This one sort of snuck in there without me noticing, so I’m posting it a bit retroactively, but along with reports of snow on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, as well as snow on Whiteface in New York, or own Mt. Mansfield here in Vermont has picked up a touch of the white stuff. It’s kind of a treat to get some September snow on the peaks around here because it doesn’t happen every season, and I wouldn’t have expected it in the rather warm weather pattern we’ve been in. Now it’s on to October where we should find our next shots at snowfall.
It’s early September, and as autumn begins to make inroads in the North Country and Northern New England, our first frost advisories and freeze warnings of the season have been posted by the National Weather Service Office in Burlington. We’re under a frost advisory at our location with temperatures expected to be down near the freezing mark, but for some areas of the Adirondacks, temperatures are anticipated to get down into the upper 20s F, approaching near record lows for this date. Further information can be found in the excerpt from the forecast discussion by the National Weather Service Office in Burlington below, with additional details at their site:
.SHORT TERM /6 PM THIS EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY/…
AS OF 454 AM EDT THURSDAY…HIGH PRESSURE WILL CREST OVER THE REGION TONIGHT. GIVEN CLEAR SKIES AND NEALY CALM WINDS WILL ALLOW FOR IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR RADIATIONAL COOLING…WITH TEMPERATURES FALLING INTO THE 30S IN MOST LOCATIONS…WITH SOME TEMPERATURES APPROACHING NEAR RECORD LOWS FOR SEPTEMBER 6TH. EXPECTING TEMPERATURES TO FALL INTO THE UPPER 20S IN THE SHELTERED VALLEYS OF MOST OF THE ADIRONDACKS LATE TONIGHT. THUS…HAVE PUT OUT A FREEZE WARNING FOR THOSE AREAS. ELSEWHERE…HAVE PUT UP A FROST ADVISORY FOR MOST OF THE REMAINDER OF NORTHERN NEW YORK…AS WELL AS NORTH CENTRAL AND NORTHEAST VERMONT FOR PATCHY FROST. NOT EXPECTING ANY FROST OVER THE CHAMPLAIN VALLEY AS LAKE CHAMPLAIN WATER TEMPERATURES STILL IN THE LOW 70S…WHICH WILL KEEP THE VALLEY RELATIVELY WARM WITH MOST TEMPERATURES IN THE UPPER 30S IN THE CHAMPLAIN VALLEY.
Parts of the Northeast have had bouts of sub-freezing temperatures since the end of August, but tonight looks like the first widespread occurrence of the season throughout Vermont. We’ve got a frost advisory here in Washington County, but it sounds like some of the colder areas of the state up in the Northeast Kingdom could get down into the middle 20s F, and freeze warnings are in place. It’s certainly time to cover up those gardens in the usual cold spots.
Since it’s the end of August, it probably shouldn’t be that surprising that autumn-like weather is touching the Northeastern U.S., with freezing and sub-freezing temperatures hitting some of the usual cold spots. These days often sneak up on us though amidst the typically pleasant weather at the end of summer. I saw a comment in the Signs of the Season thread at AlpineZone that Mt. Washington in New Hampshire was below freezing last night, and indeed the Mt. Washington website confirms this. After a quick look through the August data in their archive, it appears that it was the first time this month, so perhaps it is a sign of the season. It’s the end of August, and Saturday is September though, so presumably it must be about time for sub-freezing temperatures on the rockpile. Down at more modest elevations, Saranac Lake also touched 32 F last night. As part of the discussion in the Northern New England Summer thread at American Weather, Powderfreak posted a plot with first dates of freezing for some of the cold spots in the forecast area for the National Weather Service Office in Burlington, Vermont.
In association with our coldest weather of the season thus far, the mountains of Northern New England saw some snow today. In Vermont, I heard about the frozen precipitation on Mt. Mansfield in a post from Powderfreak at Americanwx.com, and over in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire there were some visible accumulations above the 3,500’ to 4,000’ elevation level. A great video from TheAutoRoad with scenes of snow falling along the Mt. Washington Auto Road was posted, and can be viewed below. Even in the valleys the weather was quite cool today, with highs only in the 50s F, so the look and feel of fall was all around us. Enjoy the video!
The National Weather Service office in Burlington has posted a freeze warning for our area, and indeed the entire state of Vermont is under either freeze warnings or frost advisories, so cover up vegetation as necessary. Though the first frost for valley locations in the Central and Northern Green Mountains does typically happen in September, the average date for the occurrence is toward the end of the month (September 27th for Morrisville and September 30th for Montpelier) so this is a bit on the earlier side. Yesterday in the Northern New England thread at Americanwx.com, Powderfreak posted the chart from the National Weather Service that shows the average dates and ranges for first frost at some of our Vermont climate locations – mid September is in the 10th – 25th percentile. Take a look at that post for more information about average dates of 32 F temperatures around the state.
