February 19th, 2013 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates

 

 

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

 

 

As of 6:45 P.M. we’ve got some flakes falling here at the house, but they’re not accumulating as we’re still above freezing.

 

 

tamarack, on 18 Feb 2013 - 11:20 AM, said:https://www.amwx.us/public/style_images/American_Weather/snapback.png

 

My avg snowfall for 14 winters (98-99 thru 11-12) is 87". Average for deepest snowpack is 29", median is 26", which are 1/3 and 30% of snowfall, respectively. Having 3 winters touch the 4-ft mark drives the avg well above the median.

 

For you guys with good snow preservation, I think it would be demonstrated really well using snow-depth days.  My numbers for max depth on the snowpack for this location are mean = 30.6 ± 9.3” and median = 33.5”, but I bet we’re often hitting those numbers by storms being topped off with dry, upslope snow that eventually settles down somewhat.

 

I’ve got enough data now that I can start creating an “average snowpack plot” akin to what’s available for the Mt. Mansfield stake data on the SkiVT-L site

 

 

My plot is still somewhat jagged with only six complete seasons, but it certainly gets the job done; the ‘06-‘07’11-‘12 mean is in green fill, and this season’s snowpack depth is indicated by the red line.  I would characterize this season as being quite low in terms of snowpack, and it’s felt like it’s been that way the whole season, so I was initially surprised when I saw that huge spike that went above the mean.  It just goes to show that indeed that three week stretch from mid December to the beginning of January was pretty decent.  The first big spike in this season’s data is from that stretch, and then the second one was from the Nemo blizzard.

 

A couple of other interesting observations:  1) Right now the mean plot has that real notable dip around the first of December, and one can already see how the smoothing process will continue when this season’s data are incorporated – that December 1st spike in this year’s snowpack data will fit right in there and start to fill in the gap.  2) It’s also interesting to note that on “average”, snowpack is going to start around November 20th in this area.  However, the actual mean date for the start of continuous snowpack around here is later than that if I calculate it based on the average of the day the continuous snowpack started each season.  That’s because although the winter snowpack may start on November 20th and continue upward from there on “average”, it can, and often does, melt out during those next couple of weeks.  That resets the date of the actual start of continuous snowpack that I record, but “melt outs” disappear in the averaging/smoothing of the data.

 

On that note, as I made the plot I realized that there could be a couple of different way to calculate the “average” for maximum depth of snowpack.  One way, which is the way I calculated it at the top of this post, was to simply take the maximum depth attained in each season and average them.  The other, would be to plot the entirety of the seasonal snowpack data as I did above, and then find the peak.  The second method really smoothes down the number as it drops from over 2 ½ feet down to under two feet.

 

That leads right in to the real reason I pulled my data together to begin with – I was curious about the average date for when the snowpack peaks here.  The analysis did of course provide that date, and with the current data set it’s March 3rd.  So, on average we’ve got another couple weeks of snowpack building before the snowpack starts to decline.

 

 

powderfreak, on 19 Feb 2013 - 9:24 PM, said:https://www.amwx.us/public/style_images/American_Weather/snapback.png

 

Finally snowing nicely...measurable tenth or two lol.

 

It seems like things are falling right in line with elevation; last I checked down here at ~500’ there was a very slushy tenth of an inch on the snowboard, but we’re at 33 F and falling now, and it’s starting to stick better.

 

 

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

 

 

Event totals: 2.4” Snow/0.22” L.E.

 

It took a bit of time for the snow to start accumulating yesterday evening since the temperatures were initially above freezing, but it eventually got going.  A lot of the accumulation seemed to happen when that bolus of yellow echoes came through:

 

 

The overall snow density came in fairly high with the dense, slushy stuff as the bottom of the core, but it was almost ¼” of liquid.  It sounds like we might have the chance for a bit more snow as well – the point forecast here sums to the 5-10” range through Thursday night, although that’s a bit higher than what is likely in the lower elevations based on the forecast discussion from BTV:

 

.SHORT TERM /7 PM THIS EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY/...

