Thursday, February 13, 2014

Northern New England Still On Track For Decent, Not Extreme Snowstorm

The moon set over Lake Champlain west of my perch in St. Albans, in northwestern Vermont just before dawn today.  It was a hazy looking moon, partly obscured by high clouds that are the harbinger of the snowstorm that will start later today.
The scene near Raleigh, North Carolina
yesterday. Northern New England
will geta lot of snow with this storm,
but I don't think it'll get this
apolcalytpic here. 

The forecast hasn't changed much overnight. Generally, expect 6 to 14 inches of new snow by tomorrow over the North Country.

The lower amounts would be in parts of the  Champlain Valley, and the most on the eastern slopes of the Green Mountains and in parts of the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

My guess is the heaviest snow reports will come in from southeastern Vermont, down around Ludlow, Mount Holly, Dover, Woodford, that whole stretch. There might even be an isolated 18" report down there.

The St. Lawrence Valley of New York will probably largely miss out, with just a few inches of snow.

We in the North Country are leading something of a charmed life with this nor'easter. The storm is causing chaos in much of the eastern half of the nation.

Early this morning, Jim Cantore over at the Weather Channel was reporting 560,000 homes and businesses without electricity in the Southeast due to the ice.

In the mid-Atlantic states, snow rapidly accumulated to 6 to 15 inches overnight, and it's sleeting and icing closer to the coast. At last check around 6:45 a.m. Dulles Airport near Washington DC was closed because they were having trouble keeping up with the snow and sleet piling up on the runways.

Travel is totally screwed up in most of the East Coast, suffice it to say.

Here in northern New England and the Adirondacks, the storm, like the one a week ago, is ultimately going to do more good than harm.

It's true that the roads will be bad for this Thursday evening commute and at least as bad Friday morning with snow and blowing snow. There will be accidents, it costs money to clear the roads, schools are closing. So there is disruption, no doubt about it.

But as I noted yesterday, this storm is coming right before Presidents Week, arguably the most important period of the year in the North Country ski industry.  Conditions on the slopes were already pretty good, and this will help immensely.

And assuming the roads are cleared pretty quickly in the big Northeast cities, all the snow we're getting will entice zillions of skiers and riders to our area.

Northern New England has for the most part escaped what has been a relatively tough winter in the United States.

We have had only one disaster this winter, which is something of an accomplishment given the weather extremes the world has endured lately.  That was the pre-Christmas ice storm that cut power for days in some areas and damaged countless trees.

But in Vermont and surrounding states, we haven't had the repeated disruptive storms and the record snowfalls that have hit some parts of the Midwest.

It certainly has been cold at times in New England, but not that far below normal. We haven't been breaking many records in New England, the cold spells haven't really last long.

That's not so true in the Midwest.   For instance, Duluth, Minn had a record 23 consecutive mornings at or below 0, ending onf February 11, according to weather historian Christopher Burt. And Chicago has had 22 subzero mornings so far this winter, the fourth most for any winter.

By contrast, it's gotten to 0 or lower 15 times in Burlington, Vermont. That's more than in recent winters, but certainly not that unusual.

So as the snow spreads northward across New York and New England today, grab a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the fact it's not THAT cold, and it's just snow that's coming down, and not the end of the world.

At least not yet.

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