April 4th, 2012 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates

 

 

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

 

 

I mentioned seeing potential snow on the ECMWF for the beginning of next week in my post in the ski thread this morning, but I was just checking on today’s BTV forecast discussion and they are mentioned the potential for that timeframe as well.  I wouldn’t describe what I saw on the ECMWF as “copious”, but with the experts at BTV using that word, I decided to check the GFS as well, and it has precipitation in the area day after day next week.  Based on the runs I’ve looked at, the ECMWF has the precipitation Sunday morning through Monday evening, and GFS has it midday Monday through Thursday night.  Excerpt from the BTV discussion below:

 

LATEST RUNS NOW BRING CUTOFF LOW FROM THE SOUTH OFFSHORE AND PHASING IT WITH NORTHERN SYSTEM OVER THE MARITIMES. THIS COMBINED SYSTEM WILL RETROGRADE CLDS/PRECIP BACK UPON THE NORTH COUNTRY RIGHT THRU TUESDAY. EMPHASIS WILL BE OVER THE NORTHERN ZONES AS SFC FLOW SETS UP WITH LOW ENDING UP PARKING ITSELF OVER EASTERN CANADA. THIS IS GOING TO ALLOW COPIOUS MOSITURE TO PINWHEEL THRU THE CWA. COLDER AIR FILTERING IN WITH THIS SYSTEM WILL BRING A CHANGOVER TO SNOW SHOWERS DURING THE NIGHT-TIME HRS. HIR TTRN MOSTLY EFFECTED DURING THIS TIME.

 

I’m surprised that there hasn’t been any discussion about this yet though; although the timing is somewhat different on the two models, they both seem to be suggesting a similar retrograding low pressure system, and when one of these lows sits there and spins, that can send in a nice dose of precipitation.  Based on the projected thicknesses and 850 mb temps I’m seeing projected on the ECMWF and GFS, I have to think there’s going to be some snow, especially for the mountains.  It seems pretty interesting, so what’s the catch?

 

 

View PostGinx, on 4 April 2012 - 11:55 AM, said:

It is very very interesting for a huge upslope potential but it seems with all the wavering the models have done daily no one is biting. This could easily be nada too.

 

Thanks Ginx, it is a bit out there still, so we’ll keep watching.

 

On a related note, skies were clear this morning, but clouds have been building in throughout the day, and as of ~2:00 P.M., snow has started crashing out along the spine of the Greens, presumably in association with tonight’s system.  The area south of Bolton Mountain (near Bolton Valley Ski Resort) was the first place I saw the snow start to fall, but it’s also forming just south of Mt. Mansfield now.  I snapped a quick shot from here in the office because it was sort of nice with the sun lighting up the snow.  I also added the radar image below, where you can see some of the most intense moisture hitting the Bolton Valley area of the spine around I-89.  On the far right of the image is Camel’s Hump that I mentioned the other day, with foreboding clouds above it.  Snow just crashed out there in the past few minutes so now it’s mostly hidden from view.

 

 

 

 

I’m heading home right now on the bus and we’ve driving right into that precipitation that the mountains are forcing out of the sky.  We had partly cloudy skies with an occasional drop of rain in Burlington, which increased to a steadier light rain once we hit Williston, and continued into Richmond.  We’re passing through the spine now and the rain is actually coming down pretty hard.  Although it’s liquid down here in the valley, it’s definitely snow in the high country based on the look of the precipitation from earlier this afternoon and the fact that the temperature is 28 F on the Mt. Mansfield ridgeline at the moment.  I can’t see the snow line from here on the floor of the Winooski Valley because the high peaks disappear in the precipitation, but hopefully the snow level comes down tonight.

 

 

 

As of 6:00 P.M. we’ve got about a tenth of an inch of liquid so far in the gauge; it does look like the snow line is around that 2,000’ level based on what I can see

 

 

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

 

 

Event totals: 0.1” Snow/0.11” L.E.

 

The snow line clearly dropped to the valley bottom overnight, because flurries were falling at the house this morning when I made my observations for CoCoRaHS, and there was a touch of accumulation.  At first I didn’t know that any snow had stuck, but then I started to see white on elevated surfaces, and checked the snowboard to find a tenth of an inch down.  So, this will go down as the first accumulating snow event of the month.  For total liquid, most of that was received yesterday, as close to a tenth of an inch of rain had fallen by 6:00 P.M.  On a seasonal note, this is the 44th accumulating snowfall event of the season at our reporting location, which is the average number of accumulating storms per season calculated from the five complete seasons available.  Snowfall is well below average however, so the amount of snow per storm is certainly lower this season.  I’d contemplated heading up into the higher elevations for some turns this morning, but I couldn’t see much in terms of accumulation below 2,000’, suggesting that while the snow level dropped quite low, precipitation wasn’t all that robust.  It will be interesting to see what accumulation reports come in from the higher elevations, but Jay Peak isn’t indicating any new snow in their morning report.

