December 27th, 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 26th, 2011



I just saw that the BTV NWS has their first map out for the upcoming midweek storm – as of their early afternoon update they’re going with a general 3 to 7 inches for Northern New York and the Central and Northern Greens.  I’m not sure how much liquid is going into the snowpack on the front end of this event, but hopefully it will work out like the last one by consolidating and substantiating the base for the powder that follows. 




Tuesday, December 27th, 2011



I popped up to Bolton to check out the results of the recent clipper/upslope snow and get in a couple runs.  Temperatures were around freezing at the main base (2,100’) and probably a few degrees below freezing up around the Vista Summit (3,150’).  At around 3:30 P.M. a little light sleet started to fall, and that was on and off.  I arrived back at the house to find light snow falling and a temperature of 34.3 F.



We picked up a couple tenths of an inch of snow earlier, but it looked like it was going to change over to something else around 5:15 P.M., so I collected that as the front end snow portion for the event.  However, it is really dumping out there now, inch an hour type snow, so there will be a bit more to report.  There is a huge blob of red echoes headed this way though, and it’s hard to imagine that’s snow:




Event totals: 1.0” Snow/0.33” L.E.


The snow came down quite hard until about 7:30 P.M., at which point sleet started to mix in.  That continued, with snow mixing in at times, until around 8:30 P.M. when it seemed to be mostly liquid. So I’m calling 8:30 P.M. the cutoff time for the front end frozen portion of the event at this location.  That front end provided a third of an inch of water as frozen material, which will hopefully represent a good chunk of the liquid for the event.  Our NWS point forecast is calling for another tenth to quarter inch of liquid tonight, and then 2 to 5 inches of snow on the back end starting tomorrow:


Tonight: Rain, mainly before midnight, then a chance of drizzle. Patchy fog after 1am. Low around 34. East wind 6 to 8 mph becoming south. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Wednesday: Rain and snow showers likely before 11am, then occasional snow showers. Temperature falling to around 21 by 5pm. Breezy, with a west wind between 14 and 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Wednesday Night: Occasional snow showers, mainly before 10pm. Low around 1. Wind chill values as low as -14. Northwest wind between 14 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.


This may not be the ultimate pattern for snowfall, but clearly something changed around mid month because accumulating snowfall events have been hitting us pretty frequently.  In fact, over the past 10 days the storms have been coming at a rather fervent pace of one every other day – there have been storms on the 17th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 25th, and now the 27th as indicated in the signature below.  If the potential clippers were to come through on Thursday the 29th and Saturday the 31st, that would continue the trend.  Although we haven’t had many huge storms, 14 accumulating snowstorms as of Dec 27th is actually a decent pace that is better than average based on my data from the past five seasons.



Wednesday, December 28th, 2011



Event totals: 1.0” Snow/0.75” L.E.


The rain gauge contained 0.75” of liquid this morning, so the event thus far has come in as 0.33” frozen and 0.42” liquid.  The snow at the stake has consolidated a couple of inches, but there’s a lot of liquid in there now so when it freezes up it should be good base material for the slopes as adk mentioned earlier in the thread.  Snow is visible on the radar off to our west in Northern New York; BTV NWS suggests it should be into Vermont by later this morning:



Some details from the 7:30 A.M. observations are below:


New Snow: 1.0 inches

New Liquid: 0.75 inches

Temperature: 36.9 F

Sky: Partly Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 4.0 inches



View PostHitman, on 28 December 2011 - 09:06 AM, said:

36 here and it just started snowing.


I figured it wouldn’t be too long before the snow came in when I saw your post.  We had a few sprinkles earlier, but as of ~8:45 A.M. we’ve got snow falling.  It’s generally light, but more substantial at times with flakes up to ¾” in diameter.



Event totals: 1.9” Snow/0.85” L.E.


