Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Update On New Round Of Severe Storms, Record Warmth

Areas in yellow and orange are most at risk for severe
thunderstorms and tornadoes today and tonight.
A few strong tornadoes are possible. 
It looks like it's going to be a dangerous afternoon and evening across the middle of the United States.

Another burst of warm air has engulfed the eastern half of the nation, and a storm in the middle of the country is about to spawn another round of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

This outbreak looks like it will be more widespread than the one that hit last weekend, and it could also be worse, with more and stronger tornadoes than the ones that struck Saturday in the Northeast.

It all depends upon how the atmospherics come together.

At this point, the areas that seem to be at greatest risk of severe storms and tornadoes is northern Arkansas, the eastern half of Missouri and most of Illinois and Indiana.

It's possible some of the tornadoes will become quite strong - EF3 or higher- and those are the ones that cause the most damage, and created the highest risk of casualties.

It looks like each individual storm that forms today and tonight will move along quite quickly, so if any of these contains a tornado, there won't be a lot of time for people in the path of the storms to take shelter.

Also, this is hitting on a weekday, when more people are out and about going to work, school and errands. Generally speaking, more people are at home on weekends like during Saturday's rough weather, so there's a better chance they will be in a place where they'd hear a weather radio or a TV station will sqawk out a warning.

Areas in yellow and orange are most at risk for severe
thunderstorms Wednesday. A few tornadoes are possible
in the yellow and orange zones. 
On Wednesday, the severe weather moves east, probably covering a large area from Alabama and Mississippi to near New York City.  

Strong straight line winds and big hail are the biggest threat tomorrow, but I would not at all be surprised to hear of a few tornadoes in this zone during the day Wednesday.

As the storm rides on by, more record heat is expected in the East, from Florida all the way to northern New England.


Here in Vermont, record highs are endangered again tomorrow. It won't get up to 72 degrees like it did Saturday, but Wednesday's record high of 59 degrees in Burlington is definitely under threat.

There will be a fairly decent slug of rain coming through Wednesday and Wednesday evening, possibly accompanied by some rumbles of thunder again.

I would not be at all surprised if we get more low land flooding out of this, just as we did Saturday and Sunday.

The good news is most of the ice has been flushed out of the rivers, so the risk of ice jams is lower. And there's not as much snow to melt and add to the rivers as there was over the weekend.

It'll turn sharply colder Thursday night and it's back to winter Friday and Saturday with temperatures actually a little below normal.

After that, I don't see any real signs of any more record heat for the forseeable future.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Strange Tornadoes: Way North This Past Weekend And More Due

Metal and debris is wrapped around trees near a
tornado-damaged church in Conway, Massachusetts
Sunday. Photo by David Molnar/The Republican
Amid the incredible record heat on Saturday where some rare tornadoes that struck parts of the Northeast.

By the way, more severe weather and possible tornadoes are coming this week from Arkansas to the Middle Atlantic coast.

Also, another squirt of strange late winter heat. More on that in a minute.

I've already remarked at how wild it was to have tornadoes this far north in February. One in Massachusetts was truly remarkable.

A confirmed tornado touched down in Goshen and Conway, in western Massachusetts at around 7:15 p.m. Saturday.  This is only about 15 miles south of the Vermont border.

The National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass. gave the tornado a high-end EF-1 rating, with winds up to 110 mph. This is almost an EF-2 in the srength scale that ranges from zero to five.

This Massachusetts tornado was no brief spin up that we most often see in New England, the kind that just takes down a few trees and rips some siding off a barn.

This one severely damaged several houses on a path that extended for five miles and grew to a width of 200 years. One injury was reported. Hundreds of trees came down. Residents of Conway reported hearing the tell-tale freight train-like roar of a tornado as it approached, and thus had the sense to run to their basements

NWS meteorologists from Taunton said it was extremely fortunate that nobody was killed.

A tornado on the ground in York County,
Pennsylvania Saturday. 
This is an impressive tornado for New England for any time of year. (Most New England tornadoes strike between Memorial and Labor days.)

This was the first recorded February tornado in New England, and that it was so strong is quite something.

Elsewhere,  the confirmed tornado in Pennsylvania came on the exact one-year anniversary of another tornado in the same Pennsylvania county. Plus, as we know, tornadoes in Pennsylvania during February are quite rare.

That 2016 storm spawned widespread tornadoes and severe thunderstorms from the Carolinas to New England.

In Maryland, an EF-1 tornado extended along an 8.4 mile long path through LaPlata and Waldorf. This is only the seventh tornado reported in either January or February in Maryland since 1950, says the Natonal Weather Service in Baltimore/Washington.

More tornado trouble - or at least severe thunderstorm trouble - appears to be on the horizon.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center says a severe weather outbreak will begin Tuesday, stretching from northeastern Texas into parts of the Ohio Valley.

The area of greatest concern at the moment is in Arkansas and southern Missouri. Details of how the storms will play out, and how many tornadoes form, and how strong they might be, are yet to be worked out.  
A menacing shelf cloud with a severe thunderstorm in
Pennsylvania Saturday. Photo by Marta Poulen.

The severe thunderstorms will move east for Wednesday, affecting a broad area from Louisiana to southern Pennsylvania, and down the coast to about South Carolina.

Strong straight line winds and hail are the biggest threats Wednesday, though there's a good chance there could be a few tornadoes in this broad zone.

This storm will generate another blast of very warm air for late winter in the eastern United States, but it won't be quite as strong and won't last as long as the heat wave last week.

Highs Wednesday will reach the upper 70s in the Washington DC area, around 70 in New York City, and as high as 60 degrees in Vermont.

Sharply colder weather will hit by the end of the week.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Wonderfully Tornadic Bill Paxton Tribute

A map showing the location of
storm chasers in Oklahoma
and surrounding states indicates
them forming into a giant "BP"
formation to honor the actor Bill
Paxton, who died Sunday.
Paxton starred in the tornado
disaster movie "Twister."
The death of actor Bill Paxton was announced Sunday and tributes for this great actor are pouring in from all over.

One of the most popular films Paxton starred in was "Twister" the 1996 film about storm and tornado chasers in the Great Plains.

A lot of people who were young when that movie came out credit the film for inspiring their careers in meteorology, storm chasing, storm photography, science and related fields.

So it was that a unique and movingly nerdy tribute to Paxton took shape Sunday afternoon.

Hundreds of tornado chasers use their Spotter Network markers to show where they are during tornado chases.

On line, you can see maps showing where as many as a few dozen chasers are clustered near a thunderstorm producing tornadoes during severe weather outbreaks.

