Although we did have some reports of frozen precipitation around the area back in the beginning of the month, the bombing cyclone that’s moved through New England over the past couple of days has brought the first real snows of the season to the Green Mountains. As the system moved by yesterday, the summit areas of Killington picked up an inch or two of snow. There wasn’t much going on with respect to snowfall in the northern part of Vermont at that point, but snow levels finally dropped overnight and we started to see accumulations in the higher elevations around here. Although I wasn’t out in the mountains today, the view from my office in Burlington showed that classic look of upslope precipitation along the spine of the Northern Greens. A quick check on the local radar showed that classic signature of moisture streaming into the spine of the Greens, with snow and mixed precipitation along the peaks. Powderfreak sent in pictures to the Northern New England thread at the American Weather Forums, revealing snow accumulations down to roughly 2,400’ at the Gondola, and a couple of inches of accumulation at the top of the Fourrunner Quad. At the end of the day, Powderfreak passed along one more photo that showed accumulating snow levels at around 2,300’ at the Gondola, and commented on how snow levels were somewhat lower on that part of the mountain below The Chin. Winter’s first salvo of snow is now in the books, and we may see a bit more near the end of the month based on what the weather models are showing for that period.
Having recently picked up our first snowfall of the season here in Vermont, reports and discussion in the New England Regional Forum at American Weather had people wondering where this event sat with respect to the average date of occurrence for the first snowfall on Mt. Mansfield. I’d been curious about that date as well, so I used the data from the Mt. Mansfield co-op weather observations site, which comes from the ridgeline of the mountain up near the 4,000-foot elevation. It’s a fairly substantial data set that goes all the way back to 1954, and Wesley Wright set it up to be available through the SkiVT-L site at UVM.
“The data suggest that our first snow of the 2018-2019 winter season from this past Saturday (October 13th) is a few days on the late side of the mean for first accumulating snow (October 10th), but overall quite typical.”
There are a couple of seasons that I couldn’t include in the statistical analysis because of gaps in the data collection early in the co-op site’s history, but there were still 62 seasons in the data set that provided useful information. The data suggest that our first snow of the 2018-2019 winter season from this past Saturday (October 13th) is a few days on the late side of the mean for first accumulating snow (October 10th), but overall quite typical. The full results from the statistical analysis are below, so have a look and think snow!
Date of 1st Accumulating Snow at Mt. Mansfield, VT Co-Op Station:
S.D.: 15 days
While the first half of October was fairly warm, the weather models have been suggesting a shift to more seasonal temperatures as we hit mid-month. The potential for some mountain snow was in the forecast last night, and indeed as of yesterday afternoon snow was already being reported at Whiteface Mountain across the lake with video of the flakes. Here on our side of the lake, we heard from Powderfreak early this morning that snow had been sighted in the mountains around Stowe, and he was heading up for some investigation. An hour or two later, he had send along pictures, and indicated that accumulations on Mt. Mansfield were about a half inch and started at an elevation of roughly 2,300 feet.
“…it looks like we’ll have more opportunities for snow this week with accumulations potentially even down to the mountain valleys.”
Here at our house, I did a morning check to find that the cloud ceiling was still only about 2,000 feet and there were no obvious signs of snow below that level. I gave the clouds some time to think about clearing a bit, and then headed out in the neighborhood during the mid-afternoon period to see what snow might be visible. Indeed the cloud ceiling had risen by about another 2,000’ and I was able to catch Camel’s Hump as the clouds had just about broken away. The snow line at that point looked to be around 3,000’.
The first snows of the 2018-2019 winter season are in the books here in the Greens, and the National Weather Service Office in Burlington says it looks like we’ll have more opportunities for snow this week with accumulations potentially even down to the mountain valleys. We’ll see what transpires as even colder air moves in, so stayed tuned for more October snow updates!
While the Green Mountains had already been whitened at the very beginning of the month, this weekend has featured the first skiers hitting the slopes, and the first notable snow accumulations in the valleys. Here at our house in Waterbury we’ve picked up nearly two inches of snow between the various rounds of flakes over the past couple of days, and with intermittent clouds and sun at times, people have been out getting some great pictures of snow and foliage. Here’s to what is hopefully the first of many great snowfalls to come this season!