March 2nd, 2012 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates



Friday, March 2nd, 2012



We went to Stowe today for turns, and boy, after in excess of five feet of snow in the past week or so, the conditions are stupendous, just like one would expect for prime season.  The snow from this last event wasn’t quite the 2-4% H2O fluff that we picked up during the previous storm cycle last weekend, but it was decent medium-weight powder in the 7-8% H2O range based on my analyses here at the house, and it skied beautifully.  The snowpack depth at the Mt. Mansfield Stake is at 81” as of this evening’s measurement, with what looks like roughly 2/3 of an inch of additional liquid going into the snowpack from the storm.  Of course, I’m never sure of their liquid measurement if they aren’t actually capable of catching the snow that falls.  I added a couple of pictures from today below:


The next storm is already on our doorstep (flakes were flying here as of ~10:15 P.M. or so), and as klw mentioned above, Winter Weather Advisories are up for most of the state:


Our point forecast indicates the potential for a couple inches of new snow here, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the point forecast for Mt. Mansfield has the temperature barely going above freezing tomorrow.


On a seasonal note, I was looking through my data and noticed that thanks to the boost of the past week or so, this season’s snowfall is rapidly approaching what was obtained at this location in the entire season of 2009-2010 (127.7”).  That was a season of storms tracking way too far south, and I’d forgotten just how poor it was in terms of snowfall.  I just checked the seasonal averages in my records, and the mean snowfall from here on out is just shy of 40”, so with the current 2011-2012 snowfall at 105.4”, even a below average March and April could see this season surpass 2009-2010 for snowfall.  With the way much of this season went, I would consider it quite an impressive recovery if this season avoided being the least snowy of the past six.



Saturday, March 3rd, 2012



Event totals: 0.6” Snow/0.16” L.E.


I saw that snow started up last night around 10:15 P.M. or so, and did hear some ticks of sleet, so presumably that was in the stack this morning adding to the very high density of the snow.  The north to south list of snow totals from the Vermont ski areas is below for those resorts that have reported in; it looks like overnight snowfall for this event was generally in the 1-3” range:


Jay Peak: 1”

Burke: 3”

Stowe: 1”

Bolton Valley: 1”

Mad River Glen: T”

Sugarbush: ˝”

Pico: 3”

Killington: 3”

Mount Snow: 2”


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


New Snow: 0.6 inches

New Liquid: 0.16 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 3.8

Snow Density: 26.7% H2O

Temperature: 33.1 F

Sky: Flurries (1-2 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 13.0 inches



Sunday, March 4th, 2012



Event totals: 0.7” Snow/0.16” L.E.


An additional tenth of an inch of snow fell at the house last night in the form of graupel as the colder air from this storm worked its way in, but that’s all there is to note from down here in the Winooski Valley.


We’ve generally been skiing at Stowe since the end of last weekend’s storm, which means we’ve been observing the weather/snow conditions there, but I was at Bolton Valley yesterday so I can provide that update.  I headed up to the mountain around 9:30 A.M., at which point the temperature was mid 30s F in the valley (300’ – 500’) and up at the Village (~2,100’) it was right around the freezing mark.  It was spitting a little mixed precipitation when I arrived, but there wasn’t really much of significance that appeared to affect the snow surfaces.  They’d received about an inch of new snow as I reported yesterday morning.  It was certainly below freezing on most of the mountain up through the summit areas in the 3,100’ – 3,200’ range, but the freezing level was starting to climb as the morning wore on.  Temperatures were kept low by the presence of clouds (some low and covering the top 1/3 of the mountain) but once the clouds started to break away and the sun came out, freezing levels shot right up past the summits.  It was beautiful with the sun out, but the powder quickly started to get thick and the groomed slopes a bit sticky, so that was a double-edged sword in that regard.  There were some clouds moving in and out during the midday period – I had skinned up to the top of the Wilderness area since the lift wasn’t running, and got to hang out there at 3,000’ and watch one round of clouds come crashing into the area, so that was pretty cool.  I added a couple of shots from the yesterday near the Vista Summit:


Our current valley point forecast calls for as much as 3-5 inches of snow through tomorrow with the upper level trough coming into the area, and it seems to be upslope enhanced as the flow goes northwest.  I see a fairly similar 3-6 inches in the Mt. Mansfield forecast as well though, so I suspect the snowfall could be hit or miss in the mountain valleys.


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


New Snow: 0.1 inches

New Liquid: Trace

Temperature: 34.2 F

Sky: Mostly Clear

Snow at the stake: 10.0 inches



View PostNittany88, on 4 March 2012 - 12:48 AM, said:

With the lack of a true synoptic snow storm (most have been orographically driven, whether SE upslope or NW upslope), the immediate Champlain Valley has had very little snow (34" at BTV, which is #2 on the All-Time Least amount).


With February complete, I’ve been meaning to pass along some monthly snowfall data, and this is a good lead in.  I haven’t yet put up a plot of how the January snowfall came in at this location, so I’ve added it below.  It was certainly on the low side, but it ended up higher than either ‘06-‘07 or ‘07-‘08, and not all that far behind ‘09-‘10, so certainly not bottom of the barrel:


The first two thirds of February this season were very slow in terms of snowfall, but the storms in the last third of the month, especially last weekend’s big one that delivered almost two feet, were a good shot of redemption.  February still came in as the lowest of the past six for snowfall, but it ended up not being quite the huge outlier that it might have been if the month continued the way it was going:


Seasonally, we’re running neck and neck with ‘06-‘07 now thanks to last weekend’s big storm, but ‘06-‘07 will take a two-foot leap mid month thanks to the 2007 St. Patrick’s Day storm.  And as I mentioned before, only about half the average snowfall from this point on in the season would see ’11-’12 topping ‘09-‘10, which was a very meager season for snowfall because of the southern storm track.  So climatologically, the seasonal snowfall numbers are definitely not as aberrant out here in the mountains as they are in the Champlain Valley.





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