Sunday, there were no tornadoes in Oklahoma, where the movie "Twister" was set. But storm chasers there were extremely active, and it all showed up on maps.

Several dozen of them gathered in various places in Oklahoma, so when you looked on a map, as you can see in the image in this post, they spelled out the giant initials "BP" across the entire state of Oklahoma, in tribute to Bill Paxton.

Variety reported that Paxton also made the IMAX documentary "Tornado Alley" and had a fascination with severe weather, having grown up in Texas.

The storm chaser tribute to Paxton was a bit strange, but it was beautiful. Kudos to all those storm chasers who did that.

Unprecedented Extreme Weather In Recent Days Has Climate Change Fingerprints

Day lily shoots beginning to sprout in my garden in
northwestern Vermont today after unprecedented
February heat. Very weird. 
On Thursday, when Burlington, Vermont reached 63 degrees to establish a new all time record high temperature for February, I said that was one of the weirdest weather days I'd ever seen.  

Then Saturday came along. The temperature in Burlington soared to an unbelieveable 72 degrees, smashing the monthly record set just two days earlier.

And it broke the record by nine degrees, a margin I'd previous thought to be impossible for any monthly record any time of year.

I have to say Saturday really blew my Vermont weather mind.

The 69 degrees in Bennington Thursday broke the record for the hottest recorded temperature in the entire state of Vermont for February. That was broken Friday by a 71 degree reading in Bennington, followed by Burlington's 72 degrees Saturday.


Add to that the dozens of all time February record highs in cities across the nation in the past month. And the very odd severe weather outbreak that prompted tornado warnings Saturday as far north as Pennsylvania and New York, which is much further north than I've ever seen in February.

They're even investigating whether a tornado touched down in western Massachusetts.  In February, when everybody is supposed to worry about snowstorms, not twisters.

Then there's the incredible California storms this winter, and the deep northern New England snows that preceded the record warmth before it all melted away.

The weather is really off the rails, that's for sure.

What's going on?


I'll start with caveat that you've heard before, but it's important for context. A single weather event, even one that is extreme as we saw Saturday is not proof that global warming exists, and is not solely caused by global warming.

A lot of influences that had little or nothing to do with global warning were all factors that caused the wacky weather.

Still, what has happened with the weather in recent weeks is consistent with what climate scientists have said would happen in a warming climate.
Damage from a possible tornado in western Massachusetts
Saturday. If confirmed, it would be the first recorded New
England tornado in February. Photo by Alex Kant.

The scientists keep saying the extremes keep getting more extreme with global warming, and the extremes happen more frequently.

Of course, you get more frequent and stronger heat waves with global warming (duh!), but the phenomenon can also cause bigger floods, bigger droughts, possibly bigger storms, even occasionally bigger cold waves.

It can also relocate where storms hit. Maybe tornadoes will hit further north earlier in the season than usual. That idea is not proven by climate change scientists, but it makes sense.

If it's warmer and more humid in the winter further north than it used to be, severe storms and tornadoes could move more north, too. After all, warmth and humidity is one ingredient necessary for severe thunderstorms.

The bottom line is , like it or not, global warming is here, and ou should expect more extremes.

What's happened with weather in Vermont over recent weeks and decades shouldn't be taken as the definitive proof of global warming.

But it illustrates the way things change.


Weather records for Burlington, Vermont go back to the 1880. There's always been weather extremes, and you can pick them out:

Two enormous blizzards in 1888. 64 degrees in January, 1906. 100 degrees in July, 1911. A devastating flood in November, 1927. A terrible hurricane in 1938. Huge summer heat waves in the 1940s.

When it comes to weather, things happen.  
Will climate change give us a stormier future?

It's just that now, the pace of the extremes has picked up, and gotten more extreme.

Picking apart the Burlington climate data further, he's one example of what I mean.

The previous record for the hottest February temperature on record was 62 degrees on February 19. 1981. That was broken by that 63 degree reading Thursday, then the 72 degrees Saturday.

Meanwhile, until 1990, the earliest 70 degree reading in the spring was on March 20, I think 1903. That record was broken relatively recently, in 1990, when it got up to 72 degrees on March 15. Then that record was broken just last year, when the temperature reached 70 on March 9. And that earliest 70 degree record was broken Saturday.

Plus,  remember that previous record earliest 70 on March 20? That was replaced just five years ago, in 2012, with Burlington's earliest 80 degree record on March 20 that year.

I suppose all these records aren't incredibly consequential for most of you who live in the real world.

But then add on the increasing pace of extremes during all times of the year in Vermont. And add all those extremes practically everywhere else in the nation and the world and things get really screwed up fast.

Unlike temperatures, which you can measure precisely, the definition of "extreme" is more subjective.    That's especially true if you're trying to determine whether the frequency of extreme weather is increasing. How do you measure that?

There's no precise way.

However, there's obvious real world consequences to this rising tide of extremes. (Which includes literal rising tides in vulnerable coastal locations.)


This new regime of extremes is changing our lives. I said that the winter heat waves of recent years in Vermont aren't radically alterning your life, but they are affecting you.  
Flooding along Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vermont
in 2011. Will we need to get used to more extremes
like this record flood?

Vermont depends upon winter tourism. All that snow in mid-February was great, but resorts across the state watched helplessly in the past few days as all that snow dissolved.

Maple sugarers have had to adjust their season and start earlier than they used to. No sugaring was ever done in February when I was a kid. Now it's routine.

Plus, you have to wonder how the warmth on recent days will affect the length and quality of this sugaring season.

Here and further south, trees and plants are budding, and they will inevitably get nipped with a return of more normal weather in March.

Did the Vermont apple crop get damaged? Will the peach crop further south in the United States get wiped out because it's been warm for weeks and a big cold wave will come down from Canada in March, as almost always happens?

Then you start thinking about the apparent overall increase in storms, droughts, floods and whatnot in Vermont, the United States and the world, and pretty soon you're talking about lots of real lives and real money.

Sounds bad, and I don't have the policies or the plans on how to deal with it.

We're all pretty much not totally capable of completely adapting to the changes and extremes in the weather and climate. But we're going to have to do our best.

The weird weather in Vermont over the past few days was a novelty.  Future extremes might be more dangerous than shorts and t-shirt weather in February.

It's going to be a wild ride.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The February Heat Remains Ridiculous. I Have No Words....

A chance of severe thunderstorms today as far north
as Vermont, says the SPC. In February!!
The amazing February heat wave continued to mindbogglingly smash records across much of the eastern United States Friday, and some areas have one more day to go with this absolute ridiculousness.

Monthly all time record high temperatures always fall from time to time in various cities, but the sheer number of places that have had their hottest February day on record is just huge.

