Summary:  10.5” storm total in Waterbury (495’) as of 8:45 P.M. EST

 

Thursday, January 7th, 2009:  6:00 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 2.5 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.10 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 25.0

Snow Density:  4.0% H2O

Temperature:  18.5 F

Humidity:  68%

Dew Point:  7.0 F

Barometer:  29.50 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Moderate Snow

Storm snow total:  10.0 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  0.92 inches

Current snow at the stake:  17 inches

Season snowfall total:  98.2 inches

 

After clearing the snowboard at 6:00 A.M. this morning, our storm total in Waterbury (495’) was at 7.5 inches, and it was snowing pretty hard.  The intensity of the snowfall lightened up not too long after that, but by the time I headed up to the mountain at around 8:30 A.M. there was an additional 0.4 inches of snow on the board to bring our valley storm total to 7.9 inches.  We had a couple big gusts of wind come through at the house, so I was concerned about what was going to be going on up at the mountain, but in general our winds were pretty calm in the valley.  Parking up in the Bolton Valley village (~2,100’) the temperature was 26 F and the air was calm with an occasional light breeze.  Up near the top of the terrain park (~2,400’) I checked on the powder and measured 12 inches of loose snow over the base.  I couldn’t tell if it was all from this storm, but Bolton was reporting 11 inches in the past 48 hours (representing their storm total as of this morning) with 6 to 8 inches in the past 24 hours.  Testing with my poles I could find that there was a thicker layer in the middle of the new powder accumulation, which presumably was a manifestation of some sleet that fell.  It wasn’t snowing when I first got to the mountain, but the snowfall began to build while I was there with some brief bouts of moderate/heavy stuff.  Winds came in with the new snow, and while they stayed fairly light on the lower half of the mountain, up at the Vista Summit (3,150’) they were in the 20-30 MPH range.  When I was leaving the mountain around 10:00 A.M., the precipitation was all out heavy snow comprised of big flakes, and the temperature had dropped a bit to about the 24-26 F range.  I headed down the access road and descended out of the snow, and at the bottom in the Winooski Valley (340’) the snow had completely stopped and the temperature ranged from 28-30 F while I drove to Burlington.

 

I occasionally checked out the mountains from the UVM campus during the morning, and at first it looked like the weather was going to clear out as the clouds began to rise up.  There were just pockets along the Green Mountain spine where you could see snow crashing out of the clouds, and at one point it looked to be just the Bolton Valley area that was receiving snowfall.  But, as the afternoon wore on, the white wall along the mountains began to build.  I watched a big area of snow move down from the north and swallow up Mt. Mansfield from north to south, and soon the mountains had all disappeared.  The snowfall was certainly becoming more widespread because eventually the wall of white even started to build toward the Champlain Valley.  First it enveloped the foothills, and then finally it even started to snow lightly in Burlington.  The snow in Burlington gradually tapered off, but the snow appeared to stay in the mountains for the rest of the day.  By the time I was leaving Burlington around 5:30 P.M., it very much felt like the storm was over in town.  I could look out toward Lake Champlain to the west and see some areas of open sky with a little color from the last rays of the sun.  I couldn’t see the mountains the east because it was too dark, but I’d soon find out that the storm wasn’t quite finished over there.

 

The drive home from Burlington this evening was once again the tale of two worlds, but unlike last night where there was a sharp demarcation between the rain/sleet mix and snowfall, this time changes came on more gradually as I headed into the mountains.  I left Burlington and there was no precipitation, and even when I stopped in Richmond to grab a few groceries, there was nothing falling from the sky.  I expected that to last all the way home to Waterbury, but as I hit the Jonesville area some flakes began to fall.  From that point on, the snowfall just continued to intensify until I found myself in lots of wind and borderline heavy snowfall in the Bolton Flats area.  The visibility went way down, and the roads were covered with falling and drifting snow.  Throughout the drive, the temperature had fluctuated in the range of 20-22 F.

 

Back at the house I found 2.5 additional inches of snow on the snowboard, and it was notably drier snow than what had fallen in the morning, coming in at 4.0% H2O.  We’ve now actually passed an inch of liquid equivalent for this event down here in the valley, with 1.02 inches according to my measurements, although I find it interesting that the liquid equivalents for Mt. Mansfield from the past two days only add up to 0.95 inches based on the hydrologic reports.  Our snowpack here in Waterbury has not yet topped our season high of 22 inches that we attained after the December 21-22 upslope event, but today Mt. Mansfield flew right past their previous high for the season, reaching 51 inches at the stake.  A current plot of my Waterbury snowpack data and the Mt. Mansfield data is included below:

 

 

 

Although it didn’t look like this storm was going to deliver quite the snow it might have with the way the upper level warmth brought in some sleet, there have still been some decent storm totals for the local mountains, here are some I’ve seen reported listed from north to south:

 

Jay Peak:  20 inches

Smuggler’s Notch:  20 inches

Stowe:  18 inches

Bolton Valley: 13 inches

Mad River Glen:  8 inches

Sugarbush:  8 inches

Killington:  17 inches

Okemo:   7 inches

Bromley:  9 inches

Magic Mountain:  12 inches

Stratton:  13 inches

Mount Snow:  12 inches

 

The moderate snow that was falling when I arrived home tapered off after a bit, but as of 8:45 P.M. light snowfall is back and there are currently 0.5 inches on the snowboard.

 

 

J.Spin



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