Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Earth Was Surprisingly Warm In February, Various Measurements Show

Parts of eastern Europe, northwestern Siberia and
Alaska were especially warm in February, 2017
The Earth's climate change fever continued in February, as the month turned out to be the second hottest February on record for the globe.

It was also the fourth warmest month of any on record, if you look at it in terms of how far above normal the temperatures were.  

January, 2017 was extraordinarily warm, too.

The year is young, but so far it's not going to plan.

This year - 2017 was - and in most quarters is - expected to break a trend of recent super hot years by being slightly cooler than the previous year or years.

The year 2014 was the world's hottest on record. That is until 2015, with beat that record. Whoops! No, 2016 beat the the previous year for warmest on record. That's three years in a row that broke the world's heat record.

Virtually all climate scientists expcct 2017 to be abnormally warm, due to climate change. However, a big El Nino from previous years has ended. El Ninos tend to heat the atmosphere of the Earth, making hot times hotter.

This year began with a weak El Nina, which tends to cool the atmosphere a tiny bit. So 207 was widely expected to cool off a tiny little bit.  Yet, we're still remaining hot.

And now, some experts think a new heat-boosting El Nino might be brewing later this year.

Long-range forecasters caution that the possibility of an El Nino is still very uncertain for later this year. It's particularly hard to predict these things this time of year.

However, if an El Nino does develop, it would give a boost to global temperatures, which would give 2017 a shot at being another record hot year.

Very iffy at this point, but within the realm of possibility.

As I noted the other day, this climate change news comes amid a United States government that is totally hostile to the science.

The United States can't go it alone in battling climate change, obviously, but we need to be part of the effort.

The Earth's climate keeps showing signs of really being off the rails. Time for the United States to once again be the leader in protecting the world's security.

In this case, nuclear missiles aren't the problem. It's the stuff coming out of our car tailpipes.













Bill Mahar said it best in his monologue Friday. The Trump administration is like a person whose car is breaking down and "solves" the problem by putting black tape over the Check Engine light.

Hope You Like Winter, New Englander! It's Hanging On

Back to winter weather driving this morning, as seen here
in St. Albans, Vermont.
Once again, I awoke to some fresh snow outside my house in St. Albans, Vermont this morning, as winter continues to drag on this year into spring.
True, the new snow only amounted to about an inch, not the two and a half feet we got a week ago.

But it's still dispiriting this time of year, when I, and many others, are anxious to get out there and do spring outdoor work.  

That ain't happening any time soon.

Though much of last week's deep snow has settled and partly melted, there's still a lot left. The Arctic cold front that swept through before dawn isn't exactly going to help that melting process along.

Today's high temperatures - in the low 30s - happened just after midnight and it's all downhill from there.

Afternoon temperatures will be in the teens and a strong north wind will bring subzero wind chills. That's way, way colder than normal for late March.

Tonight will be frigid, too, with pretty much everybody going under 10 degrees and some colder spots below zero once again. Brrr!!

I suppose Thursday will feel better with lighter winds, sunshine and temperatures in the upper 20s, but that's still pretty darn cold for late March here in Vermont.

Then on Friday, a warm front will try to make a run at us.
This is one of a few cars that slid off Interstate 89 in
Georgia, Vermont this morning after another Arctic
front blasted through New England.
Good news, right? Warm front? Mild air?

Um, no. Not this time.

The warm front's progress will be blocked by another cold high pressure area over Quebec. So Friday at this point looks like we'll get some snow and sleet, likely changing to a cold rain the valleys.

That will be good for another one to three inches of sloppy snow and ice and slush in much of the North Country.

That high pressure in Quebec will push that weather front back south Saturday but it might make another run at us Monday.

The forecast beyond the weekend is very, very uncertain. Take anything you hear at this point with a grain of salt. However, it does not look like there will be any kind of great, big warmup heading into next week. And more mixed precipitation is possible next week, too.

At least the skiers and riders are getting some late season joy out of this, so not everybody's bumming about our winter in spring, right?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Southeast Freeze Might Be $1 Billion Disaster. Hope You Won't Miss The Peaches

Destroyed, frost bitten peach blooms in South Carolina means
no peach crop this year. Photo by Cindy Kubovic/Aiken Standard
Farmers in the Southeast are reeling from last week's freeze that might have caused up to $1 billion in damage to crops.

We knew ahead of time there would be serious damage and that came to fruition, as there's not a heck of a lot you can do to stop the damage from a widespread freeze.

In South Carolina, 90 percent of the peach crop was wiped out, according to television station WISTV in Columbia, South Carolina.

State officials said they hoped to get federal aid to farmers, as some could face bankruptcy over this without help.

South Carolina is normally the second biggest peach producing state after California. The South Carolina crop is usually worth $90 million, says the Aiken (South Carolina) Standard. 

Wheat, strawberries, blueberries and corn in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and other states were also severely damaged, the Associated Press reportsd.

The freeze was at least as bad as an epic 2007 freeze that caused about $1 billion in crop losses, the AP says. 

This freeze was so damaging because a record warm February caused plants to grow and bloom prematurely across the Southeast.

Then, that nor'easter that dumped three feet of snow on us here in Vermont last week pumped lots of Arctic air into the Southeast, causing record low temperatures.

It got down to 25 degrees all the way down to Gainesville, Florida, which is the coldest on record there for so late in the season. 
Dead, frost-bitten cherry blossoms in Washington DC
this week. Photo by Kevin Ambrose via Washington Post

In Washington DC, the annual cherry blossom bloom is badly damaged.

Blossoms that had opened have turned brown because of the subfreezing temperatures, though many blossoms that had not yet opened probably survived and will bloom normally.

Perhaps half of Washington DC's cherry blossoms might not bloom, so the season is going to be subdued

Another blast of Arctic air is coming down from Canada this week, which could cause a little more damage to cherry blossoms in Washington.

Still, people in Washington are hoping any remaining buds might bloom and hide most of the dead, brown blossoms. Still, the whole thing is depressing. I haven't seen this cherry blossom frost destruction happen in Washington in my lifetime and few other people have, either.

However, unlike the freeze last week, the cold air will not punch down into the southeastern United States, so this won't cause any additional frost damage there.

In the Northeast, the cold will be deep and mid-wintry Wednesday and Thursday, but plants haven't come far enough along to have them get nipped by the freeze.

I'm pretty sure that everybody east of the Mississippi River is SO ready for spring, despite the super mild winter that just ended.

Random Images And Videos Of Really Cool Weather Phenomenon

Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds over Churchchrist, New Zealand.
I often run across images and videos on social media about weather that doesn't exactly fit what I want to tell you about, but are cool nonetheless.

So why not share them anyway?

The first image is of a rather rare cloud formation and one of my favorites: Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds. The photo was taken at an unspecified date over Christchurch, New Zealand.

The clouds, as you can see, look like breaking ocean waves. They are named for Lord Kelvin and Hermann von Helmholtz, who studies the physics of the atmospheric instability that creates the clouds.

