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klw

NNE Spring 2013 Thread

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yay... lets add stem-snapping wind to last nights cold damage, and add a frost advisory for tonight!!!

 

**** this month. 

Wednesday's tornadoes will blow all of the frost damage away.

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I headed up to Mt. Mansfield for a ski tour this morning due to all the new snow, so here are some weather-related observations and photographs from the area today.  We lost power last night at our house from about 8:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M., so we headed off to bed early and I didn’t stay up to see if any flakes mixed in down at our elevation (495’).  Checking on the memory thermometer, it looks like we did bottom out around 37 F, so some frozen precipitation mixing in was certainly a possibility.  For my 6:00 A.M. CoCoRaHS report this morning I found a temperature of 41.0 F, and another 0.58” of liquid in the rain gauge, bringing this week’s rain total to almost four inches.

 

I headed off to the mountain around 7:30 A.M. or so, and temperatures throughout the mountain valleys in the Waterbury-Stowe area were in the lower 40s F on my drive.  The precipitation was generally light rain until roughly the point where the electronic sign indicates the status of Route 108 through Smuggler’s Notch, and not long after that, the rain became much heavier.  The sign, by the way, read “NOTCH ROAD CLOSED… DUE TO SNOW”.  The temperature remained in the lower 40s F until that final rise above The Matterhorn to Stowe Mountain Resort, where they dropped into the upper 30s F.

 

26MAY13G.jpg

 

I parked at the Midway Lodge (~1,600’), where the temperature was in the mid to upper 30s F, and the precipitation was generally snow, but certainly some rain as well, and the snow that was falling was of course incredibly wet.  It was pretty nasty at that point, with 25 MPH winds and driven wet snow/rain.  The snow wasn’t quite accumulating there, but it was close, and you could see the accumulations just a few hundred feet up the trails.  The weather was nasty enough that I left my lens hood on my camera in its protective orientation, even when it went back in my pack.  I rarely feel the need to do that, and typically flip it back around for storage, but that speaks to just how wet and windy that snow was to make me take that extra step to minimize the amount of precipitation getting on the lens filter.

 

My initial ascent was via Nosedive, since it’s often a good bet for decent snow coverage and preservation in these early and late-season storms.  Also, based on what I saw in the report from AdventureSkier.com last Sunday, it looks like there would be some decent base snow left in case the new snow depths were marginal.  The first traces of snow accumulation on the ascent were at 1,800’, by 2,100’ there was generally complete coverage of the trail, and by ~2,200’ the depth was a couple of inches and it was consistent enough that I switched from hiking to skinning.  Listed below are the snow depths I found on the ascent of Nosedive with respect to elevation:

 

1,600’:  0”

1,800’:  Trace

2,100’:  1”

2,200’:  2”

2,500’:  4”

2,600’:  5”

3,000’:  8”

3,300’:  10” à 12”-15”

 

I stopped my ascent at 3,300’ because I got some beta from a couple of guys coming down Nosedive - they indicated that everything above that elevation in the switchbacks was scoured and really not worth it, and indeed that was obvious on the pitch right above me.  I’m going to call the average snow depth there 10” to be on the conservative side, but there were plenty of areas with 12”-15” of snow, there was just variability due to the effects of wind deposition.  I stuck my measurement pole right in the snow in the center of that landing where I stopped at the bottom switchback, and got 15” of snow depth.  Indeed there was some leftover base snow on Nosedive, and that offered some great turns, but the new snow itself was extremely dense (probably 12-14% H2O or so) and as long as there was enough of it, there was no need for previous base because it kept you off of anything below.  I was actually quite impressed with the quality of some of the powder skiing, but little did I know it wasn’t even going to hold a candle to what was in store over at the Gondola.