And some of those records were smashed by wide margins, and/or broken repeatedly over the course of a few days.

I counted at least 30 cities in the Northeast from Ohio to Massachusetts that tied or broke their all time February highs on Friday. That's a big number. That's on top of the dozens of cities, including Burlington and Montpelier, Vermont that set monthly record highs Thursday, or other cities in the Midwest Wednesday.

Some examples of temperatures Friday way far north would not have been the least bit unusual for July, but February. Just wow.

Among them: 74 in Albany, New York, 73 in Boston, and 71 in Buffalo (no lake effect snowstorms there yesterday, that's for sure!)

Other February record highs included 80 in Charleston, West Virginia, 77 in Erie, Pennsylvania and 78 in Cincinnati.

It got up to 107 degrees in southern Texas this week, which I think is a national record for United States's hottest February reading.

Here in Vermont, it cooled slightly in all but extreme southern parts of the state. It got up to 72 degrees in Bennington Friday, but most of the rest of Vermont was in the 40s and 50s.

However, more records will happen today. The warm front passed through Burlington, Vermont on its way north between 5 and 6 a.m this morning. At 5 a.m., it was 37 degrees in Burlington. The temperature jumped, incredibly, a full 18 degrees to 55 by 6 a.m.

That 55 ties the record high for the date in Burlington. We reached it by 6 a.m. Just wild.  r

There's also still an excellent shot at having the all time February high temperatures that were set Thursday in Vermont to be broken today.

For instance, in Burlington, the high reached 63 Thursday and the forecast high today is 65. Montpelier's forecast high of 64 degrees today would beat the February record of 62 set on Thursday.

The February heat isnt the only interesting bit of weather here in New England today. That flood watch is still in effect for good reason, given the fast-melting snow.
A long list of record highs in the East Friday.
Click on the image to make it bigger and easier ro read. 

And that cold front that's coming. You sure will notice when the cold front comes in from the west later today.

The temperature will abruptly tumble, perhaps 20 degrees within an hour. There will also likely be a brief burst of very heavy rain and possibly damaging wind gusts with the arrival of the front.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center actually has all of Vermont in a marginal risk for severe thunderstorms later today.

The SPC actually has southwestern Vermont, and a stripe from eastern New York to Virginia in a slight risk zone for severe storms, which is a step up from marginal, meaning there's a bit of a higher risk of severe storms there than in the marginal risk area.

The Storm Prediction Center even has a very tiny risk of a brief tornado as far north as southwestern Vermont. In February! Don't hold your breath for a tornado because the risk is extremely low, but it could conceivably happen anywhere from  southwestern Vermont all the way south to Virginia.

Still, it' extremely rare to have the Storm Prediction Center hold out the possibility of severe thunderstorms in Vermont in February. This is just amazing.

The timing of the cold front would take it into northern New York mid to late afternoon and Vermont's Champlain Valley late in the afternoon or very early evening, then through the evening in the rest of Vermont and New Hampshire.

Tonight will bring the biggest risk of flooding since the snow will have been melting all day and we'll get that burst of rain this evening. Mainstem rivers like the Mississquoi and Winooski would still be high and/or flooding Sunday morning.

Be careful on those low spots! And don't drive on flooded roads.

Following the front, temperatures will end up at just a little warmer than normal Sunday, then it's back to well above normal temperatures most of next week.

It won't be record warm next week but it will still be awfully mild for the end of February and the beginning of March.

In a subsequent post in the coming couple of days I'll explore whether this heat wave has anything to do with climate change, because I know a lot of people are asking.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Yesterday Was Vermont's Weirdest February Weather Day Even, More Weirdness Coming

Weather dogs Tonks and Jackson enjoyed the record
February warmth Thursday on their St. Albans, Vermont deck.
There's that cliche that says, "That was one for the record books," but that phrase is the only way to describe Thursday in Vermont.

What a bizarre weather day.' And more weirdness is coming fast. Also note we're under a flood watch, to complicate matters further. More on that in a minute.

The headline of course was the warmth. Burlington and Montpelier set records for their all day warmest reading for any February day.

It hit 63 degrees in Burlington, besting the previous high for any February day, which had been 62 degrees on February 19, 1981.

Montpelier reached 62 degrees, also breaking the record for hottest February day. The old record was 61 set in 1997.

St. Johnsbury tied its all-time monthly high temperature of 62 degrees. The high temperature in Rutland reached 67 degrees Thursday. Bennington got up to70 degrees- in February! .

Record highs elsewhere in New England include 68 in Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire, 66 in Providence, Rhode Island, 65 in Concord, New Hampshire and 64 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Here in Vermont, Thursday was an absolutlely, perfectly normal day -- for mid-May.  It was hazy, warm and breezy. Notably, across northern Vermont, there were billowing towering cumulus clouds and some brief downpours.

The mix of sun and convective showers lasted most of the afternoon where I live in St. Albans

These types of showers are common during the warm seasons - late spring and summer, but very, very rare in February.

The weirdness goes on today and tomorrow. I'll have to paraphrase Donald Trump here and say the showers yesterday in northern Vermont were part of a so-called cold front that sank through Vermont last evening.

I'm calling it so-called because it's still spectacularly warmer than normal behind the front, just not record warm.

The front will come back at us from the south as a warm front today, triggering showers and maybe even some thunderstorms this afternoon.
Towering cumulus clouds near St. Albans, Vermont late
Thursday afternoon. Such clouds are common in the late
spring and summer, but not in February. 

Yes, maybe thunderstorms. That, again, is very rare in a Vermont February. (There were already thunderstorms this morning in Massachusetts and western New York)

Then we get back into the warm air late tonight and Saturday.

You know those all-time February record high temperatures set Thursday? They're going to be challenged Saturday.

Yep! There's a chance that those new February records won't survive two days. Another weird thing, for sure.

A strong cold front will come in late Saturday. There will be a burst of pretty heavy rain Saturday afternoon and night, possibly accompanied by another rumble of thunder.

That's part of the reason why we're under that flood watch. 

Snow has obviously been melting wicked fast the past couple of days and that will continue. The showers and possible thunderstorms later today will add water to the mix. Then we get the record high temperatures again Saturday, then that expected burst of rain.

Initially, the threat from flooding tonight and Saturday morning will come from water collecting behind ice jams in rivers as the ice breaks up.

Later Saturday, Saturday night and into Sunday, rivers could flood in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine because of the runoff brought on by the melting snow and rain.

By the way, the storm system causing this wacky weather is expected to produce severe thunderstorms and maybe a few tornadoes in Indiana, Ohio and southern Michigan. If Michigan gets a tornado today, it will be the earliest in the season for one in that state.

