Sunday, January 18, 2015

Northern Vermont Still In The Bulleye For Snow

Here's the latest snowfall projections through
Monday from the National Weather Service
in South Burlington, Vermont. Click
on the map to make it bigger and easier to see.  
It still looks like it's going to snow quite a bit over a good chunk of Vermont and parts of northern New Hampshire tonight and Monday.

Given the highly iffy state of affairs in the northern New England atmosphere as a storm approaches, forecasts for snowfall are remarkably the same as they were last evening.

Northern Vermont looks to be in the sweet spot for snow with this one.

Go a little to the west, and precipitation won't be all that heavy. Go a little east into New Hampshire and you get into the mixed precipitation.

If forecasts hold, it looks like the heaviest snow in Vermont will fall north of a V-shaped line from St. Albans, down to a little below Montpelier then back up to the St. Johnsbury area.

That's the zone covered under a winter storm warning, meaning a snowstorm is pretty much considered imminent. That's an upgrade from the winter storm watch of last evening. A watch means "maybe, but we're not really all that sure yet."

The spine of the Green Mountains south of Barre all the way down to the Mount Snow Ski Area in southern Vermont looks like they'll get a good five to ten inches of snow as well.

Most other areas of Vermont are under a winter weather advisory for wet, heavy snow, but accumulations will only be in the 2 to 6 inch category. This somewhat lighter zone includes Burlington, Middlebury, Rutland, and White River Junction, Vermont and Plattsburgh, N.Y.

The areas around Bennington and Brattleboro in far southern Vermont will only get a dusting to an inch or two of slush. But watch out east of the Green Mountains in the lower Connecticut River valley. Freezing rain will fall or a time today.

Even though watches have been upgrades to winter storm warnings and advisories, I still caution there is a high potential for forecasts to be wrong.

It'll get warm enough this afternoon for precipitation to start as rain in most of Vermont. The question is, at what point tonight will it get cold enough for the precipitation to change to snow? If the changeover comes later than expected, obviously less snow than forecast would accumulate.

Far northern New Hampshire is under a winter weather advisory for three to five inches of snow, mixed with sleet, freezing rain and rain. Kinda yucky there.

Deeper valleys haven't seen the south winds that have been scouring out warm air.  That means some of the deeper valleys, especially across the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, much of New Hampshire and the northwestern half of Maine, could see freezing rain this afternoon when precipitation arrives.

As of 7 a.m this morning, with calm winds, it was minus 2 in Berlin, N.H., so it would take a lot for warm air to scour down to that valley. Meanwhile, Burlington, Vermont, where a south wind has been blowing all night, gusting to 40 mph at times, it was 25 degrees as of 7 a.m.

The precipitation will change to plain rain in much of New Hampshire and most of Maine tonight, but the rain might still freeze on contact with the ground even if the air temperature is above freezing. Road and other surfaces are cold from the stretch of subzero weather we've had, so things could stay icy overnight.

I'd also note that any rain that falls in Vermont before a changeover to snow could also freeze on roads and sidewalks, even if temperatures are above freezing.

By the way, some of those overnight Champlain Valley winds have been quite strong, gusting over 40 mph in many places, including around my house in St. Albans, Vermont. Quite a few small branches blew off the trees around my house overnight. Those winds should lighten up later today.

Freezing rain is falling across much of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, Westchester County, N.Y and Connecticut this morning, and there have been lots of accidents reported. It'll go over to plain rain there later, but meanwhile, if you're in that area, stay off the roads until Sunday afternoon.

All hell is breaking loose down there this morning. Parts of the New Jersey Turnpike, and most of the bridges over the Delaware River were closed as of 8 a.m. this morning due to ice and many car crashes.

The freezing rain is moving into Massachusetts this morning. So if you're approaching Boston from the west for the New England Patriots game later today, delay your trip a bit or be very, very careful.

Frankly, you'd be better off watching the AFC Championship game between the Patriots vs. Indiana Colts this evening on television, rather than at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. A drenching rain, with temperatures only in the low 40s is expected at game time. There might even be some thunder and lightning with this. Yikes!

The snow and/or rain should taper off across New England on Monday as the storm rolls pretty quickly up toward the Canadian Maritimes.

Then, for the rest of the week, we revert back to the quiet and cold weather pattern that we've seen for most of January.

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