The clouds form when two different layers of the atmosphere move at different speeds. The upper layer of air is moving faster than the lower levels of the air when these clouds form. The higher winds in the upper layr will sometimes scoop the top of the cloud layer and form these wave-like clouds.


A gorgeous thunderstorm over Grenada, Spain
Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds are not dangerous, and don't produce severe weather. But they are a sign that the air is very unstable, and aircraft flying through areas with these clouds can get in trouble.

I've never personally witnessed Kelving-Helmholtz clouds, and being a weather geek, seeing the clouds is definitely on my bucket list.

The next photo in this post is not a terribly unusual weather phenomenon, but it's a gorgeous photo of a thunderstorm over Granada, a Spanish city in the foothills of that country's Sierra Nevada mountains.  

The Alhambra Palace, a luxury hotel, is in the foreground. Between that building and those dramatic clouds, it makes for just a gorgeous photo.

A dramatic looking but non-lethal avalanche in Juneau, Alaska recently
r
It was taken by Jose Luis Hens Terron.

The next photo was taken on March 3 in Juneau, Alaska.

Amid cold, blue skies, an avalanche descended from the steep mountains surrounding the city. The avalanche caused no deaths or injuries, and damage was minimal.

Pretty cool image of such a snow slide.

Finally, we have some cool images of severe thunderstorms developing in Nebraska about a week and a half ago.

The satellite feed here is mesmerizing, if you are a weather geek like me.

I'll have more images in future posts, because they're piling up left and right, but here's that Nebraska storm outbreak video:


Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Arrives In New England In Uncertain Fashion. Typical

Snow settling in the March sun last Friday in the woods
near my St. Albans, Vermont house created interesting
light and shadow patterns. Snow will continue to slowly
melt - with a couple frigid interruptions - over the next
few weeks.
Astronomical spring arrived this morning at around 6:30 here in New England, while the temperature at my St. Albans, Vermont house was 8 degrees, and there was still more than a foot of snow on the ground.

The old adage is true: The first day of spring and the first spring day are usually not the same thing here in New England.

On the bright side, just like yesterday, temperatures are getting up to 40 degrees or so this afternoon here in northern Vermont.

 The slow melting process will continue, and the maple sugarers will continue - -today and tomorrow at least - to enjoy a freeze/thaw cycle that they like to keep the sap running.

All this snow will be slowly disappearing over the next couple of weeks, in fits and starts, of course.

Spring is always tentative and uncertain in northern New England, and this year is no exception. The weather pattern that brought us some Arctic cold blasts and snow is changing again, which holds out the prospect that we will get a few spring like days in the coming couple of weeks.

But not always.

Before the weather pattern finishes its transition to a somewhat more spring-like one, another HUGE Arctic blast is heading toward the North Country.

A sharp Arctic front will come through Tuesday night, and the bottom will drop out of the temperatures.

Just as we have twice already this month, daytime highs Wednesday will be near record low levels. Highs just in the teens, when it should be at least in the low 40s this time of year.  Record lows are possible Wednesday night as temperatures bottom out near or below zero.

Cold waves like this don't last long this time of year, and it'll start to warm up Thursday afternoon. It'll still be frigid for this time of year in Vermont, with highs in the 20s, but it will be better.

The warmup will continue so that near seasonable temperatures (low 40s-ish) come in Friday and Saturday.

Beyond that, the weather will see-saw, with colder weather possible around Sunday then maybe warmer weather again a couple days after that. (Long-range forecasts like this are always iffy, especially in the spring.)

The overall weather pattern change starting this week and continuing into April will mean a greater risk of occasional tornadoes and severe weather in the Plains, Midwest and South starting Thursday and Friday.

The pattern change would also seem to increase the chances of storminess at times in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast. As we're heading into April, the chances of the storms being rain and not snow are definitely increasing.

However, even in April, you never know. Stay tuned.

Spring is stuttering, but it's getting here!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Best TV Weather Segment Ever Includes Forecasts Of Farts And Toots

A little kid named Houston crashed a Mississippi television
meteorologist''s segment to forecast "farts and toots."
Residents in and near Jackson, Mississippi were probably startled, and maybe delighted, that their televisied weather forecast included the chance of farts.

Probably delighted because the scary news was delivered by a little boy who crashed an adult meteorologist's on-air weather forecast.

The WBLT-TV forecast presented by meteorologist Patrick Ellis on a recent Saturday began benignly enough.

Ellis said the area was under a threat of light showers, but that dry air over Mississippi would squelch most of the showers.

So, nothing extreme to worry about among Mississippi weather watchers.

That's when a young kid named Houston decided to spice up the ho-hum weather forecast a little bit, says Adweek's TVSpy website. 

Houston burst onto the set during Ellis' segment to warn viewers that "farts and toots" were also in the forecast. It looks like Houston demonstrated the threat of this "dangerous" weather by letting one loose himself.

You can see the delightful video at the bottom of this post.

It turns out that WLBT that local lawyers are sometimes invited onto the news set during the station's 6 p.m. Saturday broadcast. Often, these lawyers bring their kids to see how a local television news cast is run.

Usually, this doesn't cause much excitement. This time it did. "This Saturday was a little different....This Saturday our friend Houston decided he wanted to be on television."

When you watch the clip, it's great to see that Ellis just rolls with the situation until Houston's father abruptly pulls Houston off the air, pre-empting what could have been a really glorious weather forecast.

Here's the clip:

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The New EPA Chief Has No Idea How Science Works

EPA chief Scott Pruitt willfully denies the science on
climate change because he's beholden to the fossil
 fuel industry, in my opinion and that of many others.
We shouldn't be at all surprised by this of course, but there was Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on CNBC's "Squawk Box" last week saying carbon dioxide is not responsible for climate change.

Sigh. 

Pruitt managed to bring most of the same tired climate denying tropes out in one paragraph:

"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to global warming that we see."

Actually, it's extremely easy to measure how much carbon dioxide is in the earth's atmosphere. It's about 405 parts per million, and rising. No matter what Scott Pruitt says.

And pretty much every scientists can tell you that an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase the heating capacity of the atmosphere.

Of course, Pruitt didn't win himself a lot of fans with his comments.

"Anyone who denies over a century's worth of established science and basic facts is unqualified to be the administrator of the EPA. Now more than ever, the Senate needs to stand up to Scott Pruitt and his dangerous views,"  said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, according to CNBC.

Good luck with that, though.

Republicans control the government, and they'll stick to the party line of denying climate change.

Since most people are not scientists, we get the following situation, as outlined in The Atlantic: 

"And yet, few minds are likely to change as a result of this debate. Many Americans will hear Pruitt's comments at the same time they hear the scientific community's response. They will assume that both groups mean well - the their new public servant isn't lying to them - and they will grasp for a false truth somewhere between the two statements. 

These Americas will come to assume there is some debate about climate change, some moderate position between those who say the world is warming and those who say otherwise. 

