Thursday, December 12, 2013

Some Snow In Vermont's Forecast, And Snowy Owls, Too!

On this cold Thursday afternoon, clouds are increasing after a bright sunny morning failed to dislodge some pretty deep midwinter cold in Vermont.
Keep your eyes out for one of these guys.
Vermont Fish and Wildlife says unusually high
number of snowy owls reported in the state.  

Temperatures that were within a few degrees either side of zero at dawn had only made it into the low to mid teens across northern New York and northern New England by early this afternoon.

More snow showers and squalls are on the way, which could make for some icy, slick roads and briefly poor visibility again this evening.

Look for a dusting to four inches of snow, depending upon whether you're in the drier valleys or snowier mountains.

The lake effect snow machine, of course, is going full blast off Lake Ontario in New York. A couple places have already reported more than three feet of snow.

The snow showers will continue into Friday morning, so you'll need extra time to get to work on the expected slick roads. Since temperatures will be so low, salt won't work great on pavement, so that would  keep the icy spots on highways.

It's going to turn even colder Friday, with temperatures only making it into the teens and slowly falling  in the afternoon. A gusty north wind won't help.

Friday night will be the coldest night so far this winter. Burlington has a really decent shot of going below zero for the first time this winter, and some of the colder hollows of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, northern New Hampshire and New York's Adirondacks could get to 20 below or even colder by dawn Saturday.

The expected storm Saturday night still looks to be a yawner, with only 1 to 6 inches of snow forecast.

Preliminary indications are the most snow will be south and east of  Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, in the southeastern half of Vermont, and around the Lake George and Capitol regions of New York.

Or course this forecast could change, so stay tuned.


It's not just snow arriving in Vermont. It's snowy owls, too. The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife reports an unusual number of snowy owls in the state this month. 

Keep an eye out for them. You're most likely to see them sitting on things like fence posts in open fields, looking for rodents to snack on.

Snowy owls usually hang out up in the Arctic, where they munch on things like lemmings. But when its unusually warm and/or rainy in the Arctic, with a thin snowcover in the late autumn, the population of lemmings crashes, so the snowy owls search far and wide, including Vermont, for rodents to eat.

NOTE TO SNOWY OWLS: If you like voles and moles as snacks,  please come to my property in St. Albans. We have plenty, and you can munch on them all, free of charge. It's a wonderful buffet.  Arrive hungry, please!  

Anyway, you can't prove it, but the fact that so many snowy owls are in Vermont looking for food could be a symptom of climate change, given how it never used to be so warm and rainy up in the Arctic in the late fall. (While most of the nation was shivering last week, it was above freezing and raining in far northern Alaska. First time in memory that's happened in December)

But it is odd the snowy owls have been coming to Vermont so often in recent years.

Bottom line: When you don't need to watch the roads for ice, glance out into the farm fields. You might  see a snowy owl staring back at you.

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