 

26MAY13E.jpg

 

I had no time limits, and plenty of energy left in the tank with the shortened ascent, so I skied down to the junction of Nosedive and Cliff Trail, and continued my tour by skinning up Cliff Trail.  Within a few moments of starting my ascent, it was obvious that snow depths were substantially greater on Cliff Trail than they were on Nosedive at equivalent elevations.  I wasn’t sure if it was because I was heading toward the Gondola, or because Cliff Trail offers better protection from the wind, but coverage was deep, wall to wall – unlike what I’d seen on most of Nosedive, there were no signs of whatever lay beneath the snow.  It wasn’t an illusion either; the depth at 3,000’ on Cliff Trail was 11”, vs. the 8” on Nosedive.  The snow just continued to increase as I ascended toward the Gondola, there was 12”+ by the junction with Perry Merrill at 3,400’, and 12” – 15” easily up at the Cliff House.  That’s on the conservative side for what you could find up there, and in general the snow depth was somewhat deceptive because you didn’t sink much into the dense snow.  But right in the middle of Perry Merrill just beyond the Cliff House I measured 22” of new snow.  The usual measurement off the picnic tables was deceptive as well – there was about a half foot of snow on the tables, but you could tell that the snow was much deeper because the seats were just about buried.  I measured in the open space between the tables and got a depth measurement of 18”, so presumably the tops of the tables didn’t accumulate the snow well due to wind, melting, or some other effect.  Here’s the summary of the depths I found on the Gondola side ascending via Cliff Trail:

 

3,000’:  11”

3,400’:  12”+

3,600’:  12”-15” à 18”-22”

 

26MAY13H.jpg

 

26MAY13B.jpg

 

I almost headed back down Cliff Trail since the coverage was so complete, but there were already a couple of tracks on it, and it’s fairly narrow, so I opted to check out Perry Merrill instead.  I was hoping it would live up to the coverage I’d seen on Cliff Trail, and indeed it was just as good, if not even a bit better.  It was dense, wall-to-wall snow, all the way down to 2,500’.  You could do laps up there from 2,500’ to 3,600’ and think it was midwinter.  The snow certainly wasn’t fluffy Vermont Champlain Powder™, it was dense Sierra Cement, but it made for plenty of base and actually skied really well – far better than I’ve experienced in many of these early and late-season events.  You only sunk in a few inches or so, but you didn’t have to worry about hitting anything underneath and you could just let it rip.

 

26MAY13A.jpg

 

I stopped my descent at around 2,300’ as the snow was down to about 4” and was getting wetter.  You could probably go down to around 2,100’ easily if you had your rock skis.  I hiked down the last 700’ back to the Midway Lodge, and the last vestiges of snow disappeared right around 1,800’ just like I’d seen over on Nosedive.  The precipitation was snow down to just a couple hundred feet above the base, and back down at the lodge it was mostly rain with some snow mixed in at times.  There were some really good bursts of snow on my descent, even in the lower elevations.  The temperature had increased a few degrees to ~40 F at the base, but it was midday at that point, so that was still quite impressive.

 

26MAY13F.jpg

 

26MAY13D.jpg

 

26MAY13C.jpg

 

I will add one more observation with regard to the trees, since I think there was some confusion about how leafed out the deciduous trees are.  I’d say from 2,500’ on up, the trees are only about 50% of the way toward full leaves, and above 3,000’ there are many trees that are still without any leaves, so I didn’t observe any trees that had undergone damage due to being weighed down with snow.  This is certainly on the late side for a storm of this size, but they do happen, and those trees at elevation clearly have their foliage timed appropriately with regard to potential snowfall.

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JSpin what a great report, that 18-22 sure blows away the official record that BTV posted. Great stuff

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JSpin what a great report, that 18-22 sure blows away the official record that BTV posted. Great stuff

ginx that mansfield coop is a complete and utter discrace in every event. This event it was only 50% low. They are usually off more. Im not sure who was the brains behind the cup /gauge idea because what purpose does it serve if its always off

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JSpin what a great report, that 18-22 sure blows away the official record that BTV posted. Great stuff

13.2" from the Co-op.

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13.2" from the Co-op.

