Friday, March 24, 2017

Cold And Wet, Or Snowy And Slushy For The Next Week

Dark clouds over snow covered Burlington, Vermont just
before it started snowing hard, yet again. Spring isn't here
yet, despite what the calendar says
As I've noted the past few days, we're not in for any glorious spring days here in Vermont and the rest of the North Country, not by a long shot.

We started yesterday with many places below zero in New York and northern New England. We're starting to get to the point where it's hard to get below zero, but there you go. 

It was a whopping 20 below in Saranac Lake, New York Thursday morning, and 11 below at Island Pond, Vermont.

I'm pleased to report that temperatures will not again get anywhere near zero in the near future, but that doesn't mean we're out of winter. Not by a long shot.

A weather front is going to get hung up in a west-to east orientation from the Great Lakes into the Northeast for the next week or so.

It'll waver to the north, then to the south and back again during this time, and it's position will determine whether precipitation is falling at any given time, and if so, what kind.

Weather disturbances will ride roughty west to east along this front, causing bursts of precipitation here and there across Vermont and the rest of New England.

As it stands now, the best chances of precipitation are today and early tonight. Then somewhat of a break Saturday before more precipitation comes in Sunday and Monday, then another wave of ickiness Tuesday and Wednesday.

The trick during all these bouts of precipitation will be figuring out in advance what exactly will come out of the sky.  The first burst that moved into Vermont was snow, and it was coming down at a pretty good clip in the Champlain Valley as of 8:30 a.m. today.

It might go over to rain later today in the warmer valleys, but likely stay snow in the north central and northeastern parts of Vermont, and in the mountains.

Fronts like the nearly stalled boundary coming up for the next week are a classic battleground between seasons. To the south, spring reigns supreme. To the north, a cold high pressure system stalled in Quebec will want to feed cold air south.

We here in Vermont and the rest of northern New England and northern Vermont are caught in the battle zone between the two seasons.

Temperatures will remain right on the cusp between rain and snow, so subtle shifts in where the front is, and how much cold air is feeding in, will determine what type of precipitation will be falling at any given time.

It's really hard to tell in advance

But you can give an overall picture. First of all, snow is more likely in northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire than further south in those states. The best chances of snow would be in the eastern half of Vermont, then into New Hampshire and Maine.

Today, precipitation will start off as snow everywhere, and then probably change to rain south and in much of the Champlain Valley. Expect a dusting to two inches of slush there, and two to four inches of snow far northern Champlain Valley and the eastern half of Vermont by tonight.

Today's precipitation, and the stuff that will fall over the course of the next week, will be determined by the time of day, too.

The spring sun is strengthening so even on cloudy days some of its heat gets through. Which means we'll get into a scenario where often, it will snow some at night, then change to rain during the day, then back to snow the next night.

Depending on exactly where the front is set up at any given time, some areas might stay a cold rain at night, or mix in some sleet and/or freezing rain.

I'll also note - and this is important- that the forecasts on each of the next seven days or so at least - have a BIG bust risk. The forecast has a greater than average chance of being wrong, because the slightest change in temperature could change a lot of rain to a lot of snow, or vice versa.

Still, I don't expect any mega huge accumulations of snow anywhere in the next week, except maybe in the mountains, extreme northeast Vermont and parts of northern New Hamphire and Maine

In any event, expect a dank, damp, slushy mess for the next week, considering all the mixed precipitation, cold rain and existing snow cover that we have.

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