"These Americans will be intelligent, good-faith, savvy consumers of media - yet they will hve been successfully misled. The moderate position between the truth and a falsehold is still a falsehood."

Vox points out persuasively that the point here isn't "scienceplaining" anyway. The facts of climate change are besides the point with Pruitt's takeover at the EPA.

Vox offers this analogy:

"Imagine you're playing a basketball game. A member of the other team travels. The referee calls the travel, but the opposing player just shrugs and says, 'I don't care.'

He refused to surrender the ball and just keeps going. Then his team starts putting extra players on the court, fouling at will, and pelting your team with refuse. The referee continues to call violations, but the other team simply disregards him. They start appealing to their own referees, friends of theirs in the stands. 'Bob says there was no foul.'"

The basketball game Vox is talking about is climate science and the current political environment.

We all know the reality, the rules, as it were. But the people in authority are ignoring the referee - which is the well established climate science.

As Vox writer David Roberts says:

"Like the basketball team ignoring the referee, they have simplky chosen not to accept the results of climate science. Restating, underscoring, or even strengthening those scientific results won't solve that problem."

"Explaining the basic facts of climate science (again) is utterly futile if the intended audience rejects the authority of climate scientists and scientific institutions. We're eventually going to have to grapple with this crisis of authority."

In other words, it's long become totally besides the point to argue climate science. The argument must be purely political.

It's a matter of mobilizing anyone and everyone who believes the science of climate change is sound (it is!) so that the Powers That Be who are apologists for the fossil fuel industry will be booted out of office. Like Pruitt. Like Tillotson. Like Trump.

It starts at the local level and goes all the way up to the President.

Because things aren't going to get any better with the Trumpsters in charge. Just on Thursday, Trump's Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney said battling climate change is "a waste of your money."

Yeah, right.

I know there will be no major changes in the political makeup in this nation for two years or more. Scientists and activists have an increasing sense of urgency over climate change. Every minute that something is not done is wasted, in that line of thinking.

They're right. The work starts now. It won't be that noticeable at first. It never is.

But we'll get there. We have to.

















  
If someone chooses to simply reject those scientific institutions, procedures, and results, then piling on more facts is beside the point. It’s not about facts any more, it’s about the authority of the institutions.he right’s refusal to accept the authority of climate science is of a piece with its rejection of mainstream media, academia, and government, the shared institutions and norms that bind us together and contain our political disputes.
I have a longer post on that subject in the works (get excited). But for now, it’s enough to simply note that Pruitt’s comments point to something deeper and more corrosive than mere misinformation or misunderstanding. . Until then, more facts and periodic outbursts of outrage are futile.




  
"The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere," NASA and NOAA said in January.
Pruitt previously served as Oklahoma attorney general, where he rose to prominence as a leader in coordinated efforts by Republican attorneys general to challenge President Barack Obama's regulatory agenda. He sued or took part in legal actions against the EPA 14 times.
Democrats and environmentalists opposed Pruitt's nomination to lead the EPA due to his close relationship with fossil fuel companies and his history of casting doubt on climate change. Conservatives and the energy industry have cheered his efforts to push back on what they view as over-regulation under Obama.Pruitt maintained on Thursday it's possible to be pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-environment all at once.
"This idea that if you're pro-environment you're anti-energy is just something we've got to change so that attitude is something we're working on very much," he said.
Asked whether he would seek to roll back the EPA's 2009 determination that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases are a danger to public health, Pruitt suggested he would like to see Congress take up the issue.
"I think all those things need to be addressed as we go forward but not least of which is the response by the legislative branch with respect to the issue," he said.Pruitt also called the Paris Agreement, an international accord aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change, "a bad deal." He said it puts the United States on a different playing field than developing countries like China and India.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Few More Random Thoughts On That Big March Snow

As of dawn today, I was pretty much dug out from  the
27 inches of snow that landed on my St. Albans, Vermont
house this week.
I hope you're not too sore from all that snow shoveling after, as we've noted one of the most intense snowstorms in Vermont, New York and Quebec history. 

Snow continued to pile up along the western slopes of the Green Mountains into Thursday morning, leaving a whopping storm total of 58 inches at the Bolton Valley Ski Area. That's almost five feet!

Other random thoughts:

SUNSHINE:

Although this snow isn't fully going away any time soon, the March sun is our friend, at least if you want to see some of the snow disappear.

It's going to stay cold, with temperatures staying below freezing today. It'll remain colder than normal with temperatures barely above freezing Saturday through Tuesday afternoons before another bitter Arctic blast arrives next Wednesday. (Sigh.)

But the sun is getting stronger this time of year, and you'll see some of the snow banks retreated bit by bit as the sun melts parts of them. Sunny corners where the heat collects will get some melting, too. And the snow will keep settling, so it won't seem so deep.

The sun will melt the snow more effectively than it would have in January, despite the lingering winter chill.

The bottom line: The skiers can keep enjoying their powder for awhile, but we valley dwellers will see a little bit of the snow disappear over the next few days, even if much of it remains.

HOWEVER, MORE SNOW?

Forecasters for now have dropped the idea of a substantial snowfall this weekend in Vermont, but I'm not convinced we're completely in the clear

We definitely won't get another tremendous snow, but southern parts of Vermont, and southern and eastern parts of New England, for that matter, still face the chance of more snow as a nor'easter begins to crank off the coast.

Without going into details, the weather setup is incredibly complicated this weekend - more complicated than the weather leading up to the last big storm.  The best chance of escaping the weekend with absolutely no snow is northern areas.

Southern Vermont still could be in play for a couple more inches by Sunday morning. We'll see.

MONTREAL MESS

The big story from our neighbors in Quebec was the havoc the storm played in Montreal and other towns.

Montreal got close to a foot and a half of snow. One of the worst incidents occured on Highway 13, when 300 cars got stuck overnight in the storm. The people in the cars were cold, for sure, but luckily, none to them were seriously injured.

It turns out two selfish truckers are largely to blame for that mess and might face criminal charges, says the Montreal Gazette.

Two trucks got stuck, and tow trucks arrived to get them out of the way. But the truck drivers refused to cooperate, saying they didn't want to be responsible for the cost of the towing. All those cars got stuck behind them, and the chaos ensued.

There's also lots of recriminations over why the highway wasn't shut down sooner, why police didn't force the truck drivers to get towed, and especially why it took from evening until about 4:30 the next morning to evacuate all those people stranded in cars, reports the Montreal Gazette.

Sounds like a lot of people screwed up with this one.

FLOOD OUTLOOK

With all this snow on the ground, a few people are probably asking: Are we at risk for spring flooding?

The answer is, we're a little bit more at risk than we were a week ago, but I definitely wouldn't panic.

Spring flooding in Vermont usually comes when ice breaks up in rivers, or heavy rain falls on warm days on a melting snow pack.

As in any season, we'll get flooding if we get a sharp warmup with lots of rain. But if there's a nice orderly freeze/thaw cycle, then don't worry.

