Friday, December 20, 2013

Worst Ice Storm Since '98 Disaster Possible In Northern Vermont

The forecast is still looking pretty grim, but also really uncertain for this weekend.
There's a good chance there could be
sad scenes like this in northern Vermont
by Sunday  

The first wave of bad weather has arrived as of early Friday morning and will mostly affect northern Vermont, especially up near the Canadian border.

In those areas, wet snow, sleet and a bit of freezing rain could pile up to between 2 to 5 inches by the end of the day.

More to the south, say below a Burlington to Montpelier line, temperatures will probably rise to above freezing for a time today, minimizing some of the problems (It was already 33 degrees in Burlingotn as of 6 a.m.)

However, this afternoon, cold air will bleed south, especially in the Champlain Valley, so commuters around Burlington especially might find themselves dealing with dealing with freezing rain and icy roads as temperatures quickly fall from the upper 30s to the upper 20s.

The real action starts Saturday afternoon and continues into midday Sunday. The storm that's coming is big, really wet and pretty weird.

It'll cause a variety of weather in the eastern half of the nation, including tornadoes, flooding, record warmth, snow and in some areas, including parts of Vermont, a nasty ice storm.

Everything depends on where a stalled weather front sets up, so expect changes in the forecast as we go forward this weekend.  But it looks like Vermont might be screwed with this one.

In northern Vermont, especially in the Champlain Valley and valleys in the northeastern third of the state, chances are high a bad ice storm will hit with this one.

Forecast models over the past day have trended a bit colder in the Champlain Valley with this storm, so the chances of ice have gone up.

Not only will the roads get pretty impassable at times, but there's a high risk of widespread tree damage and power failures that could last for days in some areas.  Now's a good time to get your batteries, stock up on food that you don't necessarily have to cook, and stockpile some water, too.

Ice could easily accumulate up to an inch thick in some areas. That's a recipe for super bad trouble. Already, winter storm watches are up, and an ice storm warning will probably be issued later today.

When there's freezing rain in the valleys, you don't have to go up too far in elevation to find just plain rain. (Freezing rain is caused by rain falling from warm air above a thin cold layer in the valleys. When that rain lands in the cold air, it freezes)

In the mountains, it'll rain hard while some of the valleys ice up. Between the mountain downpours and the snowmelt up there, there could be some flooding, especially in central and southern Vermont.

There could be a really strange temperature range with this storm. On Sunday morning, it's possible that it will be in the upper 20s near St. Albans and around 60 degrees in Bennington.

Such a sharp temperature contrast is a recipe for a bad storm.

I'll be watching this storm from afar, as I will be traveling to South Dakota starting today, but I do worry about the power at my St. Albans house.  Not to mention the trees looming over the house.

I might just have a really terrible mess to clean up around my property when I get back from South Dakota.



  1. Manchester Center is already 45 and just rain---glad to be away from the icing issues but now we have to worry about flooding in the Battenkill

  2. Matt: You nailed it. This is bad in Cambridge. At least 1" of ice coating everything. Ironically, at the 1000' level, this is a far WORSE storm than the infamous ICE Storm of 98'! Now river flooding is occurring and temps due to plummet tonight. I have so many limbs down that I have weeks of work ahead.