AS OF 348 AM EST WEDNESDAY...FLOW ALOFT BECOMES MORE NORTHWEST WITH TIME TONIGHT AND ESPECIALLY LATE TONIGHT AND THURSDAY. THIS WILL HELP ENHANCE UPSLOPE SNOW...ESPECIALLY OVER THE NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS AND NORTHERN VERMONT. THE AREA COVERAGE OF THE UPSLOPE SNOW SHOULD INCREASE AFTER MIDNIGHT TONIGHT AND CONTINUE THROUGH EARLY AFTERNOON THURSDAY BEFORE GRADUALLY TAPERING OFF. FROUDE NUMBER...WHICH INDICATES THE EXISTENCE OF BLOCKED FLOW...SUGGESTS THE FLOW WILL BECOME BLOCKED LATER TONIGHT AND THURSDAY...THUS LIGHT ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW SHOULD EVEN DEVELOP FOR THE LOWER ELEVATIONS. WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...LOOKING AT 1-3 OR 2-4 INCHES IN THE LOWER ELEVATIONS OF NORTHERN NEW YORK AND NORTHERN/CENTRAL VERMONT WITH HIGHER AMOUNTS...4 TO 8 INCHES...IN THE MOUNTAINS. MOST OF THE SNOW SHOULD OCCUR LATER TONIGHT AND THE FIRST HALF OF THURSDAY AND FUTURE SHIFTS WILL NEED TO EXAMINE SCENARIO FOR POSSIBLE ADVISORIES.

 

Below I’ve got the north to south listing of snowfall totals from the Vermont ski areas that I’ve seen reported in so far.  Heading from north to south, it seems that Bolton & MRG did fairly well:

 

Jay Peak: 4”

Burke: 3”

Smuggler’s Notch: 2”

Stowe: 4”

Bolton Valley: 6”

Mad River Glen: 8”

Sugarbush: 5”

Pico: 4”

Killington: 4”

Okemo: 4”

Bromley: 4”

Stratton: 3”

Mount Snow: 4”

 

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

 

New Snow: 2.4 inches

New Liquid: 0.22 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 10.9

Snow Density: 9.2% H2O

Temperature: 26.6 F

Sky: Partly Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 8.0 inches

 

 

Nittany88, on 20 Feb 2013 - 09:46 AM, said:https://www.amwx.us/public/style_images/American_Weather/snapback.png

 

Correct.

http://www.erh.noaa....profile/froude/

Eastern Slopes want 1-2. Western slopes cash in between 0.5-1.0 .If it gets too low, like down to near 0.25, the Champlain Valley takes home the prize.

 

With the Froude Number coming into more and more use for these upslope events, and the ability to monitor it via that cool Mountain Mesonet Profile web page for the Bolton-Mansfield section of the Northern Greens, I’ll have to start paying attention to what numbers are optimal in my area.  Being basically in line with the spine, something in the range of 1 wouldn’t surprise me, but we’re also in the Winooski Valley, which is a big gap in the spine, so that would have to be factored in as well.

 

On a related note, over the past hour or so I’ve seen snow starting to crash out along part of the spine in the Northern Greens:

 

 

 

We’ve had very light snow for the past hour or so here in Burlington, but in the past few minutes it has really picked up and visibility is down to probably ¾ mile.  The radar shows a band pushing through the area now from the north with some 30 db echoes in there:

 

 

powderfreak, on 20 Feb 2013 - 1:34 PM, said:https://www.amwx.us/public/style_images/American_Weather/snapback.png

 

Advisory out for upslope snow tonight and tomorrow...

 

Thanks for the heads up – I see that it stretches all the way down to eastern Addison County:

 

 

The map has us in that 6-8/8-10” zone, and our point forecast through tomorrow sums to 6-11”, so that seems to be in reasonable agreement.

 

 

I’m not sure exactly how things will go in the lower elevations, but it should be fun to see how it unfolds.

 

 

Event totals: 4.6” Snow/0.27” L.E.

 

powderfreak, on 20 Feb 2013 - 7:14 PM, said:https://www.amwx.us/public/style_images/American_Weather/snapback.png

 

2" now. I think this may be 2"/hr here now.