Some people might remember March, 2011 when we got a snowstorm almost as big as the one we just had this week.

Frequent, damaging flooding occurred that spring, and Lake Champlain rose to record heights, causing lots of destruction on the shoreline.

The difference is, in 2011, there was already a lot of snow on the ground with a high water content in the mountains even before that snowstorm hit.

Then, we had record amounts of rainfall in April and May. Inevitably, we had a lot of flooding.

There's not nearly as much water locked up in mountain snows this March as in 2011. And I sincerely doubt we'll break rainfall records this spring, though I suppose anything is possible.

My advice? Don't worry unless the weather changes in a way that favors high water.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Don't Laugh, But Is Climate Change Helping To Cause All These Epic Snowstorms?

A car in Endwell, New York after this week's
epic snowstorm 
Up here in Vermont, Burlington officially had its second largest snowstorm on record with this one that finally seems to have ended.

The total: 30.4 inches.

Records in Burlington go all the way back to 1885. So here's some interesting facts:

With this latest snowstorm added, four of the top five biggest snowstorms in Burington have occured since 2007. Exactly half of the top 20 snowstorms in Burlington have happened since 2000.

It's not just Burlington.

Binghamton, New York had its two biggest snowstorms on record this year.

Many of remember the blizzard along the East Coast from Washington to Boston in January, 2016. Boston and Maine suffered its worst snow siege in history in the winter of 2015.  Another record-sized snowstorm swept much of the East Coast in 2013.

What's going on?

Believe it or not, it could be climate change.

I know, I know. A lot of people will scoff at this. Climate change is being blamed for everything, it seems. So now something cold, like a blizzard, is part of global warming? Yeah, right.

Well, actually, probably it is right.

Here's the deal. With or without climate change, it can still easily get below freezing in the winter in the northern United States. There have always been big storms like nor'easters and there always will be, with or without climate change.

Most of the epic snowstorms in the Northeast, like the one that just ended, are caused by nor'easters, those big, windy storms that move up along the East Coast.

During nor'easters - and this one was no exception -- the storm pulls warm, moist air off the Atlantic Ocean. The warm, wet air is forced to glide up and over a wedge of cold air on the northern and western flank of the nor'easter. That moisture condenses and falls as a gush of snow into that cold air.

With climate change, the atmosphere overall is warmer, even if there are patches of cold air around due to basic meteorology. (Climate change doesn't end the physics of meteorology, it just shifts it around.

Warmer air can hold more moisture than cooler air.

Now, I'll fire a bunch of "which means" at you. Bear with me.

Remember that warm, moist air I told you about that nor'easters can pull off areas over the Atlantic Ocean? Often nowadays, due to climate change, that warm air over the ocean is hotter than it used to be. Which means it can hold more moisture than it used to.

Which means that warm, wet air that glides over the cold air more often than not wetter than it used to be decades ago. Which means the snow comes down more heavily. Which means chances are the snow with the nor'easter is more impressive than it used to be.

This doesn't always work. Sometimes, there's just not enough cold air with a nor'easter to produce much snow. It rains instead.

It's possible that snowy nor'easters will become more and more rare as the climate warms, but the ones that are snowy would end up being snowier than they used to be.

On top of all this, some scientists think that declining ice cover in the Arctic is changing weather patterns so that winter storms are more likely on the East Coast.

Research is still going on.

But as you dig out from nearly three feet of snow, you just might be experiencing the effects of climate change.

I'll close with this delightful slo-mo video of an Amtrak train showering people on a Dutchess County, New York train platform with snow after this week's big snowstorm.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lingering Snow Falls This Afternoon As We Start Cleanup from Historic, Record-Breaking Snows.

A bit of work to do at this
Trumansburg, New York car dealership
 1:30 PM WEDNESDAY UPDATE

OK, it can stop snowing now.

Snow continues to fall mostly lightly, across especially western Vermont as our storm slowly winds down.

There's not much additional accumulation going on, but it is harassing those of us who are trying to clean up, and it's keeping road conditions from improving as fast as we'd like.

Burlington, Vermont is up to 29.6 inches from this storm, just 0.2 inches from becoming the second biggest snowstorm in the city's history.

Still could do it, as a little light snow continues to fall in the Burlington area as I write this.

I made a mistake in this morning's post. It turned out Plattsburgh, New York DID achieve blizzard conditions in yesterdqy's storm. A blizzard is defined as at least three consecutive hours of visibility of a quarter mile or less in falling and/or blowing snow, with frequent gusts of 35 mph or more during that period.

Turns out Plattsburgh DID have that long a period with blizzard conditions. Ticonderoga, New York also have an official blizzard. Burlington, Vermont did not because winds weren't strong enough.

Other updated snow totals include 41 inches in Lake Placid, New York, 35 inches in Au Sable, New York, 32 inches in Westford, Vermont and 30 inches in several towns in the eastern part of Chittenden County, Vermont.

I'm still sure more updates are coming.  More details on snowfall are in this morning's post. You can scroll down and read it below this update.

Up in Quebec, the snow was deep, too, causing numerous buses and cars to get stuck overnight in the Montreal metro area. A 50 car pileup developed on a highway near Magog, Quebec.

Elsewhere, I should note a freeze warning is up for an ENORMOUS part of the southeastern part of the country, all the way down into northern Florida.

A record warm February caused a record early spring, and now a record cold wave is hitting that neck of the woods. We're still expecting most of this year's peach and pecan crop to be wiped out, along with other foods and veggies.

Temperatures will get into the mid and upper 20s in northern Florida, and thlow 20s, with maybe a few upper teens in Georgia and South Carolina.

The famed cherry blossoms in Washinton DC are absolutely screwed. They were about to bloom and the weather will probably kill a large proportion of them off.

The trees will survive to bloom hopefully next year, anyway.
My husband Jeff snapped this
pic this morning of me starting
the enormous task of shoveling
our driveway out of 26
inches of new snow. 

The blossoms managed to mostly survive cold weather last weekend and a snowstorm yesterday but temperatures might not get above freezing there this afternoon, and temperatures will bottom out at or just below 20 degrees in Washington DC tonight.

Very sad

Back up here in Vermont and the rest of New England, all this snow isn't going anywhere anytime fast. Unlike the snows of February, which rapidly disappeared amid record warmth, it's going to stay wintry for quire awhile.

Computer models disagree on a system for this weekend. Some of the models say a system will come in from the west and bring light snow, maybe a bit of rain in the valleys, and then another nor'easter will blow up off the New England coast.

Some models place that storm too far off the coast to have much of an effect, while other computer models suggest we might get more snow out of it. (But not 30 inches)

Then another sharp wintry cold wave blasts in for the middle and end of next week.

Sigh.

Here's a dramatic video of that snow covered big highway pileup near Magog, Quebec, and below that, you can read this morning's detailed post of this storm if you missed it.