Further west, the storm is creating a big snowstorm. Yankton, South Dakota was at 75 degrees Tuesday. This morning, there's a fresh foot of snow on the ground. Quite a switch!

Next week, the weather in the Northeast will remain warmer than normal, though at this point I don't expect more record highs.

But the way things have been going, you never know.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Record February Heat Now Invading New England

Here's what my driveway in St. Albans, Vermont looked
like exactly a week ago today. Scroll down to see how much
has changed within a week. 
The record warmth that has bathed much of the nation this week is making its way into New England as we speak.

As the warmth melts the snow and expected rains move in over the weekend, there is a risk of flooding in parts of northern New York, Vermot and perhaps other sections of New England.

Wednesday was just a foretaste of the balmy weather. It got up to 54 degrees in Burlington, Vermont Wednesday. That wasn't a record high, but it was normal weather for April, not February.

Today, we should get even hotter than that in Vermont and other sections of the Northeast. Burlington stands a great chance of breaking its record high for the date of 56 degrees today, given that the temperature was already up to 52 degrees as of 10 a.m.

Same view of my driveway today as the snowy scene above
A lot has changed in a week, hasn't it. 
With breaks in the clouds, I wouldn't be surprised if parts of Vermont and surrounding areas flirt with the 60 degree mark today.

The all time high for any day in February in Burlington is 62 degrees, and we could conceivably reach that record today or Saturday. Iffy, but possible.

The National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont has issued a flood watch for northern New York and the northern two-thirds of Vermont from Friday evening through Sunday evening.

Snow cover in the valleys has already taken a beating. There was 15 inches of snow on the ground in Burlington Saturday and only four inches Wednesday.

Still, there's plenty of snow left to melt, especially in the high elevations, so there's going to be quite a bit of runoff. Additionally, the ground is largely frozen, so very little water will soak in.

There won't be all that much rain until Saturday afternoon across Vermont, but today's near record warmth, light rain on Friday and more record warmth Saturday will break up ice on rivers, leading to the risk of ice jams.

It will be slightly cooler Friday behind a weak cold front, but still much warmer than normal. Then that cold front will come back as a warm front Friday night, leading to more record warmth Saturday.

If Burlington ties or breaks its all time monthly February high this week, we'll join a growing club.

Hey, why not? Other cities in the path of this warm burst have already set February monthly records, including several cities in Wisconsin Wednesday.

Milwaukee got up to 71 degrees and Madison reached 68 degrees for new February records on Wednesday. Green Bay, Oshkosh and Appleton, Wisconsin also reached all time February records. So did Ottumwa, Iowa, where it got up to a summery 79 degrees.

Many dozens of daily record highs were set Wednesday in a broad stretch from Brownsville, Texas to Watertown, New York.  

Later Saturday and Saturday night, we'll get a burst of rain as a cold front approaches. The rapid snowmelt, combined with more than a half inch of rain will cause at least minor flooding on area rivers. Some rivers like the Winooski and Mad rivers could experience moderate flooding.

Plus, there could be some pretty serious flooding immediately upstream from any ice jams that form.

It'll turn sharply colder late Saturday night and Sunday amid some gusty northwest winds. But even then, it won't be all that cold for late February. Probably close to normal for Sunday, then back aboe normal next week.

It won't be record warm next week, but it will be pretty mild.

Sugaring season sure has gotten off to an extremely early start in Vermont. Let's hope sugar makers have already started collecting sap. If this keeps up, the season could end awfully early.

We'll have to wait and see on that one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hair Freezing Contest Puts Fun Into Frigid Yukon

Participants in the frozen hair style contest in
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada is definitely one of the world's cold spots.

In the winter, the temperature is almost alwaysbelow zero.

So what better place to have a frozen hair style contest.

Uh, what?

Yeah, it involves getting people to create the most unique hair style possible by freezing their hair.

Here's how it works. There's a resort near Whitehorse called Takhini Hot Springs, where people can soak in water that has a temperature of about 100 degrees.

The pools are outside, and the contest starts when the temperature dips into the minus 20s, which happens a lot in Whitehorse.

People get their hair wet, wait a few minutes until it starts to freeze and get stiff, and style it in such a way that is, uh, different.  (Everybody stays immersed in the water up to their necks so they stay warm, except for their hair.)

I guess when it's winter, and you have cabin fever, you've got to think of something differnet to do, so why not freeze your hair?

Bizarre February Heat And Weather Whiplash Continue To Puzzle The Nation

Temperature departures from normal in the
Lower 48 from Feb 1 through 20. Click
on the map to make it bigger and easier to see
Some places in the middle of the nation are
running 10 degrees aboven normal. 
Out where a lot of my relatives live in the southeastern South Dakota city of Yankton, there's a winter storm watch from Thursday evening through much of Friday for an expected six to 12 inches of snow.

That's not at all unusual for that part of the country in late February. Winter storms are what you'd expect in the central and northern Plains this time of year.  

What is unusual is the extreme February heat that preceded the expected storm. It was 75 degrees in Yankton Tuesday, and in the 60s to near 70 for several days before that.

That's got to be some sort of February heat record for Yankton, and the fact that a snowstorm is on the way is going to feel absolutely shocking.

Yankton is just one example of how the weather seems so off the rails this month across the United States.

Among other extremes, incredible warmth has bathed almost all of the United States this month. In an excellent summary of the excessive national warmth, Meteorologist Eric Fisher at WBZ in Boston gives us some statistics. 

Among them:

--- Chicago will get above 60 degrees today, the sixth consecutive day that's happened. It's the first time the Windy City has had such a long streak of spring weather in February. It could get as high as 75 degrees today in Chicago, which would be a February record.

--- In the past 144 years, it's only gotten into the 60s six times in Minneapolis during February.  Two of those times were this week. There's a chance it could get to 60 again today in Minneapolis before that big snowstorm blows into the Twin Cities by Friday. The snowstorm might be the city's largest in six years.

--- Atlanta, Georgia, the temperature has reached 70 degrees eighteen times so far in 2017, which is, of course, a record.  Forecasts calls for 70 degree weather in Atlanta today through Friday, and possibly during the middle of next week.

--- The hottest February for the Lower 48 states was in February, 1954 with an average temperature of 41.4 degrees. So far, this February is lagging just behind that, but Fisher notes that the large areas of the nation that are expected to have near record heat this week could push this year over the 1954 mark.

It isn't just the heat affecting the United States. You know all about those constant California floods. Large swaths of the Golden State are on track to have their wettest winter on record, just months after the state was in the depth of a crippling drought.