 

On like 3.30" of liquid.  That's some dense snow ;)

 

Although I didn't experience this one, J.Spin's measurement of 22" of new depth at 3,600ft sounds more like reality based on the total liquid...and from my snow-board measurements during the winter, this wouldn't be the first time the co-op under-reported the snowfall.  But that's just beating a dead horse at this point.  I am surprised though that the snow depth measurements were 4" yesterday and 6" today.  Based on everything I've seen from friends' photos and what colleagues in Mountain Operations have reported, I would've bet the house there's more than 6" on the ground at 3,800ft.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENTSPOTTER REPORTSNATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BURLINGTON VT1021 PM EDT SUN MAY 26 2013THE FOLLOWING ARE UNOFFICIAL OBSERVATIONS TAKEN DURING THE LATE MAYSTORM THAT HAS BEEN AFFECTING OUR REGION. APPRECIATION IS EXTENDED TO HIGHWAYDEPARTMENTS...COOPERATIVE AND COCORAHS OBSERVERS...SKYWARN SPOTTERS AND MEDIAFOR THESE REPORTS. THIS SUMMARY IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON OUR HOME PAGE ATWEATHER.GOV/BURLINGTON********************STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL********************LOCATION          STORM TOTAL     TIME/DATE   COMMENTS                     SNOWFALL           OF                     /INCHES/   MEASUREMENTVERMONT...ADDISON COUNTY...   SOUTH LINCOLN          1.0  1052 PM  5/25  1600 FEET...CALEDONIA COUNTY...   4 N WALDEN             6.0   640 AM  5/26  2250 FEET   4 WSW GROTON           2.8   600 AM  5/26  COCORAHS   3 NNW SHEFFIELD        0.8   730 AM  5/26  COCORAHS   2 SW SUTTON            0.7   641 AM  5/26  1500 FEET   PEACHAM                0.5   940 PM  5/25  1400 FEET   2 E DANVILLE           0.2   600 AM  5/26  COCORAHS   ST JOHNSBURY           0.1   403 PM  5/26  CO-OP OBSERVER   2 NE SUTTON              T   700 AM  5/26  CO-OP OBSERVER...ESSEX COUNTY...   1 ENE AVERILL          0.5   800 AM  5/26  CO-OP OBSERVER   EAST HAVEN             0.2   700 AM  5/26  CO-OP OBSERVER   1 N ISLAND POND          T  1058 AM  5/26  CO-OP OBSERVER...FRANKLIN COUNTY...   RICHFORD               1.0   526 PM  5/25  PUBLIC...LAMOILLE COUNTY...   MOUNT MANSFIELD       13.2   400 PM  5/26  SUMMIT...ORANGE COUNTY...   3 NE TOPSHAM FOUR CO   3.5  1135 PM  5/25  1500 FEET   CORINTH                  T   700 AM  5/26  CO-OP OBSERVER...ORLEANS COUNTY...   5 WSW JAY              4.5   507 PM  5/25  JAY PEAK SUMMIT   N GREENSBORO           4.0   726 AM  5/26  2000 FEET   EAST BROWNINGTON       2.2  1139 PM  5/25  TRAINED SPOTTER   HOLLAND                2.0   535 PM  5/25  PUBLIC   2 NE TROY              2.0   315 PM  5/25  950 FEET   3 ENE BARTON           1.6   700 AM  5/26  COCORAHS   2 NNE GREENSBORO       1.2   700 AM  5/26  COCORAHS   3 SSE EVANSVILLE       1.0   840 PM  5/25  1500 FEET   7 SE MORGAN            0.8   830 AM  5/26  COCORAHS   CRAFTSBURY             0.5  1031 PM  5/25  PUBLIC   MORGAN                 0.5   540 AM  5/26  AROUND 1300 FEET...WASHINGTON COUNTY...   MARSHFIELD             4.0   728 AM  5/26  1600 FEET   4 ENE CABOT            3.8   700 AM  5/26  COCORAHS   CABOT                  2.0   912 PM  5/25  1800 FEET   4 ESE MARSHFIELD       0.3   824 PM  5/25  1600 FEET   2 W WORCESTER          0.1   700 AM  5/26  CO-OP OBSERVER$$
MUCCILLI

