Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Vermont Evening Update: Snow, Ice Arrived On Schedule; Thursday Looking More Interesting

Webcam image along Interstate 89 in Bolton, Vermont
showed deteriorating conditions at aroud 4:35 p.m today
UPDATE: 7 p.m. The winter weather advisory has been upgraded to an ice storm warning for the southern Adirondacks and the Lake George/Saratoga area of New York.

A greater proportion of the precipitation is proving to be freezing rain in that region than previously expected.

A half to three quarters of an inch of ice is likely in much of the ice storm warning area.

That could well take down quite a few trees ad power lines.

Additionally, the amount of freezing rain over Vermont is probably going to be a little more than originally thought. There could be some power issues and broken branches, espeically in eastern Vermont, though it won't be as bad as in the ice storm warning area.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION: 4:30 p.m Tuesday:

As I begin to write this post at 4 p.m. Tuesday, snow is just beginning outside my window in St. Albans, Vermont after a chilly, cloudy day that featured just some flurries.

The snow and mix that was expected to arrive in Vermont this afternoon is arriving exactly on schedule.

Not on the schedule, though, are changes to a storm forecast for Thursday. More on that in a minute.

The band of snow at the onset of the precipitation isn't all that wide. Things quickly mix with sleet and freezing rain as this area of weather moves north.   If it's snowing where you are when you read this, it won't take all that long for things to go over to sleet and/or freezing rain.

At 4 p.m., there was already mixed precipitation in southern Vermont and poking into the Adirondacks.

The temperature has remained cold across the North Country today, though, so there will probably be quite a long period of sleet and freezing rain in many areas until midnight.  It'll take quite awhile for the cold air to get eroded by southerly winds expected to increase later.

Generally, expect in most of Vermont one to three inches of new snow and sleet, with the most up in the Northeast Kingdom

Ice accumulations would be about a tenth of an inch in most spots once the freezing rain begins in earnest.

However, maps out of the National Weather Service office in South Burlington suggest up to a quarter inch of ice in the southern Adirondacks of New York, some spots in the high elevations of far southern Vermont and maybe parts of the Northeast Kingdom

The precipitation coming in isn't super duper heavy, but it will be more than enough to make the roads a bit scary starting now and lasting through the evening.

A few spots might get enough ice to cause a few isolated power failures but I don't thing that's going to be a widespread issue. Winter weather advisories understandably remain up through late tonight.

Eventually, strong southerly winds will scour out the cold air, mostly after midnight, so all but protected mountain valleys can expect a switch to rain.

Until then, expect it to be messy.

The rain will quickly end Wednesday morning, and some sun will break out. I'm still expected it to get briefly warm and springlike for a short time during the morning and perhaps the first part of the afternoon before a sharp cold front comes in.

The sharp chill down will start earliest in northern New York and the warmth will last longest the further south and east you go.

Expect gusty winds, too. Not the most extreme you ever felt, but winds could easily gust past 40 mph during the day Wednesday, first from the south, then from the west as the cold front comes in. Strongest winds will be in northern New York and possibly the northern Champlain Valley

Then we get to Thursday.


This morning, I mentioned a new coastal storm that would bring accumulating snow to areas near the coast. I hinted that forecasts could shift the snow with this thing more to the north and west.

That is exactly what seems to be happening, at least according to the latest computer models.

This won't be a terribly big storm anywhere in Vermont, but southern and eastern areas could be in for several inches and a little light snow could make it as far north and west as Burlington. Maybe even St. Albans, but don't hold your breath for anything spectacular in the Champlain Valley.

We're still expected a pretty big dump Thursday in points south. Winter storm watches are already up for Thursday from northern New Jersey, through the New York City metro area and on into most of southern New England.

Computer models are disagreeing a lot on this storm, so expect several more adjustments to the forecast. Some take the storm out to sea to miss Vermont entirely, others have it hugging the coast more.

We'll wait and see.

As I noted this morning, beyond Thursday, the weather pattern looks active, so stay tuned.

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