Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's Starting To Snow In Vermont As Big Storm Arrives

As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, a little light snow was falling in Vermont, and some roadways were getting a bit slick, the opening salvo of that messy storm we've been advertising for a few days now.
A snowplow clear roads near Alburquerque, New
Mexico the other day. That area was hit by the
same storm that is now approaching the Northeast
Photo by Jim Thompson, Alburquerque Journal.

I looked at the late afternoon forecast updates and the forecasted scenario hasn't changed much from previous predictions.

That mess of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain still likes a good bet in most of Vermont overnight, though the warmer valleys of southern Vermont could see mostly rain.

Northern New York, away from the Champlain Valley, still looks to be under the gun with heavy, wet snow and some mixed precipitation.

Wednesday's weather will be all over the place. High temperatures across northern New York and northern New England will range from the low 30s to upper 50s.

Let me explain that one. It's a strong storm, and will move right up the Connecticut River Valley. The cold west side of the storm, in New York State, will continue to see the mostly wet snow.

These strong storms tend to gather a lot of warmth on their eastern flanks, so temperatures will rise to the low 50s in southeastern Vermont and well into the 50s to low 60s in New Hampshire and southeastern New England.

Vermont is in the middle and we're still looking at a cold, nasty, drenching rain for most of Wednesday.   But in the afternoon, precipitation will start to transition to ice and snow in the far northern Champlain Valley.

As the storm passes, temperatures will quickly drop and that snow and ice  up by Swanton and Alburgh, Vermont will race south and east across the rest of Vermont and into New Hampshire and Maine.

The western slopes of the Green Mountains still look like they'll take the brunt of the snow Wednesday night. I'm predicting more than six inches for those areas.

The northern Champlain Valley, from St. Albans north, could get several inches of snow, too. A bit more to the south, Burlington and the southern Champlain Valley are in for just a couple, maybe three inches of snow.

Unless of course the storm does something unexpected, which is possible.  Keep checking forecasts, things could change.

In places where it rains Wednesday, I'm still thinking it will come down hard, especially under and just east of the storm track. There's a flood watch in far southern Vermont for possible heavy rain.

And as much as 3.5 inches of rain is possible in parts of New Hampshire, which could lead to flooding.

The bottom line: Travel will be iffy tonight, and get better in all areas of New England except for maybe far northwestern Vermont during Wednesday. Northern New York is in for icy, snow covered roads during Wednesday, too.

The worst driving conditions will come after 5 p.m. Wednesday, when temperatures are probably going to fall rapidly and snow will pile up. The "flash freeze" plus the snow are guaranteed to make the roads really, really horrible Wednesday night.

So maybe try to time your holiday travel for the daylight hours on Wednesday.

Early Thanksgiving morning, the roads will still be largely ice covered, snowy and hazardous, but get better as the snow showers taper off and the sun comes out at times.

It'll be bitterly cold on Thanksgiving though. If you enjoyed the mid-winter chill and strong winds on Sunday, you'll like the Thanksgiving frigid weather too.

If you're flying Wednesday, prepare for a frustrating day. Most northern New England airports, like Burlington, Vermont and Manchester, N.H., tend not to close in storms. But a lot of flights throughout the eastern half of the nation will be delayed or cancelled because of the storm that is affecting a huge chunk of the U.S., not just us.

The weather will stay cold and wintry, but warm up a bit toward normal levels (upper 30s) by the beginning of next week.

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