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ginx that mansfield coop is a complete and utter discrace in every event. This event it was only 50% low. They are usually off more. Im not sure who was the brains behind the cup /gauge idea because what purpose does it serve if its always off

 

I'm pretty sure that's the standard high-elevation way of measuring though (as in like areas at or above treeline).... I'm pretty sure that's how MWN takes their snowfall measurements, but most folks are convinced it also drastically under-reports snowfall as well.  Whether or not its wind transport or just different measuring, I think the Hermit Lake Shelter receives more snowfall down below tree-line than the summit station.  I personally doubt that more snow falls down lower, but that measuring snow on wind-swept summits will always under-report because there's no real best way to capture it all accurately.

 

My fix for the Mansfield co-op would be to set-up a snowboard down in the trees by the snow depth stake, and just have the engineers measure & clear that once a day.  They have to stop at the stake anyway, why not have a board there for them to clear too?  Compare it to the elevated can/gauge for a few years and try to develop a correlation number, then we can get an idea maybe of what snowfall might have been in past seasons if it had been measured in a more sheltered area on a snow board floating on the existing snowpack.

 

I've been up around the engineers building on Mansfield many, many times and am quite familiar with the set-up... but its so windy up there that its often wind-swept rock and bare ground in the middle of the winter.  Its either bare ground or monster drifts around the building and wind-break stunted trees.  It is not hard to imagine how that precipitation can not capture all the snowfall.  All they would have to do is move the measuring site down to where the stake is...and technically that's usually how its supposed to be done, with all observations taken in the same spot, not 1/4-1/2 mile away from each other.

 

 

Anyway, this is my favorite picture I've seen so far... the 8 foot drift on the Nosedive trail.  From bare ground on Friday, to an 8-foot pile of snow on Sunday.  This one will likely linger for a few days.

 

965323_10152832121235268_1853331152_o.jp

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Loving all the snow pics!!!  Even though I didn't get any accumulation I was really excited to see all snow falling for awhile Sat. night down at my low valley location.  

 

Made it down to 32F last night and with the .01 recorded this morning we ended up 3.33" for the week.

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Loving all the snow pics!!!  Even though I didn't get any accumulation I was really excited to see all snow falling for awhile Sat. night down at my low valley location.  

 

Made it down to 32F last night and with the .01 recorded this morning we ended up 3.33" for the week.

You had precip this morning?

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Good statement by BTV and really valid this time of year with cold water temperatures, debris in the lake (I've known a couple folks who have hit floating logs leading to disabled motor boats).  Also the swimming holes like Huntington Gorge (something like over 20 deaths in the past, including state trooper rescue dive members), Bingham Falls, Moss Glen Falls, Mad River, etc should be quite turbulent.

 

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Frozen dew on the tan pickup this morning (but just wet on the dark blue Outback), then a nearly perfect day for gardening and stovewood, with a nice breeze to blow away the few blackflies that were around. Frost adv for tonight.

May precip now 6.62" with the 0.04" from yest morning.

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Solid frost and low of 29 today, almost certainly the last frost of the season and fairly close to the avg here, May 24. Now comes summer...

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Solid frost and low of 29 today, almost certainly the last frost of the season and fairly close to the avg here, May 24. Now comes summer...

I wouldn't bet on that being your last 32F yet...

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I wouldn't bet on that being your last 32F yet...

I'd estimate a 10% chance of another one. Five of fifteen Junes here have seen frost, but none since 2007. However, this morning made 12 days with low 32 or colder this May, most of any May here, so who knows?

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I'd estimate a 10% chance of another one. Five of fifteen Junes here have seen frost, but none since 2007. However, this morning made 12 days with low 32 or colder this May, most of any May here, so who knows?

I'm just going by the Euro...it's been advertising a nice cool down early next week. 12z gets the 0C 850 line into NNE again so there is cold air lurking to the north.

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34F here this morning and wasn't up early enough to see if it frosted or not...saw MPV hit 32F so certainly they got a frost.

