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wxmanmitch

NNE Winter Thread

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Event totals: 3.9” Snow/0.32” L.E.

 

The totals above represent the final values for this event.  With about a third of an inch of liquid equivalent picked up down here at the house, and likely more in the higher elevations, it was actually a pretty nice resurfacing storm, especially on top of other recent rounds of snow.  It certainly felt that way when we were out at Stowe yesterday.

 

Details from the 6:00 A.M. Waterbury observations:

New Snow: 0.2 inches

New Liquid: Trace

Temperature: 5.0 F

Sky:  Mostly Clear

Snow at the stake: 12.0 inches

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ALY with 2 separate references to "snow piling up" regarding the follow up system. 
Seems to be a tricky forecast, could be decent,especially for higher elevations

Tue night into Wednesday...
A second system will be riding on the
heels of the first one with an evolving mid and upper level
trough over the Great Lakes Region into the Northeast
Locations north and east of the
Capital Region, especially across southern VT, and the
Adirondacks may pile up the snow and may need Winter Head lines
with possibly a Winter Storm Watch. For now, we have 1-3" of
snow in the lower elevations. Lows Tue night will generally be
in the mid 20s to mid 30s.
---------------------------------------------------------
The trowal to the system combined with westerly upslope could
pile up the snow across the northern most zones again with
western Adirondacks and southern Greens benefiting from the
orographic enhancement. Additional significant accumulations of
snow are possible.

 

 

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The north to south listing of available 48-hour snowfall totals from the Vermont ski areas are listed below, which should represent approximate storm totals from our most recent event:

 

Jay Peak: 8”

Burke: 3”

Smuggler’s Notch: 4”

Stowe: 3”

Bolton Valley: 5.5”

Mad River Glen: 5”

Sugarbush: 4”

Middlebury: 4”

Pico: 2”

Killington: 2”

Okemo: 0”

Bromley: 2”

Magic Mountain: 2”

Stratton: 0”

Mount Snow: 0”

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We were at Stowe yesterday afternoon so I can pass along a snow update and some pictures.  The snowfall started in the wee hours of the morning and then ramped up later in the day, so there was plenty of fresh snow by the time we got to the mountain in the afternoon.  At least from what I saw at our house, there were various fluctuations in the snow density based on flake size, and on the mountain it seemed to equate to roughly medium weight powder (say something in the 6 to 10% H2O range) overall.  The wind picked up in the afternoon, so there may have been some additional density and distribution effects from that as well, but it was 95% bottomless where we were riding in the Meadows area.  Unless you were specifically choosing a scoured line, you weren’t really having to worry about touching down on the old surface in that area based on the snow density and constant refills.

I was somewhat surprised to see Stowe reporting just a 3-inch total for the past 48 hours, because what we were riding in seemed much more like 4 to 6 inches, and up to a foot in some sheltered spots, but I see Smugg’s with a 4-inch total, so it’s probably just a report on the conservative side.

I was snowboarding yesterday because that’s the group I was assigned with my younger son, but it was a sweet day to be on the board.  A few pictures are below, and the full report is linked above:

06JAN19E.jpg

06JAN19B.jpg

06JAN19A.jpg

06JAN19G.jpg

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Event totals: 0.9” Snow/0.10” L.E.

 

Details from the 6:00 A.M. Waterbury observations:

New Snow: 0.9 inches

New Liquid: 0.10 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 9.0

Snow Density: 11.1% H2O

Temperature: 23.7 F

Sky:  Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 12.0 inches

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20 hours ago, J.Spin said:

 

I was somewhat surprised to see Stowe reporting just a 3-inch total for the past 48 hours, because what we were riding in seemed much more like 4 to 6 inches, and up to a foot in some sheltered spots, but I see Smugg’s with a 4-inch total, so it’s probably just a report on the conservative side.

The snow report is a mess this year with the new systems and procedures in place.  I was out around 1pm and thought it seemed to be about 3-4", maybe 4-5" at the end of the day.  It definitely wasn't more than that though, IMO.  I think it felt a lot deeper because there was quite a bit of the left over 6-8" that fell a few days prior....then there was also some significant wind which makes it tough to judge with that fluffy snow. 

Anyway, I probably would've put it at 4-5" at the ski resort, so 3" would be conservative.  I know you are one of the most aware skiers out there for depths though, probably the same thought process as me...just analyzing data as you ski to come up with a good representation of snowfall.  And when you've done it as much as we have I think we are both probably expert-level at "snow estimating" ha. 

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1 hour ago, powderfreak said:

The snow report is a mess this year with the new systems and procedures in place.  I was out around 1pm and thought it seemed to be about 3-4", maybe 4-5" at the end of the day.  It definitely wasn't more than that though, IMO.  I think it felt a lot deeper because there was quite a bit of the left over 6-8" that fell a few days prior....then there was also some significant wind which makes it tough to judge with that fluffy snow. 