9 AM WEDNESDAY DISCUSSION


My weather watching dogs Tonks (foreground) and
Jackson (in black) struggled with the two feet of new
snow outside my St. Albans, Vermont house this morning. 
It's still snowing in much of Vermont this morning, but nearly as hard as it did yesterday.

With snow still falling, we haven't finished re-writing the record books yet from this big March storm.

Already, though, the National Weather Service office in South Burlington, Vermont reported its largest March snowstorm on record with 25.9 inches. So far.

It was still snowing lightly there at last report. It's also the third largest snowstorm of any month in Burlington.

Looks like 25 inches of new snow outside my house in St. Albans, so far. It's still snowing. I've got a LOT of work to do outside, don't I?

Well, at least if I was itching to go anywhere, the National Weather Service is putting a stop to that. Yes, the blizzard warning has been cancelled, having been downgraded to a winter weather advisory in the Champlain Valley.  A winter storm warning continues in the Northeast Kingdom and in the mountains.

However, the National Weather Service, Vermont State Police and pretty much everybody else is saying that travel is TOTALLY not recommended in the state this morning. Roads are still hopelessly clogged.

As an aside, I noticed up on Montreal, about 300 motorists were stranded overnight on Highway 13 in the West Island. See? Even in urban areas, you can get in trouble with the kind of road conditions we have now.

Plows are working on it, but this amount of snow takes time. Plus, the wind is going to pick up again today, making the blowing and drifting all that much worse. And, as noted, some more snow is coming down.

They're expecting another one to three inches in the part of the Champlain Valley closest to the lake, two to five inches away from the lake, and four to eight inches additional in parts of northern Vermont and the mountains.

As the day wears on, the snow will become more and more confined to the spine of the Green Mountains and the western slopes. I can't wait to hear storm total reports from places like Jay Peak .

IMPORTANT TIPS

Some tips, since we haven't coped with a storm this big since March, 2011:

Take your time shoveling. Your boss, your school or whatever is going to give you some slack today if you show up late or not at all. Plenty of schools and businesses are closed today anyway, so don't panic. Or get somebody else to shovel and plow. There's always somebody looking to pick up an extra buck.

This is IMPORTANT: The first place you should shovel is near any exhaust vents for your house or building.  If you don't, carbon monoxide can back up into your house and kill you. And you do have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, right?
I don't think these vehicles in my driveway are going
anywhere anytime soon

If you want to warm up your car, and I don't know why if it's mired in two feet of snow, don't sit in it unless you are COMPLETLY sure there's a big clearing with no snow anywhere near the exhaust pipe.

Same problem as above here: A snow clogged car tailpipe will kill you with carbon monoxide.

Is there a fire hydrant buried in snow somewhere near your house? Give that priority too, and dig it out pronto. Shovel away a nice clearing away from the hydrant. That way, if there's an emergency, the fire department will be able to find and use the hydrant quickly.

Low on fuel and expecting a fuel delivery? Shovel a nice clear path to the intake valve. Fuel delivery people have to drag heavy hoses to fill the oil tank and it's just impossible if there's two feet of snow in the way.

STORM STATS:

As noted above, Burlington, Vermont had its largest March snowstorm on record with 25.9 inches, beating the record of 25.8 inches on March 6-7, 2011.

There was a blizzard warning up yesterday for parts of the North Country, especially the Champlain Valley. There might have been spots that qualified for a blizzard, but major reporting stations as far as I can tell fell short of a blizzard.

A blizzard is defined as at least three hours of visibility of a quarter mile or less in falling and/or blowing snow and frequest gusts to at least 35 mph.

Plattsburgh, New York came close. There was indeed a three hour period when winds gusted over 35 mph. Two of those hours had visibilities of a quarter of a mile, but in the third hour, visibility "improved" to a half mile.

Burlington did not come close. The city had several hours of visibility of under a quarter mile, but no prolonged periods with wind gusts over 35 mph.

But who cares if you didn't get an official blizzard. This was still a memorable storm, for sure.

Snow totals elsewhere in Vermont included 34 inches in Jay, 26 inches in Hyde Park and 29 inches in Jericho. Several places statewide are at or at least approaching two feet of new snow. I'm sure we'll get even bigger numbers later today

Elsewhere in the Northeast, Binghamton, New York had its biggest one day snowfall on record with 31.3 inches.

Numerous places in northeast Pennsylvania and areas of New York just across the border from Pennsylvania had 30 or more inches of snow. Same was true for many communities in New York's Hudson Valley.

Wind was the major factor in coastal New England. Winds gusted as high as 79 mph in Wellfleet and 77 mph at Plum Island, both in Massachusetts.

The wind, combined with wet snow and mixed precipitation, caused widespread tree and power line damage. Quite a few houses and cars were trashed by falling trees. A wind turbine toppled over in Rhode Island during the wind, and part of a church roof was blown off in Lowell, Massachusetts.

I'll have more updates later.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Blizzard/Winter Storm Pummeling Vermont And The Rest Of The Northeast.

Just before dark, the road in front of my St. Albans, Vermont
was still a blizzardy horror show. 
7 PM TUESDAY, UPDATE

Well, same old, same old as of 7 p.m. as the snow continues to pile up in Vermont, eastern New York, New Hampshire and other places.

The forecast for the rest of tonight looks to stay totally on track, as least from what I can tell.

The storm's heaviest snow band as of 6:30 had set up over the Adirondacks and eastern New York. This is called a 'deformation zone" which is common in nor'easters.

The deformation zone is an arc of heavy snow that very often sets up on the western periphery of a strong nor'easter.

In much of Vermont, we're getting something called a "dry slot" as of early evening, but in this case the dry slot isn't all that dry.

Dry slots often happen when less wet air gets wrapped into the circulation of a storm.

In this case, though, the "dry slot" still has a fair amount of snow in it. Snow is coming down in at least moderate to at times heavy intensity throughout Vermont.

No matter what, it's going to snow a lot more in the next few hours. We'll have to watch that deformation zone in eastern New York. First of all, it's dumping very heavy snow in the Adirondacks. A couple feet of new snow is already on the ground near Lake Placid.

As the nor'easter itself slowly pulls away toward, well, the northeast, that deformation zone might slowly move back across Vermont, intensifying the snowfall even further in the Green Mountain State.

I'm on the edge of that zone of heavy snow in the northwest corner of Vermont and I can attest it's coming down pretety damn hard outside my window in St. Albans.  In fact, it seems to have picked up a bit in the past half hour.

Earlier today, between 4 and 5 p.m., I had five inches of new snow within that hour. Snow slowed down to the rate of about 1.5 to 2 inches per hour after that, but as I said, it's picked back up.

So has the wind. For the first time today, I'm seeing frequent gusts that I would say are going past 30 mph. Needless to say, the blowing and drifting is getting to be a worse and worse problem.

Several Vermont locations have gusted past 40 mph in the past couple of hours, including 43 mph in Vergennes, 41 mph in South Burlington and 40 mph in Mendon.

