Thursday, March 3, 2016

Yeah, It's Cold In Vermont. Warm Up Still Coming, Though

My deck and driveway in St. Albans, Vermont still has
a slick layer of ice from yesterday's freezing rain,
topped with a dusting of snow. Tricky short walk to my
frozen truck this morning, let me tell ya.  
As we woke up this Thursday morning, the sun was coming up in a sky that was clear in most of Vermont, but don't let that warm looking sun fool you.

It was cold at dawn. Temperatures were mostly in the single digits, and a northwest breeze had the wind chills down in the teens below zero.

Expect another 24 hours of midwinter chill before a warming trend starts. The warm up will proceed slowly at first through the weekend, then really take off the first half of next week.

Arctic high pressure is to our northwest, and that's feeding in the cold air. In northern Vermont today, temperatures will only get into the teens this afternoon, despite a March sun that is much stronger and  at a higher angle than we had in say, early January.

Today's high temperatures will be a good 20 degrees colder than normal.  Tonight, expect readings under a clear sky to drop down to a few degrees either side of zero.

These temperatures won't help with the ice underfoot. A lot of driveways, side roads and sidewalks are still slick with ice after yesterday morning's freezing rain. Today's sun might melt patches of the ice, despite the chill, but much of the slippery stuff will remain  underfoot for the next few days.

The expected warmup is going to be slow Friday through Sunday, in part because of a strong nor'easter.

Don't worry, that nor'easter won't hit Vermont. It'll be way, wayyyyyy to far off the coast for that. Maybe Cape Cod and the islands will pick up a couple inches of snow, but that's it.

However, that nor'easter is gumming up the works a bit. We'll have to wait for it to move northeastward, past New England and past Maritime Canada to allow that Arctic high pressure to move east and away from us.

Still, with spring around the corner and the sun higher in the sky, it'll still get better outside each day.

Expect low 20s Friday afternoon, mid to upper 20s during the day Saturday and low to mid 30s Sunday. So yeah, wintry, but reasonable.

Then, starting Monday, temperatures really ramp up as the overall weather pattern changes. There will be a lot of storminess along the West Coast, which will create a southwest air flow over the East.

That means temperatures will zoom up. It'll get into the 40s Monday and near 50 Tuesday. It's possible that parts of Vermont could get above 60 degrees Wednesday.

I know 60 degrees is too warm for comfort this time of year for those out in the sugarbushes to make maple syrup.

We hope that there will be some good freezes beyond Wednesday and that could happen. But the overall pattern favors warm weather.

The Vermont sugaring season got off to an incredibly early start, with taps running much of February. With the weather pattern setting up the way it is, it looks like there could also be an early end to the maple season.

We'll see about that.

One more thing to watch out for when it warms up next week. The ground is quite frozen, having been exposed to near zero degree cold without much snow to insulate it. Mud season will probably start next week, and it could be a messy one.

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