Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Little Snow In Vermont; Feet Of It In New York State

A driveway in Mexico, New York this morning
There was green grass there yesterday morning.
Aubrey Stoutengerdd 
At my house at St. Albans, in northwestern Vermont, we had 3.8 inches of new snow since Wednesday afternoon, so it actually looks like winter now.

The ground had been bare, or very nearly so at my house since the start of February, so it looks more seasonal now with the snow.

The snow here was very fluffy, so it sure was easy to clear off the driveway.

While we in Vermont are dealing with light snow, the New York State snow belts got, well, belted last night.

People in places like Oswego and Mexico, New York, near Lake Ontario. looked out their windows at the green grass on their snow-free lawns Wednesday morning.

Those same people in Mexico, New York are looking out at more than three FEET of new snow this morning. The latest snowfall reports indicate 37 inches in Mexico and Parish, New York

Wanna bet a few people from that neck of the woods were late for work this morning? Or didn't go to work at all?

More good or bad news, depending on your perspective: Vermont is going to get a little more light snow, and the snow belts in western New York are going to get a LOT more snow.

As we all know, it's been a warm winter. Which means the Great Lakes are relatively toasty for this time of year. More importantly, there's very little ice on them, because of the winter warmth.

Now that we have Arctic weather plunging down from Canada, this frigid air passes over that open water, picks up lots of moisture and dumps it as incredible bands of lake effect snow.

Who gets hit by the lake effect snows depends entirely on which direction the wind blows.The snow bands tend to be narrow. The intense snow bands often look on radar like the output from a fire hose:  A narrow, intense gush of snow blasting into one town while communities just a few miles to the north or south are out in the sunshine.
Radar image shows "firehose" lake effect snow band
coming off Lake Ontario into Oswego and Mexico,
New York last night. 

If the wind shifts, the direction of the "fire hose" changes. Kind of like when a firefighter sprays flames into one window of a burning house, then shifts a bit to spray the water into an adjoining flaming window.  

The wind was from the west-northwest  last night, which put places like Oswego and Mexico, New York into the lake effect snow cross hairs.

That will continue for a few hours today, so they'll get six or more inches of new snow.

The real, true Arctic front that's going to send temperatures below zero this weekend is now approaching. Ahead of that front, the wind will come more from the southwest. So communities to the east and northeast of the lakes will get blasted.

That means Buffalo and Watertown, New York, and the infamous Tug Hill Plateau snowbelt of western New York are under the gun Friday and Friday night. A couple places might get a few feet of fresh powder.

Then the front comes through, the wind will shift into the north, and people to the south of the lakes will get it most on Saturday. But those snow squalls, I believe, won't be as intense as those last night and today.

Back here in Vermont, and the rest of northern New England, the combination of little weather disturbances, the dreades Arctic cold front, and lingering lake effect snow from New York will drop a few inches of snow.  
Buried cars in Mexico, New York this morning.

The good news with that pattern, at least for winter sports enthusiasts, is the valleys in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine won't get all that much snow, maybe one to four inches.

But between now and Sunday, some of the ski areas in New York's Adirondacks, Vermont's Green Mountains and New Hampshire's White Mountains could get six or more inches of new snow.

That's on top of the several inches last night. Some Vermont ski resorts got between 6 and 12 inches of snow last night.

While that doesn't entirely solve the problem of this winter's thin snow cover, at least it helps. Mad River Glen, near Warren, Vermont was forced to close at the beginning of the month, which is quite a rarity.

But the ski mountain received eight to 12 inches of snow overnight, and it's still snowing. Mad River is set to reopen tomorrow.  

Plus, there's a chance, JUST a chance at this point, that northern New England's mountains could get a decent dump of snow next Tuesday.

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