January 31st, 2012 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates



Tuesday, January 31st, 2012



Event totals: 0.5” Snow/0.04” L.E.


There’s been light snow at the house this morning with a half inch of 8% H2O snow down on the board as of 6:00 A.M.  As Powderfreak mentioned, snow is expected to continue through the day as this system moves into the area, with another 1-2” in the point forecast for our location.  Here on the UVM campus in Burlington there are flurries in the air and it looks like about a half inch of new snow on the ground.


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


New Snow: 0.5 inches

New Liquid: 0.04 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 12.5

Snow Density: 8.0% H2O

Temperature: 19.0 F

Sky: Light Snow/Flurries (2-5 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 11.0 inches



Event totals: 1.1” Snow/0.07” L.E.


Today’s snowfall produced another 0.6” of snow at the house.  Burlington picked up something similar and the ground has a good covering of white now.


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


New Snow: 0.6 inches

New Liquid: 0.03 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 20.0

Snow Density: 5.0% H2O

Temperature: 30.4 F

Sky: Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 11.0 inches



Wednesday, February 1st, 2012



January 2012 is now complete, so I’ve updated my Waterbury monthly snowfall graph for this season:



Through January there’s actually an aesthetically pleasing stair step trend to the snowfall data, with a rough increase of about 10”/month.  Based on my snowfall data since ‘06, both December and January average up around 40”+, so this season’s numbers are certainly below the mean, but the trend is encouraging.  In fact, continuing the current increasing trend would put February up around 45”, which would be right around average for the month, and continuing the trend for 55” in March would replicate March ‘08.  That would make a decent closeout to winter as we move into the spring snowfall season (while make for a very unique looking plot).  That’s not to say things will go that way, but if the pattern does tend to become wintrier as we move farther into the season, perhaps monthly snowfall could gradually reach and surpass average.  Continuing with average snowfall from here on out would result in a season snowfall total of ~150”, which isn’t all that bad, but we’ll just have to see what Mother Nature does for the second half of winter.  Whatever happens, snowpack at the Mt. Mansfield Stake was at 45” as of yesterday’s reading, which is below average, but is certainly into that range where most off piste coverage is not an issue; thus future storms will just help to provide powder skiing, bolster the winter snow depths, and help build the snowpack for the spring.  I believe I saw PF mention that snow depths at base elevation are also in good shape.


In terms of seasonal snowfall, that stands at 69.8” through the end of January, which is about 20” below average, but also about 20” ahead of ‘06-‘07.  I know that this year’s snowfall trends are not the same throughout all of New England, but with all the dramatizing about how bad this winter has been, ‘06-‘07 data (very recent history) should certainly be checked before big claims are made.



View Postpowderfreak, on 1 February 2012 - 08:22 PM, said:

It's been raining steadily in the village this evening at 36F so I just drove a couple miles up the road and sure enough it's dumping up by the ski resort. Snow level was around 1200ft with road snow covered above like 1300-1400ft. Full on wet snow raging at 1500ft sticking to everything.


Yeah, it felt like déjà vu, almost exactly the same experience that I reported Friday evening with that mixed system from the end of last week:  leave Burlington toward evening, head into the mountains and it’s absolutely pouring rain in the valley.  This time I couldn’t see the crystals in the raindrops since it was a few degrees warmer than Friday, but I’d checked the temperature up on Mansfield, saw that it was well below freezing, and knew that the mountains were getting hammered with snow.  I can’t recall a time when we’ve had quite this long a parade of substantially mixed events during midwinter though.  I can recall getting them stacked up one after another on the front or back end of the season when cold air is more limited, but this stretch seems notable for the heart of the winter.  Yesterday in his radio broadcast, Roger Hill said we’ve had seven January thaws this season – that’s impressive.  Perhaps ‘06-‘07 had something like this, since it had substantially less snow that we’ve had this season, but I didn’t monitor total liquid back then, so I can’t check my records for what fell as rain.  The Greens have been working their usual magic to get us snow of course, but it seems like the last few systems have been getting stingier and stingier in terms of backside snow.  We picked up almost a third of an inch of liquid today (0.32”), so I’ll update the event totals tomorrow morning.



Thursday, February 2nd, 2012



Event totals: 1.2” Snow/0.40” L.E.


The gauge picked up 0.32 of liquid yesterday, and the precipitation eventually went over to frozen as the temperature dropped.  I didn’t see last night’s frozen precipitation fall, but I heard some sleet or granular snow hitting the windows late in the evening.  This morning there was 0.1” of refrozen material on the snowboard, comprised of 0.01” liquid, and the rain/snow gauge also caught the same 0.01” of liquid.  Not surprisingly, the fluffy snow from the Sunday-Monday storm has been consolidated down onto the rest of the snowpack.


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


New Snow: 0.1 inches

New Liquid: 0.01 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 10.0

Snow Density: 10.0% H2O

Temperature: 27.9 F

Sky: Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 8.5 inches


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