Another decent slug of rain is expected in California early next week.

This has been a big winter and a big February for severe weather, too.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has logged 174 preliminary reports of tornadoes so far this year, well above the pace of recent years.

On Friday, lots of severe thunderstorms, and possibly a few tornadoes, are forecast to develop in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and southern Michigan. That's incredibly far north for severe storms to develop in February.

This region of the country normally waits until April or later to see their first severe storm outbreak of the year, so this is incredibly unusual.

There's even a chance of a few severe thunderstorms in the Northeast Saturday.

Northern New England had big snows earlier this month, and it's going to be interesting to watch how quickly that disappears. Bangor, Maine had 31 inches of snow on the ground on February 17 and it was down to 18 inches four days later. With a continued big thaw in Maine, that remaining snow will skeddaddle fast.

I'm not sure if this winter has set us on a trend for the entire year, but boy, it's hard to keep up with all the weather news lately.

But I'm up to the challenge.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

California Storm: Not Worst-Case Scenario, But....

This road in Santa Clara, California gave way during
the most recent spate of heavy rain in the Golden State.
The latest California storm is tapering off in the Golden State today.

It proved to be not a worst case scenario but still one that caused incredible amounts of trouble.

Plus the California rain and snow nightmare isn't done yet.  There's more rain and more runoff coming hat can continue to cause havoc in the next few days.

As it is, there have been a few swift water rescues, and at least one water-strained levee was breached in the San Joaquin Valley, forcing the evacuation of about 500 residents. 

One thing that's being talked about, as always seems to be the case, is what, if anything global warming had to do with the California storms.

There is some chatter from the climate change denial community that says climate activists had claimed that California was in a forever drought and the climate scientists were saying a wet winter like Caliifornia is having was a thing of the past.

As much as I respect Joe Bastatdi's meteorology, he's mistaken to suggest that there was a widespread belief that the Califoria drought was permanent, that heavy rain would never return to California. Only a few irresponsible commenters and extremists believed that

In reality, no serious climate scientist has made such claims. While the overall science of climate change is settled, the specifics of how it might influence a given location is still hazy.

We know that climate change is likely to cause more extreme weather in most places around the world, very likely in California as well.

The general, though admittably not unanimous consensus is that California is in for longer, more intense droughts than in the past. But it might also be prone to more severe winter rain and snow blasts.

California did just have an extreme, long-lasting drought that appears to have ended this winter.  Now this winter is in the running to be the wettest on record, or at least close to it.

That pattern of drought to extreme rain is consistent with what climate scientists say is in store for California, but of course that's not guaranteed.

Who knows? The state could revert to really bad, long lasting drought once this winter rainy season has gone by,  
The Great Flood of 1862 in Sacramento. While California
has not experienced such a megaflood this year, some
scientists warn the state is overdue for such
an epie inundation 

It's also possible this wet winter is a foretaste of what could be in store for California.

It has happened before.

Every once, say, 200 or 300 years, California gets hit by huge rains that make this winter seem like child's play.

The last time this happened was in 1862, in which California's Central Valley, including present day Sacramento, turned into a lake perhaps 20 or miles wide and up to 300 miles long. 

If that were to happen again - and it could - we could lose thousands of lives and see tens of billions of dollars or more in damage in California.

As bad as it is in California right now, we're no where close to this cataclysmic scenario.

Remember, with or without climate change, underlying weather and extremes will always happen.  The question is, will climate change make persistent weather patterns that might have happened anyway more extreme?

For instance, in a hotter world, will the heat increase evaporation and prevent snow from accumulating in the mountains, making droughts worse?

Many of the recent storms in California were due in large part to atmospheric rivers, relatively narrow ribbons of super wet air that move up from the tropics and target specific areas of the West Coast like a fire hose.

Atmospheric rivers have always happened and always will. That's meteorology, not climate.

However, will these naturally occuring atmospheric rivers turn more intense as the climate warms? After all, hotter air can hold more moisture than cooler air, so will the added heat supercharge the atmospheric rivers, making them more destructive once they make landfall on the West Coast?

No matter what, climate change will probably make things worse in California, as it will almost everywhere else on Earth.

It is going to rain again in California in the next several days and weeks, probably heavily at times.

Over the next week, parts of northern California could see up to a half foot of additional rain on saturated soil.

That's not as bad as the storm we just had, but it's guaranteed to keep the flood and mudslide and landslide threat going.

Californians begged for rain to end their punishing drought and they sure as hell got it. Now, they want a break, right?

Even Without The Current Warmth, The Sun Is Giving Us Signs Of Spring

This photo, taken Sunday in the woods around my house
in St. Albans, Vermont, shows how the warming late
February sun has first melted the snow around tree
trunks and evergreen branches. 
We've had a few warm days here in Vermont and that deep snowcover we had at the end of last week has seriously eroded, especially in the valleys.

Expected warm weather the rest of the week will further diminish the snow pack.

Even if we had not had the mild conditions, the receding snow cover offers another sign of spring. Go out and notice around tree trunks and under darker trees, like pines.

The snow has disappeared much faster in these spots.

Here's why:

The sun is much stronger in late February than it was in late December. The dark tree bark, the dark pine needles and such attract the increasing warmth of the sun. The heat collecting in these dark objects radiates out into its immediate surroundings.

The result is nice rings of melted snow around tree trunks, and near areas where warmth collects, like on pine and spruce needles.

This, of course is an early sign of spring, much like the changing songs of the chickadees and the brightening hues of goldfinches this time of year.

We'll surely have more wintry blasts here in Vermont in the coming weeks. But the core of winter has passed. It's too soon to say happy spring, but maybe we can celebrate pre-spring.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Australia Has Been Having A Scary Summer

Lightning strikes Sydney, Australia's airport Friday.
It's been quite a summer in Australia, with terrible storms, extreme heat, wildfires, and you name it.

As we all know, it's summer in the Southern Hemisphere, which makes it severe weather season in that part of the world.

The United States is king of the world,  I think, when it comes to extreme summer weather, with tornadoes, hail, flash floods, drought and wildfires.

We've already gotten tastes of the spring severe weather season early this year, as there have been several episode of of tornadic weather in the United States this month, most recently last night around San Antonio, Texas. 

But Australia probably ranks a close second in that worldwide severe weather category, and this summer Down Under has been pretty wild, even by Australian severe weather standards.

The latest blow came this weekend in Sydney, where enormous hailstones fell. Even in places around the Sydney metro area where the hail wasn't enormous - baseball sized at least - there was so much hail that it accumulated to pretty incredible depths.

