February 11th, 2012 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates



Monday, February 6th, 2012



I just finished listening to the morning weather broadcasts, and it looks like a fairly quite week for Northern Vermont with just a couple of minor snow events.  There’s one round of snow coming through tonight into tomorrow, and then another one expected for Friday.  If these storms do their usual thing with the mountains, that would be great, since Roger Hill said that he doesn’t see any major warm air intrusions on the horizon.  It would be nice to have the new snow go right into enhancement instead of recovery from firm conditions.  The off piste and backcountry are already offering up excellent powder turns, so any additional rounds of snow will only enhance that.  Roger also said that we have definitely undergone a pattern change (I guess the lack of an anticipated mixed system or two this week is a testament to that), which will only have minor events for now, but does hold the potential for some bigger systems down the road.  The base (both snow and skier) is definitely ready for some bigger dumps, and it would be nice to build for spring.  I haven’t finished processing all my images from the weekend yet, but I added another shot from Saturday below – conditions on natural snow terrain are excellent all the way down to that 1,500’-2,000’ elevation range, even if some tall grass is still poking through in spots:




View Postpowderfreak, on 6 February 2012 - 08:06 AM, said:

WRF really lights up the Jay Peak area prior to 6z tonight, then as the front sags south the rest of the Greens get in on some snowfall.

Seeing 0.1-0.25" with localized greater than 0.25" QPF, could be another nice refresher from after midnight tonight through around midday tomorrow. It looks like here in WSW Lamoille County down through J.Spin we are in the 0.1-0.25" range with 0.25-0.5" over Mansfield proper.

Thanks for the update PF, it's going to be really nice seeing this put down on top of the current fluff instead of having to mend some sort of “crustification” layer.  Hopefully the Greens will do their usual best to wring out whatever is available.



Tuesday, February 7th, 2012



Flurries were falling this morning with just a trace of accumulation on the snowboard, but there’s nothing other than that to pass along from the house at this point.  There is certainly some visible precipitation building in from the northwest on the radar though:



After this event it sounds like the middle of the week will be pretty dry, before more chances for snow move in around the weekend.  Roger Hill highlighted the next potential snowfall period as Friday/Saturday with the passage of that arctic front, and said that we’ll have to watch for Sunday/Monday if that upper level low settles over Quebec.


On a seasonal note, daylight is definitely moving along now.  It was a pleasant surprise to be able get all the way home on the Montpelier LINK and still have light in the sky; other folks commented on it as well, so there must have been a good jump in sunset time over the past several days.  With the daylight I was able to notice the dramatic change in snowpack as one heads east from the Burlington area into the Green Mountains.  Although quite low by typical February standards, the snowpack at the house has been fluctuating up and down a bit below a foot, but snow on the ground drops to zero pretty quickly west of the mountains.  At valley level, there’s nothing notable on the ground in Burlington, South Burlington, Williston, Richmond… and even Jonesville and Bolton.  It’s not until one hits Bolton Flats that there appears to be any sort of white on the ground, and in the span of a few miles it jumps up to the 6 to 12-inch range in Waterbury.  Seeing the snowpack gradient heading into the mountains isn’t all that atypical, but having nothing on the ground in Bolton is a sharper line than usual – yesterday’s Colorado-style winter weather may have burned off some of the thinner areas to make the snow line a bit more dramatic.



Friday, February 10th, 2012



Listening to the morning weather broadcasts, it sounds like it’s going to be pretty decent on the slopes for Saturday – some snow is coming in, and temperatures are now expected to stay in the mid 20s F.  It does get colder by Sunday though.  For snow accumulations, based on comments from Roger Hill and the Eye on the Sky crew, the potential is there for 4 to 5 inches through the weekend in the mountains, with lower amounts in the valleys.  Our point forecast calls for up to a couple of inches through tomorrow, but snow is in the forecast from tonight right through to Sunday night:



We could use a freshening of the snowpack though; we’ve now elapsed one third of the month and I’ve only recorded 3.4 inches of snowfall at our location.  February is (marginally) the snowiest month around here according to the snowfall data I have collected, with a five-year mean of ~45 inches at our spot in the valley, and certainly substantially more than that in the mountains.  With this early February dry stretch, season snowfall has now dropped to 70.9% of average relative to the past six seasons (including this one).  Snowfall is still running well ahead of 2006-2007 (58.2 inches as of this date), but that is likely to change by the beginning of next week because 2006-2007 had a dramatic increase in snowfall (~30 inches) due to the Valentine’s Day Storm.  That event shot the season snowfall up to near 90 inches at that point, and I don’t see this season getting there by the beginning of next week, so 2011-2012 will likely move into the bottom spot in my records for the coming stretch.



Saturday, February 11th, 2012



Event totals: 0.2” Snow/Trace L.E.


It looks like snow only started up within the past couple of hours, but there were a couple of tenths of an inch down as of 6:00 A.M. observation time.  Prior to this, the most recent accumulating snowfall I recorded here was last Saturday morning, when the final couple of tenths fell during that northwest flow/upper level disturbance event.  That puts the interval between accumulating snow at just shy of a week, which is notable for this area, even with the dearth of snowfall this season.  Apparently there’s some good potential for snow over the next couple of days based on comments in the forecast discussion from BTV; in their synopsis they note the possibility for several inches in the mountains.


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


New Snow: 0.2 inches

New Liquid: Trace

Temperature: 28.6 F

Sky: Light Snow (1-3 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 8.5 inches



Sunday, February 12th, 2012



View Postpowderfreak, on 10 February 2012 - 05:34 PM, said:

Finding powder a week after our last snowfall...


Enjoyed the pics PF – it’s certainly no fun having to wait a week between snowfalls, but the snow has held up well over this fairly snowless stretch.  Bolton opened up Timberline on Friday, so that’s helped alleviate the powder shortage with all the additional terrain.  Things are certainly beaten down, but at least powder is available – I added a couple of shots of the boys from yesterday below:





View Postpowderfreak, on 12 February 2012 - 06:37 AM, said:

Here comes the arctic chill... 0F and breezy at 1,500ft. Walking across the parking lot to the office at 5:15am was quite chilly.

But I can't wait to get a chairlift this morning... clocking near 40mph gusts with -11F at the summit. Wind chill has already hit -40F this morning and we are supposed to keep falling today.


Keep those mountain updates coming PF, they’re much appreciated.  Along with the NWS forecast, and on-the-snow comments from one of the Morrisville program coaches, your observations have been helpful in making decisions for our Stowe ski program.  It actually ended up not being a tough call today; E and her fellow director cancelled due to the combination temperatures and wind.  We’re not hearing complaints from any parents, especially since conditions aren’t all that inspiring by local standards anyway.  It’s not that surfaces are all that bad, but things are just sort of “beaten down” (a phrase a friend used yesterday at Bolton that seems nicely descriptive) and we need a freshening.  We’re getting a taste of what happens when you don’t get snow for a week.  It seemed like the break from all the mixed precipitation in the storm cycles was going to be nice change of pace, but if it comes at the price of losing storms altogether, that makes the switch much less appealing.  It sounds like things may be moving back in that other direction anyway.


Those were some nice shots you posted in the ski thread; powder is out there to be found (I added a couple shots from yesterday in the ski thread), it’s just taking a little more work than usual.  We had a good time with the boys yesterday up on the hill with temperatures in the 20s F, but with the big drop in temperatures and the snow quality not being off the hook, I’m happier catching up on stuff indoors today.




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