Saturday, January 17, 2015

Suddenly Looks Like Vermont, Surrounding Areas To Get Snowstorm

A winter storm watch is in effect later Sunday into Monday
for the possibility of 4-12" of heavy wet snow in Vermont.
That would lead to scenes like this one in
Milton, Vermont back in December.  
Early this morning, the National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont issued a winter storm watch for all of that state, as it looks like Vermont could be in a small sweet spot for snow as a coastal storm makes its way north Sunday.

Far northeastern New York, the northern tip of New Hampshire and a small corner of western Maine are also covered under the winter storm watch.

Even though temperatures were well below zero Saturday morning across all of the area covered by the winter storm watch, it's going to warm up dramatically, making this forecast tricky.

Yesterday, it kind of looked like there would be enough warm air associated with this so that a good portion of the storm would be rain or a rain/snow mix.

The computer forecasting models have trended a little tiny bit colder with this storm, so now the expected rain/snow line has pushed eastward a bit with this storm to maybe the New Hampshire/Maine border.

Even in areas where snow is predicted, it'll still be quite warm. It'll at least in the low 30s across much of Vermont, so this will be a heavy, wet snow. Not that powdery stuff we usually get this time of year, and the kind you'd expect, given how cold it has been lately.

The fact this snowstorm is expected to be wet and heavy makes me wonder if we're going to get more downed trees and powerless with this.

The good news is Vermont and surrounding areas won't get quite as much snow as the wet snowstorm in December, when tens of thousands of Vermonters lost power, some for as long as a week or more.
The December snowstorm was so bad in parts of Vermont might be declared a disaster area. 

The bad news is, at least in the areas hardest hit by the December storm, crews only had a chance in some cases to move parts of the damaged trees, and to jury rig power lines and poles temporarily until spring, when the work can be done properly.

That means things are rickety, so the power lines or trees could snap more easily than they normally would.

Ski resorts will like this, although it's coming on the tail end of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. There could be some travel problems, given the icy roads I expect with this thing.

There's still an element of uncertainty with this storm, as is usually the case. The temperatures in the lower atmosphere will be close to freezing. If things warm up a degree or two more than expected, this could still turn out to be more of a rain storm, at least in Vermont's valleys.

But if the snow pans out, it's great news for winter sports, especially at cross country centers in valleys with a thin snow cover. This storm, if it materializes, will fix that problem.

It's interesting that about a week ago, some of the computer models were hinting that there would be a snowstorm in parts of New England.  Then the models basically said, "Nah," it won't get its act together, or will go out to sea.

Now we're back to a storm system hugging the coast or moving just inland in New England.  Every once in a while, the long range computer models do a better job than shorter range ones.

Oh well.

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