Especially where rain water washed it into low spots where it collected.  As you might expect, there was widespread damage to cars, buildings and gardens with all that hail. Flash flooding in some spots worsened the problem.
Lots of hail accumulated in Sydney, Australia this weekend.

The storm was accompanied by a huge number of lightning strikes.  There were widespread power failures and train shut downs because of the lightning. Sydney's airport also closed for a time.

The big Sydney storms comes just after record heat sizzled much of Australia last week.

The heat contibuted to numerous bush fires, many of which are still burning, especially in areas not strongly affected by the storms that hit around Sydney.

As always, there's video of the storms.

Here's a video of hail up to the size of baseballs crashing down on a Sydney area yard:

Actually, this is Australia, so they went gaga over the fact the hailstones were "fockin cricket ball sized" (NSFW for language in this video.)

This video includes time lapses of the storm rolling into Sydney and lightning striking many areas. Of course, hail, too.

Today's California Storm Might Be The Most Dangerous Of All Of Them

Flooding in  Maxwell, California over the weekend.
The situation is likely to get worse in
northern California today. 
It seems I've been writing a lot about California rain, storms and flooding this winter, and here I go again.

I can't help it. The storms out there have been way too newsworthy to ignore.

The latest storm is sweeping into the northern half of California today, and this one could well end up being the most cataclysmic of the bunch.

Here's why:

First of all, today's storm is probably the strongest one of the winter. It has the strength of a storm that happens, on average just once every five to ten years. That means up to 10 inches of rain in some hilly sections of California, and several inches in many areas, including around Sacramento and the Bay Area.

Secondly, as we well know, it has already rained a LOT in California this winter. Talk about weather whiplash! From one of the state's worst droughts ever as of last autumn to a winter of flood emergencies.

The northern Sierra Nevada mountains are on a pace that could make this the wettest winter on record.   

The ground is saturated, flooding was ongoing before the storm even hit. This could get bad.

I noticed the wording in the flood warning issued by the National Weather Service office in Sacramento is particularly strong.

The warning covers most of northern California and states: "We may see flooding in locations which haven't been impacted in many years. We are strongly advising all residents in interior Northern California to be prepared for flooding...,..Gather a 'go bag' with important items like medication and hard to replace documents. Do not forget to plan for your pets and animals."

One strange irony of this potential flood emergency is it could make drinking water in shorter supply than the drought did. If too many levees fail in the Sacramento River delta area, water supplies could be seriously disrupted.

In a worst case scenario, there would be massive flooding in Sacramento, and thousands of people would have to flee in a moment's notice. Which would not end well, believe me.

That cataclysmic scenario is very unlikely, but within the realm of possibility

Landslides and mudslides, already a huge problem across California, will get worse today.  I'm sure a lot of roads will be blocked and lots of residents will be stranded. People were advised to stock up on food and supplies in case roads shut down.

The Oroville Dam, whose damaged spillways threatened a flood and forced the evacuation of some 180,000 people, is relatively stable as workers have managed to sharply lower the levels of the reservoir behind the dam.

So far, so good there, but it will be interesting to see how much the reservoir rises again with this new storm. Officials warn other dams in California are alreadys stressed by recent heavy rains and this won't help.

The Don Pedro Dam in the San Joaquin Valley is near capacity and an emergency spillway might have to be opened. If that happens, parts of Modesto could flood, reports KQED.

On top of the flooding rains, high winds will roar through northern California. Trees will easily topple in these winds, especially since the soil is so wet that the trees can be easily uprooted.

This latest storm will largely avoid Southern California, which is good since they're still reeling from Friday's drenching.  At least six people died in the southern California storm over the weekend.

That storm moved on to Texas by this morning, creating a possible tornado around San Antonio late last night that damaged at least 100 homes and caused some injuries, the Weather Channel reports.

The Houston area is getting heavy rain and storms this morning.

The system hitting northern California today will eventually make it out into the middle of the country, and could cause severe storms, heavy rain in some areas, and possibly a blizzard in the northern Plains.

It's too soon to know exactly how that will play out. Stay tuned, as I always say.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

February Is April This Year In Most Of The United States

Flowers bloom already in Falls Church, Va. Saturday.
It's been an incredibly warm February in most of the nation, as record high temperatures keep falling in a landslide.

It's hard to keep track of all the record highs that are being broken, and will continue to be broken over the next several days.

I'll only touch on some of this incredible warmth here because there's so many examples to choose from.

Saturday afternoon, the only part of the nation that was below freezing was the extreme northern tip of Maine, and maybe a few high elevations in the Rocky Mountains.

That's incredible for mid-February, when large sections of the northern half of the nation are typically below freezing all day this time of year.

Record highs Saturday included a springlike 70 degrees in normally blustery Chicago, That's only the fourth time since the late 1800s it has been 70 in Chicago during February.

Other record highs Saturday included 69 in Detroit and Cleveland, and 67 in Milwaukee and Toledo, Ohio. Even way up in the wintry Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it was a record 54 degrees in Marquette Saturday.

It was in the 70s Friday as far north as Rapid City, South Dakota.

Based on forecasts, Yankton, South Dakota, usually not the balmiest place in the world during February, will have had a full seven consecutive days with temperatures in the 60s to around 70 by Wednesday.

Last weekend, there was even greater extremes. It got to as hot as an unprecedented 99 degrees in Oklahoma.

Also last Saturday, Midland and Lubbock, Texas had their all time hottest February day on record. On February 10, Denver reached 80 degrees. That broke the record for the earliest 80 degrees there and was earlier than the previous record by a full month.

So far this year. through February 16  there have been 4,460 daily record highs at weather stations in the United States but only 1,085 record lows. Normally, those two numbers would be more or less even.

Even here in New England, which has had plenty of snow and winter storms this month, it's still mild. Burlington, Vermont got up to 49 degrees Saturday, despite more than a foot of snow on the ground that was refrigerating the air.

Despite it being the seventh snowiest February on record, temperatures for the month will end up well above normal.

Much of northern New England's deep snow cover will dissolve over the course of the next week as more thawing is likely.

As for other areas in the nation, expect plenty more record highs in the upcoming week.  It's going to be in the upper 50s for the next four days in Minneapolis, and in the 70s across a broad swath of the nation from South Dakota to Virginia.

The only other February I can think of that is remotely like this hot one was in 1981, when thousands of record highs were set coast to coast.

I'm sure millions of people are enjoying this warm weather, but there's a downside. I work for a company called Gardener's Supply, which offers gardening equipment for customers across the United States.

I'm getting many reports from customers in manh areas from Texas to New Jersey of flowers, fruit trees and leaves blooming weeks earlier than they normally would.