I noticed a WPTZ-TV reporter doing a live report in Plattsburgh, New York amid heavy snow and 40 mph wind gusts wearing ski goggles. He totally did the right thing.

I would not be the very least bit surprised if these winds continue to increase this evening. After all, the nor'easter continues to strengthen, and often, the strongest winds often come when the storm reaches the New England Coast, or heads up toward Maine which is what it is doing now and will continue to do in the next few hours.

Snowfall totals continue to impress me more and more.  There are now many reports of over a foot of snow in Vermont, and we're not nearly done yet. Franklin, in northwestern Vermont is was already up to 17 inches as of late afternoon.

At my place in St. Albans, it's hard to measure, but I was up to at least 14 inches as of 6:15 p.m.

Elsewhere, snowfall totals include 23.5 inches in Lake Placid, New York, several reports of 24 to 28 inches in the Hudson Valley of New York,  30 inches in Damascus, Pennsylvania.

There's a lot more I could talk about, but I'll update later.

4:30 PM UPDATE
Cars stuck in the Blizzard of '17 on Fairfield Hill Road
in front of my house, St. Albans, Vermont this afternoon. 

The severe part of the storm certainly hit northwestern Vermont last this afternoon. I went outside briefly a while ago and I would say the sky was projectile vomiting snow.

By that I mean, that outside my window as of 4:30 p.m., snow was coming down at a wild rate of three inches per hour in St. Albans, Vermont.

Visibility is zero, and the wind is definitely blowing the snow around.

I live on a rather heavily traveled road with a steep hill. The cars all got stuck on the hill, including the Vermont state snow plow.

It's a total mess.

That intense snow band, as expected, has pivoted to a southwest to northeast direction, from the southern Adirondacks through western Vermont.

It might continue to pivot back further, and snow might become lighter at times in southeastern Vermont.

It goes without saying that you should remain in your house tonight as the blizzard rages.

Snow totals are still going to range in the 18 to 24 inch range across Vermont and eastern New York with locally higher amounts.

The snow is still expected to turn much lighter after midnight tonight, but continue all day Wednesday, with several more inches of accumulation expected.]

Strong winds will also continue through Wednesday, so we know there will be TONS of blowing and drifting snow.

At last check, I only had snowfal accumulations to 2 p.m. in Vermont. The most I've seen is nine inches in Rutland, but I'm sure a lot of places have gone way past that.

Elsewhere, the center of the storm passed directly over the National Weather Service offices in Upton, New York, which covers New York City. The air pressure bottomed out at 975 millibars, which means what we already knew: This is one intense storm.

Winds have really cranked along the Massachusetts coast, with gusts as high as 70 mph reported.

I'm speechless. And staying in tonight, let me tell ya.

Here's a tweet I put out a little while ago, showing the stuck traffic on my hill in St. Albans, Vermont:

2:36 PM TUESDAY UPDATE


Latest update from the National Weather Service
in South Burlington, Vermont has 18-24
inches total accumulations for all of Vermont,
with locally highter amounts. 
The heart of the storm is here in Vermont and it will continue to intensify through the afternoon and evening.

It's snowing heavily statewide. It's now become nearly certain this will among the Top 20 largest snowstorms on record in Vermont. It could easily be among the Top 10. This is going to be a memorable storm, for sure.

If anything, the snow intensity will pick up more in the next couple of hours. If you haven't done any road trips or errands today yet in Vermont, too late now. Stay home.

In some areas, the wind has picked up. I've seen a few gusts to 30 mph in some parts of northern New York, and across Vermont and New Hampshire.

For the first time today, there was noticeable blowing snow in addition to the heavy falling snow visible out my St. Albans, Vermont window as of 2:30 p.m.

One interesting tidbit came from what's called a Mesoscale Discussion from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma before 2 p.m. today.

(This outfit usually does these analyses of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, but also examines big snow and/or rain storms like this one.)

Anyway, the Storm Prediction Center noted that intense band of snow moving northward through New England, and told us what we already told you: That it was about to overspread the rest of the North Country.

But here's the interesting part: The western part of this band will curve more toward a north-south orientation and stall, which sometimes happens with nor'easters.

This is a particularly intense band, though, so it's going to really snow hard under it. The Storm Prediction Center says it might stall over eastern New York and western New England, which would include a lot of Vermont.

This is not guaranteed, but it might really enhance the depth of the snow in some locations, espeically where they just noted.

A map in the Mesoscale Discussion depicted the band stalling somewhere along a line from west of Albany, New York, through the southern Adirondacks, and into Vermont roughly on a Burlington to Newport line.

These stalled bands are typically dozens of miles wide, so i this comes to fruition, much of Vermont and eastern New York could be in for a very, very snowy evening, and snowfall accumulations could be on the  high side of current predictions.

Heavy snow falling on my driveway at 2:30 pm.
in St. Albans, Vermont. Snow is likely to intensify further. 
The National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont has changed their map of expected total snowfall, bumping up totals again.

They expect everywhere in Vermont to get at least 18 inches of snow. Some places in the higher elevations will get 30 inches, according to the map. Many places are in for two feet of it.

Whereever this band sets up, it'll weaken and move on late tonight, so forecasts of much lighter snow late tonight and Wednesday still look good.

Elsewhere, there's these tidbit updates:

There was actually an avalanche today along steep slopes in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, of all places. Route 92 in the area is closed down.

By the way, there's an avalanche watch in New Hampshire's White Mountains, which will almost surely be upgraded to a warning. Heavy snow and strong winds will create unstable snow accumulations that can turn into avalanches.

Accumulations in New York City's Central Park are so far just 7.2 inches, since the rain/snow line went further west this morning than yesterday's forecasts indicated.

But go just a little inland, and this storm is overproducing, for sure. As of 2:30 p.m., there were  numerous reports of 20 to 24 inches of snow in northeastern Pennsylvania and in New York just north of the Pennsylvania border and near Binghamton.

There were also numerous reports of 10-20 inches of snow in New York's Hudson Valley from Westchester County to the Albany Capitol District, and the storm isn't done there yet, either. There were also many reports of 10 to 15 inches of snow in Connecticut and western Massachusetts.

Along the coast, by mid afternoon, many stations reported gusts between 50 and 60 mph.

All these reports will get bigger by the time we're done, for sure.


1:15 PM TUESDAY UPDATE

The heavy snow band that's been moving north and will be responsible for the bulk of our blizzard has gotten into southern Vermont, southern New Hampshire and the Capitol District of New York.

Pittston, Pennsylvania this
morning. It will look like that
in Vermont soon enough 
It's moving steadily north, and, as expected, will envelop the rest of the North Country in the next few hours.

As is typical ahead of a nor'easter heavy snow band, there's a narrower band of relatively light snow that is moving north through northern Vermont.

 It went down to light snow in the past couple of hours in Burlington and St. Albans, Vermont, but it was picking back up as of 1 p.m.

In both Burlington and St. Albans, the intensity of the snowfall when from light to moderate between noon and 1 p.m. It'll get heavy soon.