Does anyone know if just touching 32F registers as a freeze by NWS standards or do you need 31F and lower?

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Last nights mins..

 

Can anyone guess why BTV's WFO has the zone breakout that it does?  Haha, I think splitting certain counties (white lines) was a very good idea whenever that occurred.  IIRC, it wasn't all that long ago?
 

May28_min_temp.png

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34F here this morning and wasn't up early enough to see if it frosted or not...saw MPV hit 32F so certainly they got a frost.

Does anyone know if just touching 32F registers as a freeze by NWS standards or do you need 31F and lower?

32F does it.

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It is pretty amazing seeing a snow capped Mansfield on May 28th.

Yeah that snow is tenacious up there. Temp is near 60F up top today but still looks reasonably white.

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32F does it.

 

 

34F here this morning and wasn't up early enough to see if it frosted or not...saw MPV hit 32F so certainly they got a frost.

Does anyone know if just touching 32F registers as a freeze by NWS standards or do you need 31F and lower?

It needs to be a "significant" period of time, and I think most offices use 3 hours.

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It needs to be a "significant" period of time, and I think most offices use 3 hours.

I'm not calling you wrong, but I've never seen that before. I know it's defined in the NOAA glossary that way, but I think the avg first/last freezes for any individual site is just based on mins of 32F or less. CON's avg last freeze is around 5/20 and I would bet it would be earlier if the criteria was for 3 hours or more.

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I'm not calling you wrong, but I've never seen that before. I know it's defined in the NOAA glossary that way, but I think the avg first/last freezes for any individual site is just based on mins of 32F or less. CON's avg last freeze is around 5/20 and I would bet it would be earlier if the criteria was for 3 hours or more.

 

Yeah I know BTV's Freeze Climo page just lists the median last 32F reading of the season at the ASOS and Co-Ops... but maybe they use the "significant" amount of time (say the 3 hours) justify issuing a freeze warning or possibly verifying freeze warnings for their verification stats?  I don't know but I would assume Nittany knows.

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I'm not calling you wrong, but I've never seen that before. I know it's defined in the NOAA glossary that way, but I think the avg first/last freezes for any individual site is just based on mins of 32F or less. CON's avg last freeze is around 5/20 and I would bet it would be earlier if the criteria was for 3 hours or more.

 

I don't know many WFOs that would verify a freeze based off a few sites reaching 32. That may be why the "significant" time comes into play. Generally speaking we would like to see sites reaching at least 30 or colder before calling it a true hard freeze. That in itself kind of implies 32 or colder for a significant amount of time as well.

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I don't know many WFOs that would verify a freeze based off a few sites reaching 32. That may be why the "significant" time comes into play. Generally speaking we would like to see sites reaching at least 30 or colder before calling it a true hard freeze. That in itself kind of implies 32 or colder for a significant amount of time as well.

Well, I guess what I'm wondering is what decides the date of the first and last freeze at any particular climo site? You guys have the full Excel sheet for the first/last ones for each year on the supplemental legacy climo page. A few of those for CON that I checked only hit 32F and it was for only one hour. Some were an in between hour min. For 1979 though it lists May 5 at the last date, but the min was 43 and the next 3 days had mins in the U20s. Then a month later, CON had their latest 32F on record with 32F on 6/26.

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Well, I guess what I'm wondering is what decides the date of the first and last freeze at any particular climo site? You guys have the full Excel sheet for the first/last ones for each year on the supplemental legacy climo page. A few of those for CON that I checked only hit 32F and it was for only one hour. Some were an in between hour min. For 1979 though it lists May 5 at the last date, but the min was 43 and the next 3 days had mins in the U20s. Then a month later, CON had their latest 32F on record with 32F on 6/26.

 

Let's just say our website is poorly maintained. I couldn't tell you the last time somebody went in there and updated that. Sorry to have some misleading information out there, as clearly that last 32 date is 6/26 like you said.

 

I'm not sure exactly how it was determined (prior to my time here clearly), but it's pretty close to just the climatological average last freeze date (plus a few days to provide some extra coverage and to make nice round numbers).

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