Inevitably, we'll get a wave of seasonable weather, or even colder than normal weather. Big sections of the country are in for lots of crop damage to fruit trees, not to mention the frustration of homeowers whose gardens will be damaged by this state of affairs.

This variable spring weather seems to have been getting more common -- Record high early season temperatures followed by killing frosts. There was widespread crop and garden damage in 2012 and 2016 across the Midwest, Northeast and South because of this type of weather pattern.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wild Storm Blasts Southern California, Northern Part Of That State Up Next

The 110 Freeway in Los Angeles Friday
Southern California, including the Los Angeles basin and San Diego, got their biggest storm hit of the winter Friday as the most powerful storm in years hit the southern part of the Golden State.

Until now, the northern half of California has seen the major action from this stormy season, though southern California has had plenty of drought-busting rains, too.

The weather focused its fury on Los Angeles and environs Friday, with reports of at least four people killed in storm related incidents. There were plenty of flooded freeways, mudslides and toppled trees from the strong winds that accompanied the storm.

There's some videos at the bottom of this post showing the California storms.

On radar, I watched last night as a powerful squall line passed through southern California, looking for the world like something I'd seen in the Midwest during the springtime tornado season peak.

I'm not aware of any tornadoes touching down in California with this storm, but there was plenty of havoc from the rain and wind.

Two cars plunged into a 10-foot deep sinkhole that abruptly opened up on a road in Studio City. One woman who was in a car that fell into the sinkhole was rescued when firefighters lowered a ladder down to her.

On Interstate 15 in Cajun Pass, water undermined a lane of the highway, causing a fire truck to fall over and plunge down an embankment. Luckily the firefighters who were in the truck were able to jump off before it went, so they're safe.

Several cars got stuck in flooding on the 110 Freeway and the normally incredibly busy freeway had to be shut down.

The southern California storm will gradually taper off today, though flood watches extend all the way into Arizona as the system makes its way inland.

Via Kathy Vara at NBCLA, a large tree
smashed into an apartment building
 in L.A.'s  Westwood.
The next storm will slam northern California starting later tomorrow. Officials are fairly confident the Oroville Dam will hold. There were big evacuations last weekend as spillways threatened to collapse there and unleash a huge flood downstream.

Workers have been able to drop the dam reservoir's level by 42 feet, opening up quite a bit of room for the anticipated deluge.

However, with ground already saturated, the expected five to 10 inches of rain over much of northern California is sure to produce a renewed round of serious flooding and mudslides.

Usually, when California gets a storm, a large portion of the rest of the nation eventually gets clobbered with something.

It looks like energy from the southern California storm will eventually make it into the Gulf of Mexico and weaken.

The storm will probably produce a few severe thunderstorms in Texas and Oklahoma. It could also produce some bad weather along the Gulf Coast and in Florida within a few days.

The northern California storm will eventually spin up another strong storm in the middle of the nation in the middle of next week. It's too soon to offer details on exactly what that one will do.

Now some videos:

Here's a storm-induced massive landslide in the San Bernardino mountains:

Here's a video compilation of some flooding scenes in California from Friday.

Here's a BMW stuck on a flooded California highway. Not sure why he drove into it, and I'm not sure why the bus in the video is plowing through so aggressively, either.:

Here's that fire truck falling off the collapsing freeway:

Friday, February 17, 2017

Wild Storm Video From North Carolina

Tornado damage in Texas Tuesday.
Part of the ingredients that gave New England its  latest snowstorm Wedneday and Thursday produced severe weather in parts of the South.

At least five tornadoes touched down in the Houston, Texas area Tuesday, causing quite a bit of damage.

A few more tornadoes and severe storms struck the Carolinas Wednesday.

Here's a dramatic video of a very severe thunderstorm in coastal North Carolina Wednesday shot by Deborah Corman in her yard. Bet she was afraid her roof would go:

Thoughts On Just Ended Storm And Several Quiet Days Ahead (For Us, Anyway)

Snow is piled high on the back deck of my house
in St. Albans, Vermont. 
I returned from a trip to New York City to Vermont very late Wednesday night and, as expected, was greeted by quite a bit more snow, as we all know.

There was about 8.5 new inches of snow at my place in St. Albans, raising the snow depth to a little over two feet, something I haven't seen in several years.

The town of Lower Waterford, Vermont took the cake for most snow from this last storm, with 20.5 inches. Several places had over 10 inches of snow. 

Burlington, which had been lagging behind normal in snowfall for most of this winter, has now gone ahead of normal, with 59 inches so far this winter against a normal of 54 inches to this date.

February has brought 30.4 inches of snow to Burlington. Even if the Queen City doesn't get so much as one additional snowflake this month, it will still be the seventh snowiest February on record. (The snowiest February was in 2011 with 43.1 inches. I doubt we'll get that much this month but you never know.)

The Queen City will probably slip below normal for this winter's snowfall again over the next week or two as little snow is forecast for at least a week. The storm parade is suspended for now, and we'll have a temporarily quiet weather pattern for awhile here in Vermont.

Which might be a good thing. All this snow was timed deliciously for the President's Week holiday, perhaps the most important and potentially lucrative time of year for Vermonts ski industry.

The ski slopes are thick with wonderful powder, and I'm sure people will be flocking to Vermont, or already have. My  plane from New York to Vermont had plenty of tourists headed for the slopes, and I'm told hotels are booked all over Vermont.

Yeah, we can all be happy about that.

The deep snow cover has stopped just short of being too much of a good thing in Vermont, in  my opinion. I haven't heard of many roof collapses, but had we gotten another big storm or two, that would have been an issue.

(I know if we were to get another big storm, I'd have to shovel my large deck on my house, which would have been a huge chore, but for now, I'm going to let it go and see if does OK.)

The snow is quite deep in some areas, especially in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. As of yesterday, there was 45 inches of snow on the ground in Island Pond. (Bet that snowmobile mecca is happy with that!). Also, there was 43 inches of snow on th ground at Granby and 36 inches in Sutton.

In parts of Maine, the snow this February is something they haven't seen since 1969. Kingfield, Maine had 69 inches of snow on the ground this morning, according to the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

Over the next several days, at least in lower elevations, there will be some thawing  or at least settling of the snow. High temperatures Saturday and Sunday will get to around 40 degrees, and after a cooldown to at or below freezing early next week, more thawing will come in after that.

Of course, winter is not over, and we could face more snowstorms very late this month and into March. We'll have to see how that plays out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

More New England Weather Drama New England Today-Thursday

This is what the National Weather Service in
South Burlington, Vermont thinks snow
totals will end up at with the storm moving 'in today.
Click on the image to make it bigger and easier to see.
A quick post today as I'm on a trip, but as you might have heard, we're in for more weather drama in the North Country.

