December 26th, 2012 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates



Sunday, December 23rd, 2012



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:




Tuesday, December 25th, 2012



Well, the Winter Storm Watches have been converted to Winter Storm Warnings just about everywhere visible on the BTV advisories map.  The current accumulations map has the highest totals in Central/Southern Vermont and the Adirondacks, and I suspect any refinements will be put into additional maps tomorrow.





Wednesday, December 26th, 2012



powderfreak, on 26 Dec 2012 - 1:57 PM, said:


Man all 12z guidance is just a big, big hit for 95% of NNE. Immediate coastline in ME may be the only question mark.

UKMET, Canadian, GFS, NAM, other meso-models... wow. Congrats all.

This looks about as good as it gets too for development at this stage. Just a classic east coast winter storm.


Heavy snow is called for in the next two periods on our point forecast, but essentially the whole rest of the month/holiday period is looking good:



Yesterday’s snow already puts our season snowfall well ahead of where it was at this point in 2006 (12.5”), 2011 (22.5”), and 2009 (26.2”), so it’s going to be fun to see where it is after this storm and the rest of the week.



Snow has commenced here in Waterbury as of 11:39 P.M.



Thursday, December 27th, 2012



J.Spin, on 27 Dec 2012 - 12:42 AM, said:


Snow has commenced here in Waterbury as of 11:39 P.M.


I’m still up so I did a one hour snow depth check at 12:39 A.M. – 1.9” on the snowboard in that first hour, so the snow came in and pretty quickly went to a heavy rate.



Event totals: 4.8” Snow/0.37” L.E.


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


New Snow: 4.8 inches

New Liquid: 0.37 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 13.0

Snow Density: 7.7% H2O

Temperature: 25.5 F

Sky: Light/Moderate Snow (2-10 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 9.0 inches



Here’s the current north to south listing of morning snowfall totals that I’ve seen from the various Vermont ski areas; it’s up and down somewhat along the spine, but in general the higher totals are to the south:


Jay Peak: 8”

Burke: 4”

Smuggler’s Notch: 8”

Stowe: 6”

Bolton Valley: 5”

Mad River Glen: 10”

Sugarbush: 12”

Middlebury: 8”

Pico: 6”

Killington: 6”

Okemo: 10”

Bromley: 12”

Magic Mountain: 12”

Stratton: 6”

Mount Snow: 13”



I just did a 10:00 A.M. check on the snowboard and there’s 3.9” new since the 6:00 A.M. clearing, so snowfall has been right about 1”/hr during the morning.  Storm total is currently 8.7”.



adk, on 27 Dec 2012 - 11:47 AM, said:


ADK is getting dumped on. I'd wager the high peaks will get 30 or so above 3000 ft (which isn't that high over there).

Really interesting storm otherwise. Stowe is def. getting a little shadowed. It was dumping in BTV (and still is) WOOF. All the way thru the pass on 89. Then it started changing to a lighter snow. Stowe's 6 was about right. It was a wetter more solid 6. Temps were about 27. In Richmond there was 8-10 on the ground and it was 22-24F. In BTV there is 10-11 and it's 24-25F.
Keene Valley is reporting 16 already with 1" hr snowfall rates.

The tricky part is going to be what happens when the winds start to rotate around to the N. Per the high res BTVWRF we're looking at temps falling to -12 to -16C at 850 and about .5 inches of moisture. That could result in a really nice 8 inches of Champlain powder along the spine.


Thanks a lot for the detailed update adk.  I just did an 11:00 A.M. check on the snowboard; there’s 5.4” on there since the 6:00 A.M clearing, so that’s a bit over 1”/hr average for this morning.  Current storm total here is 10.2”.  One interesting thing to note is that this is 1”/hr snow, but these aren’t upslope-style flakes – they’re very small here, generally 1-2 mm, with a few up to 5 mm.  So that’s some serious moisture coming down.  The noontime stack should have a decent shot of water in it with all these small flakes.



eyewall, on 27 Dec 2012 - 12:02 PM, said:


closing in on 10" here in Williston. Here is a short video taken with an ipad. I will edit footage from my good camera later:


Thanks eyewall, it’s great having your Williston observations to add to the NNE thread.  Come on up any time you want to bring these storms to NNE.



Event totals: 10.5” Snow/0.77” L.E.


The snowfall rate slowed down from the 1”/hr pace toward the end of this last collection period, but it has since picked back up.  Flake size remains generally small (1-3 mm diameters) with occasional bouts of larger flakes up to the 10-12 mm range.


Details from the 12:00 P.M. Waterbury observations:


New Snow: 5.7 inches

New Liquid: 0.40 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 14.3

Snow Density: 7.0% H2O

Temperature: 26.2 F

Sky: Moderate Snow (1-3 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 14.0 inches



j24vt, on 27 Dec 2012 - 1:26 PM, said:


Lunch time in Stowe. Heading to the mountain


I hear ya, thinking of heading up to Bolton to see how things are going up there.



Event totals: 15.0” Snow/1.11” L.E.


Details from the 6:00 P.M. Waterbury observations:


New Snow: 4.5 inches

New Liquid: 0.34 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 13.2

Snow Density: 7.6% H2O

Temperature: 24.2 F

Sky: Moderate Snow (1-3 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 17.0 inches



eyewall, on 27 Dec 2012 - 7:56 PM, said:


Shouldn't event 16 say 12/27?