It’s nice to be home for this after being out of town for much of the last upslope event; just when PF was talking about how it was starting to accumulate at 800’, things kicked in here at 500’ as well.  Steady moderate to heavy snow is falling with big flakes in the 10-25 mm range.  We picked up 0.07” of liquid this morning as non-accumulating snow, but now that the temperature has dropped, as of noon we’ve picked up 0.03” of additional liquid as 0.9” of snow.  It’s really coming down out there and there’s already another 0.9” on the board as 12:30 P.M., so that’s close to 2”/hr.  The 30 db echoes on the BTV Composite Radar speak to that.  I bet the mountains are getting blitzed:



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


New Snow: 0.9 inches

New Liquid: 0.03 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 30.0

Snow Density: 3.3% H2O

Temperature: 33.1 F

Sky: Moderate/Heavy Snow (10-25 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 4.5 inches



I just noticed that Bolton Valley has a nice live action HD web cam on their updated website – that’s at around 2,150’ elevation on the western slopes of the Northern Greens, so a good one for the web cam list:


You can definitely see the pounding snow right now – I wasn’t thinking of heading up until tomorrow, but I’m going to start getting thoughts like Powderfreak if this heavy snow keeps up.



View Postpowderfreak, on 28 December 2011 - 02:27 PM, said:

Full on white-out and blizzard conditions up at the ski resort... clocking near 50mph gusts in heavy snow even down to the base area at 1,500ft. Holy sh*t this is wild.


Yeah, it must be rippin' - I just got the word from the Bolton Valley Facebook Page that the Vista Quad is now on wind hold, so they're running on the lower mountain lifts - could mean good powder up to though when they open though.



I’ve been at the house and had the opportunity to take some intermediate snowfall measurements off the snowboard over the past couple of hours – the data are below and indicate snowfall rates of 1-2”/hr:


12:00 P.M.:  0.0”

12:30 P.M.:  0.9”

1:00 P.M.:  1.6”

1:30 P.M.:  2.4”

2:00 P.M.:  3.2”

2:30 P.M.:  4.1”


A couple of other noteworthy things with regard to the current storm:

1)     The combined snow from the front end and back end of this system has now reached the half foot mark, and has actually surpassed the Christmas Day storm for this location.

2)     With this latest accumulation, the amount of snowfall recorded at this location in December 2006  (20.2”) has finally been surpassed, so December 2011 won’t go down as the least snowy in the records I have.



View PostMad River, on 28 December 2011 - 04:06 PM, said:

Anybody have any data wrt moisture content? With this wind the snow will likely end up in the woods.


I’ll run a liquid analysis when I do the 6:00 P.M. snowboard clearing, but judging by feel right now I’d go in the 6-8% H2O range down here with little to no wind.  Flakes aren’t that big right now (2-5 mm diameter), thus it’s not coming in ultra light.  The flakes may be getting shredded a bit up high in the wind even before they get down to us in line with what PF was saying.  I updated the accumulation data with the 3:00 P.M. reading from the snowboard below, it’s definitely slowed down a bit around here:


12:00 P.M.:  0.0”

12:30 P.M.:  0.9”

1:00 P.M.:  1.6”

1:30 P.M.:  2.4”

2:00 P.M.:  3.2”

2:30 P.M.:  4.1”

3:00 P.M.:  4.5”

3:30 P.M.:  4.8”



Event totals: 7.6” Snow/1.19” L.E.


I headed up to Bolton for a couple of runs this afternoon, and there was certainly inch per hour snowfall up there with some brisk winds.  At a wind-sheltered spot at mid mountain (2,500’) my best estimate would be 7 inches of accumulation as of ~4:45 P.M.  I hiked up for a few turns above mid mountain, and in wind sheltered spots folks are going to have a lot of fun tomorrow.  I could see from Route 2 that there was backed up traffic on I-89 in the northbound lane due to the closure, but it was moving better when I was on my way back home.  Down here at the house I found 5.7 inches of new snow on the snowboard, representing the snowfall during the 12:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. collection period.  Relative to mid afternoon, the snow is definitely getting fluffier now, with somewhat larger flakes, so it’s not surprising that the overall density for the collection during the afternoon period came in at at 6.0% H2O, which was the lower range of my earlier estimate.  I’d say the current snowfall is sub 6 % H2O stuff, probably in the range of 4 or 5% H2O.  The radar still shows the moisture stacked up against the Greens, and we’ve picked up another 0.5 inches since the 6:00 P.M. snowboard clearing.



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


New Snow: 5.7 inches

New Liquid: 0.34 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 16.8

Snow Density: 6.0% H2O

Temperature: 17.6 F

Sky: Snow (5-12 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 9.0 inches



View PostHitman, on 28 December 2011 - 07:48 PM, said:

Im at 1500' near the base of lincoln peak. We have at least a foot and im being conservative. Best guess is 14-16". My understanding is there is another 6" or so up on the mtn judging by reports of what was down at the end of the ski day. Light medium size flakes now at 15F.


