Thursday, October 20, 2016

Will A Big Rain Next Couple Of Days Dent The Northeast Drought? Snow, Too!

Early this morning, it was raining in much of New York and sunrise rainbows were visible to Vermonters looking at the sky to the west.
A faint sunrise rainbow over St. Michael's College in
Colchester, Vermont is a harbinger of much needed
rain in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast.

We are getting into our best chance in months of denting - but not eliminating - the ongoing drought in Vermont and other areas of the Northeast.     

Still, I'll believe it when I see it. The forecast is certainly encouraging, though. 

A strong trough of low pressure and storminess is setting up over the Northeast. Rain looks like it will come down hard, especially in northern New York today.  The rain there will continue off and on into the weekend.

In New York, upwards of six inches of rain could fall over the next couple of days. That would normally raise flooding concerns,  but it's been so dry that's not much of a worry at all.

The rain will slowly edge eastward into Vermont and the rest of New England, today and Friday, and in eastern New England by Saturday,  though the rain won't be as heavy as in New York.  However, forecasters think parts of western New England could get two to four inches of rain, especially across the northwestern half of Vermont.

Part of the reason so much rain could fall is the storm is tapping into some subtropical moisture from a wannabe tropical storm near Bermuda. That storm probably won't really develop, but it's adding some wetness to the storm coming into the Northeast. 

One rain storm won't cure the drought, but we'll take what we get. As an example, precipitation in Burlington, Vermont is running nine inches below normal so far this year, and Burlington isn't the driest place in New England.

If Burlington gets three inches of rain out of this storm, which is a stretch, the city will still be six inches behind normal. As you can see, it'll take several wet storms to get us out of the drought. 

Plus, there's potential this storm could be a bust. Maybe the moisture won't get brought into the system as much as forecasters think. Maybe there will be gaps in the precipitation so some local areas could miss out. We'll have to see hows this plays out.

This storm is going to feature a sharp, slow moving cold front and it will get seasonably chilly behind it. 

There will be a sharp temperature contrast across New England Saturday with lower 40s in the northwest and readings near 70 in southeastern New England,

The cold air coming in means the first decent snow in the Adirondacks, Green Mountains and White Mountains is a pretty good bet over the weekend.

Some mountain peaks could get six to 12 inches of snow. We have to watch this, because mid-elevation towns, maybe above 1,500 feet above sea level, could get several inches of wet snow. This is especially true in northern New York and the northern half of Vermont.

There are still some leaves on the trees, so if that snow does fall, it'll accumulate on the leaves, pulling down trees, branches and power lines. 

It's still uncertain how low in elevation accumulating snow will get, but it's something to watch. 

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