Good observation eyewall – I go with the “start” date for each event in the signature list (many are multi-day snowfall events), and this one gets a 12/26 because I caught the start of the snow and it happened to be at 11:39 P.M. yesterday evening.  If I hadn’t known when it started though, it probably would have gone down as 12/27 since that was when I made the first set of observations.



adk, on 27 Dec 2012 - 5:31 PM, said:


Wonder if JSpin went up to Bolton. With that east wind they might have loaded in with a ton of snow.

Headed up this afternoon for some runs - indeed it was interesting having the funky wind direction - I'd say I actually noticed it most in the lack of wind scouring in many spots. I'll send along an update in a bit.



mreaves, on 27 Dec 2012 - 10:17 PM, said:


JSpin literally inching me out. I had 14". Unfortunately that was measured on a previously shoveled deck instead of the table I have set up as a measuring board. 8 year old boys ftl! Luckily he didn't trample or shovel the entire deck and I was able yo get what I feel is a fairly accurate representation. I am able to say that 2"'fell from the time he got shovel happy at 4:00 and when I went out after dinner at 7:00.


Nice job getting the measurements.  I can relate a bit on the trampling – my boys (7 and 9) can get pretty crazy out there in the snow, but they’re getting trained hard to know that the snowboard off the end of the deck must not be disturbed!  They mess up the beautiful edges that the snow thrower makes in the driveway with their sledding, and they make other messes with their forts and all that, but the line is drawn when it comes to the main snowboard.  They are actually good about staying away from the snow stake as well, but that’s a bit out of the way so it’s much easier to avoid.  So far we’ve been able to live harmoniously and I’ve always been able to get the snow data.  My younger son even helped to measure the liquid in one of the snow cores the other day, so that was nice.  I think they get that it’s kind of fun and “sciency”, and not entirely crazy measuring all this white stuff.



Friday, December 28th, 2012



Event totals: 15.5” Snow/1.15” L.E.


There were 0.1” of final accumulation from the front side of the system after 6:00 P.M. yesterday, and an additional 0.4” of back side snow overnight to tack on 0.5” to the snow to the storm total.


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


New Snow: 0.5 inches

New Liquid: 0.04 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 12.5

Snow Density: 8.0% H2O

Temperature: 24.2 F

Sky: Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 16.0 inches



ono, on 28 Dec 2012 - 11:34 AM, said:


with that in the books, you're now on track to for average december at your spot, then?


Absolutely, we could even end up above average.  Thanks to this last storm, the snowfall total for the month is 40.7” (from 5.95” of liquid).  Since the mean December snowfall here is 41.6”, we should easily be getting there if the forecast is correct (2-5” through tomorrow night).  The point and click actually looks reasonably snowy right through the New Year:




Saturday, December 29th, 2012



I hadn’t gotten around to checking on Vermont ski area snow totals from the last storm, but I figured I’d better get around to it this morning since the next storm is coming in.  I’ve used a combination of 72-hour accumulations for areas that report those, storm totals if they indicated that in their snow report text, or Ski Vermont numbers (sometimes funky, but jiving well with most resort websites) to fill in the rest.  The north to south listing of totals is below; I’d say the storm was generally in the 18-20” range up and down the state, with a couple standouts like Sugarbush and Jay Peak, and a couple lower values like Burke and Mount Snow.


Jay Peak: 28”

Burke: 11”

Smuggler’s Notch: 18”

Stowe: 17”

Bolton Valley: 16”

Mad River Glen: 20”

Sugarbush: 26”

Middlebury: 20”

Pico: 18”

Killington: 18”

Okemo: 15”

Bromley: 18”

Magic Mountain: 16”

Stratton: 20”

Mount Snow: 10”



adk, on 28 Dec 2012 - 12:47 PM, said:


My point was salted by a terrible day in the office. Apologies.

Well taken. We needed this snow. The woods needed it, the resorts needed and it did get better throughout the day.
Scolding accepted.


Actually, I don’t think much scolding was warranted; you were right on track from a pure quality standpoint adk, and I’d back you up on that based on skiing the past two storms.  This snow from this nor’easter was nothing to scoff at, and the base-building aspect was irreplaceable, but powder turns were much different in the champagne on Sunday than they were in the synoptic snow as it was falling on Thursday, or after things had settled yesterday.  I’ve come to notice it more in the past few years, and have mentioned it in my reports, but dry champagne snow will typically provide pleasant fluffy turns for many more passes of skiers – the tracks don’t seem to deteriorate the experience much.  But with denser snow, passing through other’s tracks throws you around a lot more, and you definitely know that you’re skiing previously skied snow.  It was very obvious to us yesterday at Bolton; areas that were partially tracked up were more challenging, and it actually took a while for us to get our groove and find snow that “worked”.  It turns out that ether untracked snow, or snow that was mostly skier packed provided the best turns – the partially tracked stuff just didn’t match up.  With that said, I think that the powder did dry out a bit by yesterday, so untracked areas turned out to be really nice.  You didn’t sink in to the depth you would in champagne, but it was still really good and it had that “stout” feel that you don’t get with champagne.  And, to add to your question about the effects of the rather uncommon east wind at Bolton with this last storm – I noticed it a bit on Thursday, but it was very evident yesterday.  Headwalls at Timberline that are typically wind scoured, were filled in beautifully with a solid shot of hearty snow that felt like it was something you’d see on an stable Alaskan face.  So, you were definitely correct about over-hyping the snow quality, certainly on a relative scale, but no complaints about this latest storm – the snow really skied well, especially if you could get it untracked.  Dylan demonstrating that yesterday at Bolton:





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