 

Yeah, I’d say the rate here is similar – we had 1.9” in the past 45 min, so ~2.5”/hr.  This event just pushed season snowfall past the century mark; it’s already over a half a foot of accumulation.

 

I cleared off the back deck this morning and put down my accumulation markers to monitor the subsequent accumulations – I’ve got the J&E Productions Web Cam running, so use the link if anyone wants to monitor accumulations at this location in real time:

 

 

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

 

New Snow: 2.2 inches

New Liquid: 0.05 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 44.0

Snow Density: 2.3% H2O

Temperature: 24.6 F

Sky: Heavy Snow (3-15 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 10.0 inches

 

 

powderfreak, on 20 Feb 2013 - 9:33 PM, said:https://www.amwx.us/public/style_images/American_Weather/snapback.png

 

Snowfall rates have decreased quite a bit suddenly and you can see its losing punch on radar. Down to 1/2-1" per hour instead of 2".

 

Yeah, same thing happened here, so I don’t think it was a big change in the blocking, I think it’s more like the end of that pulse of moisture based on the intensity shown on the radar.

 

powderfreak, on 20 Feb 2013 - 9:35 PM, said:https://www.amwx.us/public/style_images/American_Weather/snapback.png

 

Winter Storm Warning now for 8-14"

 

Nice, storm total so far here is just shy of 7” - updated maps below:

 

 

 

 

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

 

 

Event totals: 7.0” Snow/0.32” L.E.

 

I was up to take a midnight reading off the snowboard, but there really wasn’t much snow during the overnight period.  I’ve got the latest BTV maps and text below; we’ll need another pulse of moisture in our area to get to the 8-10”/10-14” that the forecast map has us in, although it sounds like there might be something in the afternoon today.

 

 

 

 

WWUS41 KBTV 210841

WSWBTV

 

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BURLINGTON VT

341 AM EST THU FEB 21 2013

 

VTZ003-006-008-016>018-211700-

/O.CON.KBTV.WS.W.0002.000000T0000Z-130221T2100Z/

ORLEANS-LAMOILLE-WASHINGTON-EASTERN FRANKLIN-EASTERN CHITTENDEN-

EASTERN ADDISON-

INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...NEWPORT...JOHNSON...STOWE...

MONTPELIER...ENOSBURG FALLS...RICHFORD...UNDERHILL...BRISTOL...

RIPTON

341 AM EST THU FEB 21 2013

 

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM EST THIS

AFTERNOON...

 

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BURLINGTON CONTINUES THE WINTER

STORM WARNING FOR SNOW...UNTIL 4 PM EST THIS AFTERNOON.

 

* LOCATIONS...THE WESTERN SLOPES OF THE GREEN MOUNTAINS AND THE

  WESTERN PORTIONS OF ORLEANS...LAMOILLE AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES.

 

* HAZARD TYPES...MODERATE TO OCCASIONALLY HEAVY SNOW.

 

* ACCUMULATIONS...8 TO 16 INCHES OF DRY FLUFFY SNOW WITH 10 TO 20

  INCHES EXPECTED ALONG THE WEST SLOPES OF THE GREEN MOUNTAINS.

 

* MAXIMUM SNOWFALL RATE...1 TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR AT TIMES.

 

* TIMING...MODERATE TO OCCASIONALLY HEAVY SNOW CONTINUES THROUGH

  EARLY AFTERNOON BEFORE GRADUALLY TAPERING OFF.

 

* IMPACTS...DIFFICULT TRAVEL DUE TO SNOW COVERED ROADS...REDUCED

  VISIBILITIES...AND BLOWING SNOW CAUSING DRIFTING.

 

* WINDS...NORTHWEST 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 MPH.

 

* TEMPERATURES...HIGHS IN THE LOWER 20S.

 

* VISIBILITIES...LESS THAN ONE HALF MILE AT TIMES IN MODERATE TO

  OCCASIONALLY HEAVY SNOW.

 

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

 

PERSONS ALONG THE WEST SLOPES OF THE GREEN MOUNTAINS AND IN NORTH CENTRAL

VERMONT SHOULD BE AWARE THAT HEAVY SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THE

DAY RESULTING IN DIFFICULT TRAVEL CONDITIONS. LOW VISIBILITIES AND

DRIFTING SNOW WILL ALSO COMPLICATE TRAVEL. TAKE THE NECESSARY ACTIONS

WHEN DEALING WITH THIS STORM.