It’s that time of year again when we start to think more about the colder weather, and for the past few days our NWS point forecast for Waterbury has shown sub-freezing low temperatures at the end of the week. Talk about the first snowfall of the upcoming season, has already begun – over in the New England forum at Americanwx.com, Dryslot pointed out the potential snow showers and frost in the forecast from the National Weather Service office in Portland, Maine. This morning I saw that there is a cold weather update at the Famous Internet Skiers website, and on SkiVT-L, there was a visit from Roger Hill, who threw out the potential for a little snow accumulation at Jay Peak. Although it doesn’t seem to be the case this time, I’m certainly reminded of a couple of seasons ago when some September snowfall actually produced enough snow to get in some skiing. The past couple of days have been pleasantly summery, even up here in Northern Vermont, but it sounds like the crisp feel of autumn is on our doorstep.
For quite a while, the local weather gurus had been talking about the potential for local snow at the end of September/beginning of October. Yesterday, reports started coming in of white in the mountains, and from UVM I could see the tendrils of snowfall crashing out along the Green Mountain spine. It was looking like this morning would feature some real accumulations of snow, but yesterday evening the snowfall seemed to come to a halt. I started to reconsider my thoughts of taking a morning trip up to Mt. Mansfield, but sometime after dark I checked the local radar and it looked like snowfall was blooming again. I awoke this morning to see that there were still echoes on the radar, the temperature at the house was ~41 F, and our back deck was wet. I suspected there had been some additional snow on Mansfield, so I hopped in the car and decided that I’d at least go for a hike before work.
While I couldn’t see much white at all on my drive to the mountain, as I finally got close to Mt. Mansfield, I could see that there was a good covering of snow from about the middle elevations of Spruce Peak on up. I parked in the upper lot of the gondola (~1,600’) and there were a half dozen cars that looked like they could belong to other early morning folks checking out the snow. Snow was falling all around me, and while it wasn’t sticking at the base, I could see white on the ground not far above. At some point after 7:30 A.M., I strapped my skis on my pack and headed up Nosedive, hitting the snow line right around 1,800’. The depth of the snow didn’t increase too quickly, only up to maybe ½ to 1 inch in depth by the 2,000’ mark. I thought that the snow would probably be great for the junkboarders, but I wasn’t quite sure about those who were on regular skis. Not long after I had that thought though, I met three skiers coming down Nosedive, right around the intersection with National. They clearly seemed to be making due on regular skis and seemed to be enjoying it. During my ascent it snowed most of the time, and occasionally the snow came down with moderate to heavy intensity. Being starved for a bit of winter weather, I loved it.
Even by the top of Nosedive (~3,600’) the snow was only up to about 3 inches in depth, but I hiked on a bit farther to check out the Mt. Mansfield Stake. There was some vegetation in front of the stake (~3,700’) that hadn’t let the snow settle all the way to the ground, but the depth of the snow was clearly less than 6 inches. At least one vehicle had driven on the Toll Road, but I still popped on my old Telemark skis and did a little gliding in the untouched snow outside the tire tracks. That was quite pleasant, although due to the minimal snowfall, there was the occasional crunch of a piece of gravel. Not wanting to deal with the hassle of negotiating the steep terrain of Nosedive with somewhat minimal snow, I continued on the Toll Road and into the Ridge View area before deciding to take off my skis. I had even made a few Tele turns on the snowy grass, but by around the 3,000’ elevation, a combination of wanting to head back in the direction of the Gondola via steeper terrain, and not wanting to put any real damage into my skis saw me strapping them back on my pack. I’m not totally ready to commit the Hellgates to official rock ski status just yet.
Hiking up had been really enjoyable (I think it was the first time I’d hiked such a long distance in Tele boots without switching to skinning) but the vistas on the descent were spectacular. With the dramatic scenes of white surrounding me, and the brilliant colors in the valley, I stopped frequently to pull out the camera. My descent was somewhat meandering, taking me down through the Hayride and Lookout areas, before making it down to Crossover and down to the gondola lot. The snow level on Mansfield looked like it had crept up a few hundred feet since my ascent, so it was certainly warming up. Insofar as I can recall, I think today’s outing was the first time that things came together to allow me to ski on my birthday, so that made it even more of a treat that usual. To check out all the pictures from the day, head to the Stowe trip report from today.