple of hours, that would suggest a snowfall rate of ~0.5”/hr during that period at the main base elevation.  The temperature was a bit below freezing at 2,100’, but back down at the bottom of the access road it was certainly above freezing at ~35 F.  Even here back at the house it was above freezing at 34.3 F, and although the snow had continued, the accumulation on the snowboard had not gone above the 0.7” from this morning, presumably due to consolidation/warming.  The snow has definitely picked back up now, and I’m going to head out and take a noontime snow/water reading, so I’ll have that report soon.



Event totals: 3.0” Snow/0.35” L.E.


The snow from this morning’s accumulation came in quite dense (5.3 to 1 ratio, 18.8% H2O) once analyzed due to the consolidation from temperatures above freezing, but there was almost as much liquid in there (0.15”) as the overnight snowfall.  With the big flakes coming down now and a bit of drop in the temperature, the snow is accumulating better and there are another couple of tenths on the board already.  Although this is a fairly modest event, it is now the second largest event of the season recorded here, and amazingly, the largest event so far this December.  I’ve updated the north to south list of latest accumulations reports from the Vermont ski areas below, it looks like things are topping out around 4” so far, and we’ll see where things go since the snow is still falling:


Jay Peak: 1”

Burke: 2”

Smuggler’s Notch: 3”

Stowe: 4”

Bolton Valley: 3”

Mad River Glen: 4”

Sugarbush: 4”

Pico: 4”

Killington: 4”

Okemo: 3”

Bromley: 3”

Magic Mountain: 4”

Stratton: 2”

Mount Snow: 3”


We should be into the snowfall for a bit this afternoon based on the radar:




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


New Snow: 0.8 inches

New Liquid: 0.15 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 5.3

Snow Density: 18.8% H2O

Temperature: 33.8 F

Sky: Light Snow (5-20 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 2.5 inches



Event totals: 3.3” Snow/0.36” L.E.


I was back up at Bolton this afternoon into the evening for another ski session with the boys, and it was definitely getting colder – it was in the low 20s F at the base (2,100’) when we arrived, and I’d say around 20 F when we left about 5:45 P.M.  The light snow continued in the afternoon, and then things blew right out to entirely blue sky by 4:00 P.M.  I figured that was it for this event, but it was snowing again with some big flakes by the time we were leaving.  It was colder in the valley as well once we descended – mid to upper 20s F.  As of the 6:00 P.M. snowboard clearing we’d picked up 0.3” of snow, but with this new round of snow there will be more accumulation to report.  I added a recent composite radar shot below, the moisture running up against the west slope wall of the Greens is visible:



For those Vermont ski areas that appeared to do an update on snowfall at the end of the day, I’ve updated the north to south list of latest accumulations reports below.  As expected, the accumulations went up a bit with this afternoon’s snow, and areas are topping out now at around a half a foot:


Jay Peak: 6”

Smuggler’s Notch: 4”

Stowe: 5”

Mad River Glen: 6”

Sugarbush: 4”

Pico: 6”

Killington: 6”

Okemo: 3”

Bromley: 3”

Magic Mountain: 4”

Stratton: 4”

Mount Snow: 3”


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


New Snow: 0.3 inches

New Liquid: 0.01 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 30.0

Snow Density: 3.3% H2O

Temperature: 27.0 F

Sky: Light Snow (5-15 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 3.0 inches



View Postpowderfreak, on 23 December 2011 - 08:25 PM, said:

Dumping dendrites. Just about an inch of new snow in the last hour to hour and 15 minutes. I went out to get some food a little while ago and my windshield was clear. Radar does not do this justice but this is classic upslope low level stuff with good snow growth CAA at H85 moving over the mountains.


LOL PF, looks like I grabbed a similar radar shot to you, although I threw it in snow mode.  It's not snowing quite that hard here, lighter stuff, but it's certainly accumulating.  On another note, patroller Quinn caught me when I was leaving Bolton with the boys this evening and said to check out the Euro for midweek - I did.



View PostCT Rain, on 23 December 2011 - 02:22 PM, said:

J. Spin/powderfreak special on the Euro.

12"+ of heavy wet snow Tuesday night


Thanks for the update; one of our patrollers at Bolton told me to take a look at the Euro when I was leaving this evening, so I knew something was up.  I stepped through the snow mode in the Euro on the WunderMap when I got home and it summed to 10.6” for my location, and whatever algorithm is used there, that’s more than for any storm I’ve seen on there since I’ve started checking out that tool this season.  Now whether that prognostication holds over the next few days is certainly a huge question mark like Blizz suggested, but a storm like that could really be a big boost for the local resorts over the holiday week (assuming the word gets out and people aren’t scared away by travel issues).  At least this current storm helped out to get people a little inspired with some white in the mountains for the next couple of days.



Saturday, December 24th, 2011



Event totals: 3.7” Snow/0.37” L.E.


Last night’s activity delivered another 0.4” of very fluffy, upslope-style snow from this event, and with high pressure moving in, this is likely the last round of snowfall observations here for this storm.  Looking ahead at the forecast discussion from BTV, the high pressure is expected to move off shore during the day on Sunday, with the next snowfall event moving into the area for the Sunday afternoon through midday Monday period.


Some details from the 7:00 A.M. Waterbury observations are below:


New Snow: 0.4 inches

New Liquid: 0.01 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 40.0

Snow Density: 2.5% H2O

Temperature: 11.5 F

Sky: Partly Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 2.0 inches





Click the logo to return