Winds are starting to pick up, too. During the heaviest snow, I wonder if the wind will be super strong. I've seen cases where heavy snow somewhat squelches the strongest winds. It might wait until evening to really pick up.

Then again, the nor'easter is really getting stronger and more intense really fast, which means its wind field is intensifying and expanding as well.

As of 1 p.m., places like Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts were reporting very heavy snow with gusts to around 40 mph or a little more.

Because the storm is just starting in Vermont, snowfall totals as of 1 p.m. are less than impressive. The most I've seen so far are six inches in Ludlow and 4 inches in Pittsford. These reports will increase super fast this afternoon.

The forecast for the rest of the day and the evening is totally on track. Look for storm totals of betwee 18 and 28 inches in most of Vermont. I'd say all but three to five inches of that will come down in most places by midnight.

There might be some storm totals of three feet in some of the high elevations of southern Vermont, and along some spots along the spine of the Green Mountains.


11:15 AM TUESDAY:

The snow here in Vermont continues to pick up in intensity and the winds are starting to become a factor, too.

Poor visibility and even worse road conditions along Route 103
in Mount Holly, Vermont in this 10 a.m. webcam image. 
Most of the state is now receiving moderate to heavy snow, but you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Not bad yet, but you feel the north wind blow if you're outside. The real uptick in the winds will come later this afternoon and tonight.

The heart of the blizzard will move in for the afternoon, so stay off those roads!

The latest National Weather Service updates call for snowfall rates of two inches per hour, mainly between roughly 1 p.. today and 10 p.m. tonight. Earliest south, latest north and northeast.

Snowfall accumulations in Vermont are still expected to range between 18 and 26 inches. VERY impressive.

Random thoughts:

As of 11 a.m., several towns in northeastern Pennsylvania were up to 18 or 19 inches of new snow.  At 11 a.m., Newburgh in lower Hudson Valley New York was in full blizzard mode with gusts to 58 mph. Yikes!

Parts of southeastern New Jersey experienced a few inches of snow earlier today, and now heavy rain is causing flooding there.

Loved the traffic cam image I saw on Twitter of a Hartford, Connecticut highway. Visibility was so poor it was basically just a blank gray screen.

The State of  Vermont told most state employees to go home by noon because of the blizzard. Smart move. The University of Vermont told its employees the exact same thing. Oh, and the town of Middlebury, Vermont has extended its property tax payment deadline to Thursday.

It was nice to see Weather Channel meteorologist and winter storm chaser Jim Cantore on MSNBC noting Burlington, Vermont is under its first blizzard warning in ten years.

This is weird: As of 10:45 a.m. there had been several lightning strikes in Manhattan, New York City. Notbing anywhere else so far in terms of thunderstorms with this nor'easter.


10 AM TUESDAY:
Satellite shot of the intensitying nor;easter around 9 a.m. tday.

Random notes: Thundersleet reported near New York City. (Heavy sleet and thunder)
Also, 21 inches of new snow in 8 hours, Binghamton, New York and still snowing.  19 inches in Windham, Pennsylvania.

Winds are picking up along coastal locations. Reports of 50 mph plus along the New Jersey coast. This will increase further, spread inland as the storm intensifies.

Burlington, Vermont as of 10 a.m. was already down to a quarter mile visibility, earlier than many of us thought. The intensity of the snow will vary this morning, and really pick up this afternoon in Vermont.

Road conditions are deteriorating rapidly across all of Vermont and the rest of New England now.

Looks like a cloud to ground lightning strike in Manhattan a little while ago amid sleet, based on this Tweet:




 er freeze. This will kill many of those nascent cherry tree blooms. As Donald Trump would say. Sad!

9:00 AM TUESDAY:

Let's not forget the effects of this storm on the Southeastern United States.

It's pulling down lots of cold air from the north into an area that had an abnormally warm late winter. Trees and plants and crops are blooming, and now they're screwed.

Freeze warnings extend over a huge area from the Tenneseee Valley through the Southeast. I'm still hearing fears that 90 percent of the peach crop is about to be lost because of the cold.  Pecans are screwed too.

In Washington DC, the annual cherry tree bloom, which had been expected to be record early, about a week from now, could easily be lackluster.

They've already had a deep freeze, now snow, and then, the next couple of nights, a deeper freeze. This will kill many of those nascent cherry tree blooms. As Donald Trump would say. Sad!

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION

As expected with any type of giant nor'easter, there were some overnight changes.

Here's something you don't see every day. Areas shaded
in red, including the Champlain Valley, are under a
blizzard warning today. 
In many cases, the weather is even worse than expected.

Here in Vermont, the winter storm warning has been upgraded to a full-fledged blizzard warning for the western half of the state. This is the first time any part of Vermont has been under a blizzard warning since the epic storm of Valentine's Day, 2007.

The latest forecast track of the storm has nudged a little bit westward, even beyond forecasts that were issued 24 hours ago.

This puts Vermont in the sweet spot for some very heavy snow today. Also, the storm's expected track will help channel strong northerly winds down the Champlain Valley today, which prompted the National Weather Service in South Burlington to issue that blizzard warning. 

The rest of Vermont is "merely" under a winter storm warning, but the difference between that and the blizzard warning is basically semantics. In eastern Vermont, the storm might not qualify as an official blizzard (meaning at least three consecutive hours of visibility at or below one quarter of a  mile with frequent wind gusts of 35 mph or more.)

However, the effects will be nearly the same in eastern Vermont as in the Champlain Valley: Very heavy snow today with gusty winds, poor visibility and blowing snow.

The snow was spreading northward across Vermont as of 8 a.m. It might not come down all that hard for the first couple of hours, but then - WHAM!

In just a short period from early this afternoon through evening, much of Vermont will easily get a foot of snow. Or more in some spots. In the blizzard warning zones, winds will gust to 45 mph. Whiteouts are likely.

In the winter storm warning zone of eastern Vermont winds will "only" gust to 35 mph at times. Still, expect whiteouts there.

Travel is TOTALLY not recommended in Vermont this afternoon and evening, or pretty much anywhere else in much of the New England and New York for that matter.  Best just to hunker down inside until the worst is over.

Smart bosses should have already told you to stay home, or at least leave work very early. If you're still home, call in sick. If you're already at work now's the time -this morning -- to suddenly get that "24 hour bug" and get home,  pronto.

Snow totals with the storm are going to be epic in Vermont. Some places in the Champlain Valley near the lake might "only" get 12 to 15 inches of snow, but most of the state can expect 18 to 26 inches.

Though most of the snow will fall between 10 a.m. and midnight today, lighter snow will continue all night an through the day Wednesday to help us reach that deep snow total. It's not out of the question that some higher elevations could end up with 30 inches of snow.

It's not out of the question that Burlington, Vermont could receive 20 inches (or possibly even more) of snow out of this storm.

For comparison's sake, the biggest March snowstorm on record for Burlington was 25.8 inches on March 6-7, 2011. The biggest overall snowstorm on record was 33.1 inches on January 2-3, 2010.

