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.

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