 

&&

 

$$

 

EVENSON

 

 

Details from the 12:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. Waterbury observations are below:

 

12:00 A.M.

 

New Snow: 2.3 inches

New Liquid: 0.05 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 46.0

Snow Density: 2.2% H2O

Temperature: 22.3 F

Sky: Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 12.0 inches

 

6:00 A.M.

 

New Snow: 0.1 inches

New Liquid: Trace

Temperature: 11.1 F

Sky: Light Snow (1 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 10.0 inches

 

 

powderfreak, on 17 Feb 2013 - 5:24 PM, said:https://www.amwx.us/public/style_images/American_Weather/snapback.png

 

Great discussion out of BTV... "either way, Jay Peak will hit the jackpot" lol.

 

Well, that was a quote from four days ago, so how does one rate that call from the BTV folks?

Let’s use the north to south listing of storm totals from the Vermont ski areas below.  I think the Burke number speaks volumes about being on the spine:

 

Jay Peak: 27”

Burke: 3”

Smuggler’s Notch: 12”

Stowe: 18”

Bolton Valley: 15”

Mad River Glen: 16”

Sugarbush: 12”

Pico: 7”

Killington: 7”

Okemo: 6”

Bromley: 8”

Stratton: 6”

Mount Snow: 7”

 

 

I just saw the updated storm total snow forecast map from BTV, which certainly shows how totals are expected to be quite high near the northern tier:

 

 

 

Event totals: 7.5” Snow/0.34” L.E.

 

We picked up an additional half inch of snow during the day today, which may mark the end of this event based on the radar.  Next we’ll have to see what the potential weekend storm brings.

 

I updated the storm totals as of this evening for the Vermont ski areas; the north to south listing is below.  Smugg’s made a big leap  in accumulation from this morning, and aside from Burke being way out to the east, you can see the numbers line right up down the spine.

 

Jay Peak: 27”

Burke: 5”

Smuggler’s Notch: 24”

Stowe: 18”

Bolton Valley: 16”

Mad River Glen: 16”

Sugarbush: 12”

Pico: 8”

Killington: 8”

Okemo: 6”

Bromley: 8”

Stratton: 6”

Mount Snow: 7”

 

I stopped in at Bolton for a few runs this afternoon, and my measurements generally revealed powder depths in the 15 – 19” range above the subsurface  That settled powder depth isn’t all from this event since the snow has recently been piling up, but it was some damn find skiing with a right side up gradient topped off with Champlain Powder™ as Powderfreak mentioned in his post.  I’ve added a few pictures below, and the full report is at our website:

 

 

 

 

This storm cycle was somewhat auspicious in that the snow depth at the Mt. Mansfield Stake has finally gone back above average for the first time in a month and a half:

 

 

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

 

New Snow: 0.5 inches

New Liquid: 0.02 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 25.0

Snow Density: 4.0% H2O

Temperature: 19.4 F

Sky: Flurries

Snow at the stake: 9.0 inches

 

 

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

 

 

Listening to Roger Hill’s broadcast from this morning, he’s going with a 3-6”/4-8” event for this weekend in Northern/North-Central Vermont, and our point forecast from the NWS seems generally in line with 3-7”.  The graphical point forecast for our location looks nice:

 

 

The forecast temperatures also seem quite comfortable, and even if they’re marginal down in the valley, the mountains shouldn’t have that issue.

 

It’s nice to see the more substantial snowfalls coming through the area with a bit more frequency; it feels more like the Northern Greens again, and thanks to this most recent event, February snowfall (25.1”) has already surpassed January’s total (21.9”).  Using the numbers through yesterday, monthly snowfall is still running rather low at 79.5% of average, but seasonal snowfall is fluctuating around that 90% zone at 88.2%.  A couple of decent snowfall events in the next week could get February snowfall into a respectable range, but almost 20” is still needed to get to average, so we’d have to have at least one fairly significant system to get it on the positive side of the mean.

 

 

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