The Valentine's Day blizzard of 2007 dumped 25.7 inches of snow on Burlington.

I'm going to post this now but keep checking back on this post. First I'm going to update what's going on elsewhere in the Northeast, and will live blog this post as we go through the day.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NORTHEAST

Blizzard warnings are also up for New York's St. Lawrence Valley, the Hudson Valley of New York, much of the New York City metro area, northeastern Pennsylvania, parts of New Jersey and big swaths of southern and eastern New England.

The rain snow line had pushed inland to just west of New York City this morning but was showing signs of moving back eastward as I write this, which would put New York back in the snow zone.

Also, coastal flood warnings extend along most of the coast from Delaware north today. Up in Long Island and New England, the best chances of flooding come with this afternoon's high tide. Coastal flooding is less likely with high tide late tonight and tomorrow morning as winds will have shifted to the northwest and air pressures will have started rising.

Areas of Long Island and southern New Jersey are getting enough heavy rain to prompt flood alerts. It's a mess, because they got a burst of heavy snow to clog storm drains, then the heavy rain, then it's going to change back to snow.

With less snow in the media center of New York City than expected yesterday, I fear the media will call this storm another bust, and blame meteorologists for "always getting it wrong.

So far, this storm is NOT a bust. Forecasters have been clear from the start the coastal rain/snow line could set up either west or east of pinpoints. And the expected two feet of snow in many areas is still looking like it will come to fruition.

So far,  as of 8:30 a.m., I give the National Weather Service and most other forecasters an A- grade in forecasting this storm.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday Evening Update: Wow! This Storm Is Really Turning Into Something Big!

One forecast for the storm. Areas in bright red, pink
and very pale blue (northeastern Pennsylvania and
Maine) can expect 10 to 24 inches of snow.
That's an awfully wide area for one storm. 
I normally don't like to be a big hype monster when I do this here blog thingy, but this upcoming storm keeps getting more and more impressive.

I'm pretty sure this will be the Northeast's biggest, worst and most destructive nor'easter for the month of March since the infamous "Storm of the Century" of March 1993.

(There have been storms I consider as bad or worse than this one in other months of the year besides March.)

I'll try to update as briefly and concisely as I can this evening, and then I'll keep at it for the duration. As always, Vermont impacts will be listed beneath the overview.

Blizzard warnings with this storm have been greatly expanded to cover eastern Pennsylvania, much of New Jersey, the New York City area and the mid ad lower Hudson Valley of New York, most of Connecticut and Massachusetts and parts of coastal New Hampshire and southwestern Maine.

That's a pretty impressive area under a blizzard warning. Plus, surrounding areas near the blizzard zone will come damn close to a blizzard.

I won't call this the Storm of the Century or Historic, but it's definitely impressive.

A huge area of the Northeast, from Pennsylvania to Maine, is in for 12 to 24 inches of snow.

There will be one particular burst of snow that will move northward during the day Tuesday which will be especially  impressive. This goes from Pennsylvania to central New England. At times, snowfall rates could easily exceed four inches per hour.

This heavy burst of snow will start the day early in the morning, and move north into central and northern New England by late afternoon. The band might weaken somewhat over northern New England, but even there, two or three inch snowfall rates are certainly possible, which is really damn intense.

Combined with winds, travel during this several hour-long burst will pretty much be impossible.  There's some pretty extreme language being bandies about. The National Weather Service near Philadelphia is telling people to "shelter in place" during the height of the storm Tuesday because it will be too dangerous to be outside.

Snowfall rates will be so high that one Massachusetts forecaster said it will be "puking snow."

In coastal areas, after a serious thumping of snow with several inches per hour, precipitation will probably mix with ice or rain, making things even more difficult.

New York City, for instance, expects very roughly a foot and a half of snow, with an interval of mixed preciptation possibly thrown in.

Boston might get a foot before a changeover to a mix Tuesday.

Winds will be terrible along the coast and a fair amount inland, gusting to 50, 60 maybe even 70 mph.

With areas near the coast expected wet snow and ice, this combination could really lead to some serious power failures.

The storm will obvious cause coastal flooding too, with a storm surge combined with battering waves. I'm thinking some coastal homes structures might be severely damaged from Delaware to Maine.

The bottom line is everything is basically just going to stop in the northeastern United States on Tuesday. No travel, no business, no school, pretty much no nothing.

Any business stupid enough to require their employees to come to work in the hardest hit areas (a very broad area) deserves to go out of business.) If your employer tries to make you go to work tomorrow in the expected worse hit areas just quit your job, because your employer hates you.

Things will improve at least somewhat Wednesday in all areas except northern New England and maybe northeastern New York.

Still, it's going to take awhile to clean up this mess.

VERMONT IMPACTS:

It will be snowing in at least southern Vermont by the time day breaks Tuesday. The snow will spread rapidly northward, getting to Burlington by at least 8 a.m. and the Canadian border by 9 a.m., as it looks now.

A familiar site in Vermont on the day before a big snowstorm:
The sun fades behind a thickening veil of high clouds late
this afternoon over Georgia, Vermont. 
The storm won't look that impressive in the first few hours, but don't let your guard down. The moisture will be moving into dry air now over Vermont, so it will come down lightly at first.

But that band of very heavy snow will work its way north during the day, first hitting southern Vermont in the late morning and reaching the central and northern areas during the afternoon and evening.  

The expected very heavy snow, which will be powdery, combined with increasing winds, will create very low, near zero visibility on the highways.

Plus, Vermont road crews probably won't be able to keep up with the pace of the snowfall. Our highway department people are really very good, but there is only so much they can do. When it's snowing at a rate of one to four inches per hour, you can't keep the roads clear.

So basically, if you can be home by 10 a.m. in southern Vermont and noon in the north, that will be a good thing.

I would not be surprised if most of Vermont gets 5 to 12 inches of snow in just a six hour period Tuesday.

The snow will likely lighten up to light to moderate intensity later Tuesday night and through the day Wednesday, but still continue to gradually pile up.

Worse, the winds will increase to gusts between 30 and 40 mph, so the visibility, the blowing and drifting are going to be miserable through Wednesday.

If you really must drive to work Wednesday morning, expect a really tough time out there.  Conditions won't technically reach the official definition of a blizzard, but it will be close.

Snow will gradually taper off Wednesday night and Thursday, with the last people seeing the snow stop being in the upper elevations in northern Vermont.

The National Weather Service in South Burlington expects pretty much everybody in Vermont to get 12 to 18 inches of snow out this storm, with local amounts up to two feet.

OK, that''s not the biggest snowstorm ever, but it's definitely impressive. Probably the biggest storm of the winter.

On the bright side, the snow will be powdery, which means despite the strong winds, I'm not expecting widespread or super long lasting power failures in the Green Mountain State.

But that's not a big bright side. However, it'll be best just to stay inside in Tuesday and Wednesday. Take a snow vacation, will ya?