The evening snow reports list from the BTV NWS (below) certainly shows the pounding that is going on down in Addison County, in line with what Powderfreak talked about earlier.  We’ve had well over an inch of new liquid equivalent incorporated into the snowpack down here in the valley from this event, and with the consolidated base put together by the front and middle of this storm, we could be looking at some natural terrain openings depending on how the snowfall and winds play out tonight.  Although an all-snow event would have been great, adk did talk about how nicely this storm could potentially play out, even in “cutter” form.



NOUS41 KBTV 290010







710 PM EST WED DEC 28 2011








********************STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL********************



                     SNOWFALL           OF

                     /INCHES/   MEASUREMENT





   LINCOLN               11.5   621 PM 12/28  VIA FACEBOOK


   SOUTH STARKSBORO       9.0   400 PM 12/28  VIA FACEBOOK

   STARKSBORO             7.0   443 PM 12/28  1600FT ELEV.

   BRISTOL                5.0   500 PM 12/28  PUBLIC



   1 ENE NORTH UNDERHIL   6.0   550 PM 12/28  NWS EMPLOYEE

   UNDERHILL              6.0   639 PM 12/28  VIA FACEBOOK

   JONESVILLE             5.5   500 PM 12/28  NWS EMPLOYEE

   1 SSW UNDERHILL        4.0   402 PM 12/28  TRAINED SPOTTER

   BOLTON                 4.0   450 PM 12/28  BOLTON VALLEY SKI AREA

   1 S ESSEX CENTER       3.1   645 PM 12/28  NWS EMPLOYEE

   JERICHO                3.0   210 PM 12/28  PUBLIC

   2 NW WESTFORD          2.9   318 PM 12/28  NWS EMPLOYEE

   RICHMOND               2.0   205 PM 12/28  PUBLIC



   MONTGOMERY CENTER      3.5   434 PM 12/28  PUBLIC

   ST. ALBANS             3.5   630 PM 12/28  NWS EMPLOYEE






   JAY                    4.0   435 PM 12/28  JAY PEAK






   WATERBURY CENTER       2.0   429 PM 12/28  PUBLIC







View Postpowderfreak, on 29 December 2011 - 12:07 AM, said:

Nice snowy night in the upslope region. Impressive 10-13" amounts on the western side. We only ended up with just over 5" on the Mountain Road. Significantly less though towards the center of the village, maybe only 2-3".

Either way, the "rain" event ended up with a solid net gain from the 1" before the rain, and then the upslope topping at the end.


Since the radar suggests the snowfall is done, it looks like the totals for the event here will be 9.7” snow and about 1 ¼” of liquid.  Even down here in the valley it appears that the entire storm’s worth of liquid went into the snowpack, so it should be a great net gain for the slopes.  The Mt. Mansfield Stake was at 20 inches as of the ~5:30 P.M. report today, and I’m not sure how much more they got tonight, but it’s getting tantalizingly close to that 2-foot mark.  The forecast also suggests we’ve got the opportunity for more snow this week.  I’ll probably be up for a bit so I’ll run a liquid analysis at midnight.



Event totals: 9.7” Snow/1.24” L.E.


This last round of snow really dropped in density to sub 3% H2O, and it is settling fast – the depth at our stake is the same as it was at the 6:00 P.M. reading.  Details from the 12:00 A.M. observations are below:


New Snow: 2.1 inches

New Liquid: 0.05 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 42.0

Snow Density: 2.4% H2O

Temperature: 10.4 F

Sky: Partly Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 9.0 inches



Here’s what I’ve seen for storm totals for the Vermont ski areas using their 48-hr snow totals.  The list is from north to south along the spine of the Greens:


Jay Peak: 8”

Smuggler’s Notch: 12”

Stowe: 8”

Bolton Valley: 11”

Mad River Glen: 8”

Sugarbush: 12”

Middlebury: 6”

Pico: 10”

Killington: 10”

Okemo: 4”

Bromley: 0”

Magic Mountain: T

Stratton: 1”

Mount Snow: 0”





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