December 23rd, 2012 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates



Sunday, December 23rd, 2012



A final tenth of an inch of snow accumulated on the snowboard this morning after the 6:00 A.M. clearing, which brought the total for the recent event to 11.7”.  That was it for precipitation this morning, and the sun was even peeking out here and there for a bit, but by midday that weak upper level disturbance was making its way into the area.  We were up on the mountain at the time, and once snow broke out it persisted for the rest of the day with some beautiful dendrites.  It was typically light with a couple bouts of moderate, but it was fantastic mood snow and it looks like the mountain picked up another inch of fluff to top off the rest of the Champlain Powder™ - and indeed it was, that was some extremely high quality snow that we got last night.  The skiing was fantastic, with temperatures in the 20s F, minimal wind, and those flakes all afternoon to finish the scene.  I generally found 12-14” around the mountain after settling, with a shot below of a measurement I took at the 2,800’ level:



Just add skis and you get the following:



We’ve picked up another 0.9” on the snowboard tonight, and it looks like there’s a decent feed of moisture into the area based on the radar:



With that addition, December snowfall here has reached a respectable 21.3”, and this December has now pulled out of last place for monthly snowfall by passing December 2006 (where there was just 20.2” for the entire month).  We’re about halfway to average December snowfall now, so with more potential storms in the pipe, this month has a chance to end up with a respectable total.  The point forecast suggests four rounds of snow in the near future, a little tonight with the weak upper level disturbance, another one of those Christmas Even into Christmas day, and then potentially larger storms Wednesday/Thursday and Saturday/Sunday.


Speaking of respectable, I just saw that the Mt. Mansfield Stake came in at 42” today, and indeed this past event has pushed the snowpack up to and now beyond average.  The snowpack plot shows one heck of a catching up spike on it:



Details from the 4:00 P.M. Waterbury observations:


New Snow: 0.1 inches

New Liquid: Trace

Temperature: 27.9 F

Sky: Light Snow (1-7 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 6.0 inches



Event totals: 1.6” Snow/0.07” L.E.


The upslope snow in the snowpack is still settling, today’s snow basically just allowed it to hold pat in the 6 to 8-inch range.  The snowfall had tapered off at observations time, but there’s been a resurgence recently so there may be a bit more to record in the morning


Details from the 10:00 P.M. Waterbury observations:


New Snow: 1.5 inches

New Liquid: 0.07 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 21.4

Snow Density: 4.7% H2O

Temperature: 28.4 F

Sky: Flurries

Snow at the stake: 6.0 inches



It’s been tough to track these individual storm cycle snowfall totals with the multiple events, front and back end accumulations, etc., but I did a quick check this evening and for those Vermont ski areas that post 7-day totals, I’ve listed them from north to south below:


Jay Peak: 30”

Stowe: 34”

Bolton Valley: 30”

Killington: 22”

Stratton: 12”



Monday, December 24th, 2012



ono, on 24 Dec 2012 - 12:27 AM, said:


J. Spin-

so you've measured 11.7" thru the 21st, then another 1.0" through today, and your stake is measuring 6.0"? is that correct? all settling of pure fluff, then. gravity does crazy things to snow. like to hear the consistency of your pack.

Indeed, snow at the stake is sitting at 6.0”, even after all this snowfall.  The snow in the stake area got hit a bit harder with the rains, so there’s a lot of the yard in the 8-inch range, but I go with what accumulates right at my traditional stake spot because it’s generally a good average representation come springtime.  I’ve wanted to take a core of the snowpack to see where it’s at, so this prompted to run out back and do it, and I got 0.69” of liquid.  That’s in the 10 to 1 range bolstered by the crusty inch or two on the bottom, so there’s certainly more settling possible.


ono, on 24 Dec 2012 - 12:27 AM, said:


hard to believe that, after this week, you're only about 1/2 your december average- but the numbers don't lie. looking at the stake's numbers tells the story about elevation- the Greens got a way of making snow that's hard to believe. it always feels like i'm telling a fisherman's story about the magnitude of snow in the northern greens to people that have not experienced the prolific green mountain snowfall machine. hehehe....


Yeah, calculated December snowfall average here is 41.6 ± 18.2” (S.D.) based on my data since 2006.  It was hard to imagine even an average month with the way the first half of this December went, but if we stick in a pattern like this for the last week of December, and maybe catch a couple more significant events, I could see things getting close to that range.  That would be quite a recovery after only 2.2” of snow for the entire first half of the month.  Speaking of this pattern, it’s snowing pretty nicely out there with another 0.4” on the snowboard, so the beat goes on in that respect.  You’ll sometimes hear Powderfreak talk about how living here is like living in a snow globe, and that analogy is especially descriptive during these periods.  The Northern Greens are the site of an impressive collision of weather and geography.



Event totals: 2.1” Snow/0.08” L.E.


Snow was just flurries at observation time, but it has since resumed with a round of light snow.


Details from the 7:00 A.M. Waterbury observations:


New Snow: 0.5 inches

New Liquid: 0.01 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 50.0

Snow Density: 2.0% H2O

Temperature: 16.9 F

Sky: Flurries

Snow at the stake: 5.5 inches




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