Today,  Vermont's weather could be particularly interesting. A stong storm in the upper atmosphere is going to come across from New York and through northern New England.

During the day tonight, conditions will be sort of like those humid summer days with scattered strong thunderstorms. Only with snow and cold.


Winter precipitation in New England is usually what we call stratiform. It's usually broad , pretty long-lasting areas of snow or rain or a mix that give us most of our moisture in the cold months.

In the summer, instability is stronger, so you get bands of downpours with thunderstorms that usually don't last long in any one place.

Today, the system coming out of the west is so dynamic that we're going to bet almost summer -like instablity up in Vermont.

That will produce lots of snow squalls. Some will be brief and drop only a dusting or so or snow. Some will be intense, or several might hit the same area over and over. dropping up to four inches of snow in a very short period of time.

A few of these snow squalls might even have thunder. Yep, thundersnowstorms are possible today.  So yeah, summer variety thunderstorms with snow.

It's hard to pin down in advance who will get the most intense snow squalls today, but expect rapid changes in the weather - and rapid changes in road condtions- at any time today.

This strong system will transfer its energy to off the Maine coast to generate another big nor'easter.

The snow will change to a more traditinal winter form this evening and tonight and into Thursday morning. It will come down steadily, and probably fairly heavily at times over the mountains and parts of the North. '


Let's look at the bottom line, then. Who gets what amount of new snow:

As the National Weather Service in South Burlington sees it, the immediate shores of Lake Champlain, and the low elevations of southern Vermont can expect three or four inches.

Areas a bit inland from the lake will get more. Pretty much anybody along and east of Interstate 89 from Burlington to the Canadian border can probably expect a good six inches of snow, or maybe a little more in spots.

Six to eight inches of snow are likely in most valleys across northern and central Vermont, in fact.

Just in time for the Washington Birthday weekend, and after already getting clobbered by snow early this week, the mountains of central and northern Vermont are going to be the big winners with this one.

Those areas can expect at least eight to 12 inches of fresh powder, with locally more in spots. (Watch Jay Peak: This storm is really designed to bury the slopes of that mountain.) The entire Northeast Kingdom of Vermont can expect eight to 12 inches of new snow as well, as they'll be closest to that developing nor'easter.

Very roughtly, everything north and east of Interstate 89 is under a winter storm warning and areas south and west of the Interstate are under a somewhat less dire winter weather advisory.

This is a weird weather system, so expect some predictions to turn out to be off-kilter in some locations.

New Hampshire and Maine are going to get totally nailed by this storm too.

Parts of New Hampshire and Maine that have received up to three feet of snow in the past week can expect 10 to 15 inches more today through Thursday. 

It's gotten so extreme in those areas that there is real concern we're going to get some roof collapses over the next few days in New Hampshire and Maine, especially since the storm now coming in is going to feature snow that's fairly wet and heavy.

Those of you who can get to the mountains this weekend ought to go. It's going to be perfect. The weather will turn quiet and warm, with highs in the 20s Friday and 30s over the weekend (a little cooler than that in the high elevations.)

Low elevations will see some daily thawing Sunday through Tuesday, but it will take quite awhile to get rid of this much snow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Storm Recap, Then The Next Storm Wednesday

Beautiful satellite image of the big nor'easter off the
Maine coast on Monday.
Now that the big New England snowstorm from Sunday and Monday has mostly ended, we can get ready for the next snowstorm Wednesday.  

This next snowstorm will not be as big as the one we just had, but it will still have some pretty decent impacts in New England Wednesday and Thursday, especially the further north and east you go in the region.

I'll get to the details of that in a bit, but first, we'll review the last storm.

First, here in Vermont, the storm behaved pretty much as expected, with just  few tweaks.

You might remember I said there would be a "shadow" where, west of the Green Mountains, there would be lesser snow totals.

That turned out to be true, but the "shadow" was narrower than many thought. Right up against the west side of the Green Mountains in Addison, Chittenden and Franklin counties, there was only seven to 10 inches of new snow.

But get closer to the lake and you were out of the "shadow." In a stripe from south of Burlington to the Canadian border in the immediate Champlain Valley there was an impressive foot of snow, give or take.

At my house in St. Albans, Vermont, I ended the storm with just over 14 inches of new snow.

Burlington has a foot of snow on the ground for the first time since December 14, 2014.

The most snow reported in the region was 19 inches in Standish, New York and 16 inches at Walden and Georgia Center, Vermont.

In Downeast Maine, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the expected blizzard hit, with two feet of snow at least and winds to 55 mph or more.

Lots of trees and power lines fell across eastern Massachusetts, too.


The next in a series of storms is coming across northern New England Wednesday into Thursday.

Storms from the west generally don't have as much moisture, or as much snow as nor'easters, but this is going to be an interesting one nonetheless.

What the Wednesday storm lacks in moisture it makes up for in energy and dynamics. As it crosses New York and into Vermont Wednesday, it looks like it has a good shot at producing gusty snow squalls. Kind of like summer thunderstorms in a way, except snow instead of rain and not all that lightning.  
Forecast map from the National Weather Service
in South Burlington for snow Wednesday and
Thursday. Click on the image to make it bigger
and easier to see. 

There could be brief mixes with rain in the warmer valleys during the afternoon Wednesday, but this will be predominantly snow.

The weather Wednesday could turn out to be quite variable in Vermont. There might be moments with peeks of sun and fairly mild temperatures in the 30s, then an abrupt blinding squall.

Be prepared for quick weather changes out on the roads.

As the storm crosses northern New England, it will transfer its considerable energy and whip up - yes - another nor'easter.

The nor'easter Wednesday night an Thursday will dump most of its snow on New Hampshire and Maine, but will throw back some moisture into Vermont, especially the Northeast Kingdom.

As it stands now, most of Vermont south and west of Interstate 89 between White River Junction and Burlington will get 2 to 4 inches of snow. The northern Champlain Valley, up by St. Albans, and cenral Vermont, places like Montpelier, and Morrisville are up for storm totals of four to six inches.

In Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, a winter storm watch is in effect for six to eight inches of new snow from this new storm Wednesday and Thursday

Forecasts of course, will be tweaked, but what I just described is the general consensus right now.

Central and northern New Hampshire and the southern half of Maine are also under winter storm watches, with up to a foot of new snow forecast there. That's on top of the big storms they've already had, so I don't know where they're going to put all this powder.

After this next storm, we're still anticipating a break from the New England storminess Friday through at least Monday. Things look like they might get active, and warmer next week.