Friday, March 31, 2017

Still On For A Messy Snow Storm Today Into Saturday. Some Mix, Too

The snow is finally showing signs of thinning in my
St. Albans, Vermont yard, so of course we are going to
get a new installment of fresh snow.
Usually in the hours before a snowfall, forecasters have a good handle on how much snow is going to  fall. 

I think this time, there will be more surprises than usual. But I'm not sure which way they will go.  We're sure some places are going to get a lot of snow. Some valleys might not. We shall see. It all depends on temperatures.

I guess we have to stick with what forecasters are saying and hope they're close.  The storm slowly moving in today has plenty of moisture to work with, so there's going to be plenty of precipitation of one sort or another.

As it stands now, the target zone for the deepest, heaviest snow is the eastern half of Vermont, most of New Hampshire, part of southwestern Maine, parts of northern Massachusetts and the Adirondacks, where winter storm warnings are up.

There, a good, six to 10 inches or more of heavy, wet snow will likely fall by midday Saturday. I can see why forecasters are pretty confident there's going to be a lot of snow in most of those areas, especially in the higher elevations.

The timing, the temperature and the rate of precipitation falling all favor a lot of snow there, especially tonight.

Far southern New England is in for a drenching, with many areas getting perhaps two inches of rain. Although that might cause some local flooding, the rain isn't all bad. There is still soome lingering drought conditions there, believe it or not, and the rain would help.

Another question is sleet. Some computer models mix in a lot of sleet with this storm, others do not. Again, we'll see.

The trickiest forecast is in the Champlain Valley of New York and Vermont. For sure, there will be some snow there.

But will temperatures warm up enough this afternoon an early evening to produce a cold rain instead of snow in the valley floor? The current thinking is yes, but I still worry about a chilly Friday afternoon snow surprise. We'll see.

We know it will eventually get cold enough tonight so any rain that might be falling will turn to snow. But exactly when? If it's already snowing by early evening, or changes over to snow early tonight, the expected two to five inches on new snow on the Champlain Valley floor might end up closer to six inches or more.

On the other hand, if it somehow stays warmer later into the night, there will be less snow in the Champlain Valley.

Sorry, folks, it's anybody's guess.

We do know, as mentioned yesterday, any snow that falls anywhere in New England will be wet and heavy, so plan on some broken tree limbs and power failures tonight and Saturday, especially where the snow really comes down.

On the bright side, this is the best late season skiing the North Country has had in years. The ski slopes are pretty much guaranteed to get at least six inches of snow on top of some pretty decent bases already there.

Snow and rain will taper off west to east Saturday, but snow showers will linger, mostly in the mountains, into Saturday night. Some sun will break out Sunday to start another attempt of melting snow so we could actually have spring.

However, it looks like we might have another marginal rain/snow type storm around Tuesday. At this point, the valleys of New England look rainier in that storm than the one we're dealing with for the next 24 hours.

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