 

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

 

New Snow: 0.1 inches

New Liquid: Trace

Temperature: 34.5 F

Sky:  Flurries

Snow at the stake: Trace

 

 

Well, just when you think Mt. Mansfield is done manufacturing snow, it starts up again – the mountain just disappeared behind snow as another slug of precipitation approached, so I took a quick look at the composite radar and grabbed the latest image series:

 

 

It feels like a repeat of yesterday, but the forecast doesn’t really call for much precipitation tonight.

 

 

View Postcpick79, on 5 April 2012 - 03:30 PM, said:

j spin...no drive up bolton valley access road. i wonder if they scored 3 or so last nite at 2.5k

 

Last night I was definitely contemplating a morning trip up to Bolton for some turns; I even gassed up the car yesterday evening on the way home from the park and ride in preparation.  But, based on what we got at the house for snow/liquid overnight, what I saw on radar, and what I saw on the Stowe Web Cam, it didn’t seem to quite hit the threshold to make it worth the trip – at least in the context of a work day.  I’ve tried to check the Bolton Valley Web Cam a few times as well to get a closer look, but it hasn’t been working for me.  I’m curious about what next week brings though; it seems like there’s some potential for the mountains.

 

 

Friday, April 6th, 2012

 

 

View Postpowderfreak, on 5 April 2012 - 10:35 AM, said:

Looks like this event is about done. I'm waiting on first hand reports from the 3-4K foot region... I could see up to 4" up there last night.

Last of the snow showers and flurries moving through Mansfield area now.

 

Nice call PF; the co-op data for the stake indicate a 4” increase in snow depth, with the snowpack going from 24” to 28”.  Of course, that was accomplished with only 2.5” of new snow falling, so apparently it fluffed up upon landing instead of obeying the usual laws of physics and settling:

 

000
SXUS51 KBTV 052149
HYDBTV
DAILY HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL DATA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BURLINGTON VT
549 PM EDT THU APR 5 2012
 
STATION            PRECIP   TEMPERATURE   PRESENT         SNOW
                   24 HRS   MAX MIN CUR   WEATHER     NEW TOTAL SWE
...VERMONT...
MOUNT MANSFIELD     0.26    27  17  20                2.5  28

 

I’ll be curious to see the snow depth at this time next week, based on the current forecast with seasonable temperatures and some chance for precipitation, I can’t imagine it dropping much.  Latest extended forecast discussion from BTV:

 

.LONG TERM /SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY/... AS OF 328 AM EDT FRIDAY...RIDGE FINALLY BREAKS DOWN OVER THE CWA SUN NGT...AS CLOSED OFF UPPER LOW BEGINS TO BACK WEST FROM THE CANADIAN MARITIMES. MDLS STILL SHOW CONSISTENCY IN BRINGING THIS SYSTEM INTO SOUTH-CENTRAL QUEBEC...ALTHOUGH LATEST RUNS A BIT MORE NORTH. THIS IS GOING TO PUT WNW FLOW OVER THE CWA UNTIL THURSDAY WHEN SYSTEM PUSHES OFFSHORE AND RIDGE APPROACHES FROM THE WEST PUTTING THE MEAN FLOW MORE NORTHERLY. UNTIL THEN BASED ON WNW FROM MONDAY THRU LATE WEDNESDAY...BROAD CIRCULATION WILL KEEP CWA MCLDY/CLDY W/ LOW SCT QPF CHANCES. BULK APPEARS TO BE DIURNALLY DRIVEN W/ EMPHASIS OVER NORTHERN ZONES/HIR ELEV. CD AIR WRAPPING IN AROUND THIS SYSTEM WILL BRING MAINLY -SW OVERNGT...ESPECIALLY FOR HIR ELEV AND -RW/-SW MIX AT HIR TRRN/-RW VALLEY LOCALES DURING THE DAY. TEMPS THRU THE EXTENDED WILL REMAIN NEAR NORMAL WITH DAYTIME HIGHS IN THE U40S(HIR ELEV) TO L/M 50S(VALLEY LOCALES. OVERNGT LOWS WILL RANGE FROM THE M/U 20S HIR TRRN...TO THE L/M 30S ELSEWHERE.

 

 

 

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