Anyway, I probably would've put it at 4-5" at the ski resort, so 3" would be conservative.  I know you are one of the most aware skiers out there for depths though, probably the same thought process as me...just analyzing data as you ski to come up with a good representation of snowfall.  And when you've done it as much as we have I think we are both probably expert-level at "snow estimating" ha.  

With the wind redepositing the snow, some variation in the snowfall density, and previous snow around as well, it was certainly challenging to get a good estimate.  Also, I was snowboarding, so I didn’t have my measurement ski pole with me to gauge and the feel of the snow is going to be different than when I’m on my skis, so there were some additional factors in my determination.  I think 4-5” by the end of the day would have been a great estimate though.  We certainly were finding up to a foot in areas that hadn’t been touched in a while, and those areas were really nice.

Have you talked about any of the new systems and procedures that the resort is using for snow measurement here in the forum at all (it’s possible I missed the discussion if it happened)?  Obviously no pressure if aspects of it are not meant for public release/disclosure, but as an avid snowfall recorder and Stowe skier I’d certainly be interested in hearing any updates.

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1 hour ago, powderfreak said:

Wow... the 12z GFS jacked up the upslope event again. 

Just buries the northern Greens in northwest flow.  Be interesting to see how this plays out.   Quite the difference between NAM/WRF and GFS so far.  RGEM has been more like the GFS though.

Be an interesting event to see if Alex or J.Spin pulls off more.  Alex has the elevation but J.Spin has the nod in orographic lift, IMO.

dowGuGU.png

Indeed, as you’ve mentioned before, the snowfall at the two sites probably isn’t too dissimilar overall.  I think Alex’s site has another 1,000’ of vertical or something like that, which is quite substantial when it comes to marginal temperature situations.  It’s quite a cold spot as well.  It’s also closer to the coast, so it gets in on those coastal systems that might be a bit east affecting NH/ME a bit more.  Over here at our site we’ve got a little more west longitude to help if a system is passing through New England, but by far the biggest factor here has got to be that 4,000’ wall we know as the Green Mountain Spine and being very close to it.

I almost replied about the upslope in the other thread, but I think I saw a few folks building crosses for some of us in one of the back corners.  I did see even the BTV NWS talking about the significant upslope potential in their recent discussion, so it’s certainly on their radar:

 

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION

National Weather Service Burlington VT

1045 AM EST Tue Jan 8 2019

 

.NEAR TERM /THROUGH WEDNESDAY/...

As of 1039 AM EST Tuesday...

 

Eventually the cold air moves in for Wednesday and as northwest flow becomes established...there will be a noticeable increase in precipitation...especially over the mountains. Situation will need to be monitored as this will be the start of an extended period of upslope snows and we could be looking at headlines for that event.

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13 minutes ago, J.Spin said:

With the wind redepositing the snow, some variation in the snowfall density, and previous snow around as well, it was certainly challenging to get a good estimate.  Also, I was snowboarding, so I didn’t have my measurement ski pole with me to gauge and the feel of the snow is going to be different than when I’m on my skis, so there were some additional factors in my determination.  I think 4-5” by the end of the day would have been a great estimate though.  We certainly were finding up to a foot in areas that hadn’t been touched in a while, and those areas were really nice.

Have you talked about any of the new systems and procedures that the resort is using for snow measurement here in the forum at all (it’s possible I missed the discussion if it happened)?  Obviously no pressure if aspects of it are not meant for public release/disclosure, but as an avid snowfall recorder and Stowe skier I’d certainly be interested in hearing any updates.

I had heard that the vail resorts all get their snow reports from a central contractor somewhere and not from local observations.  Don’t know the validity of this.

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21 minutes ago, Hitman said:

I had heard that the vail resorts all get their snow reports from a central contractor somewhere and not from local observations.  Don’t know the validity of this.

They get them from PF.  That's why they bought Stowe.  They would only do it if he was included!

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33 minutes ago, Hitman said:

I had heard that the vail resorts all get their snow reports from a central contractor somewhere and not from local observations.  Don’t know the validity of this.

It does sound like they could be using some sort of approach like that – I did a quick search and found the article below on the icecoast reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/icecoast/comments/a1hwk9/whats_going_on_at_stowe/

It doesn’t confirm that methodology, but it seems like they’re sort of thinking the same thing in that discussion.  If that’s how the snow reports are generated that’s really thinking outside the box though; it would never have occurred to me in a million years to try to do something like that remotely (which is what I guess you’d have to do if you don’t have on-site personnel).  Maybe you could do something along the lines of using radar-indicated precipitation totals and similar resources.  You could try to model the snowfall, but for a specific site I’d want to have the empirical data for many seasons and refine the model to fit that specific locale to make it as robust as possible.

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4 hours ago, Hitman said:

I had heard that the vail resorts all get their snow reports from a central contractor somewhere and not from local observations.  Don’t know the validity of this.

Nope.  It's still local observations from Ski Patrol and Grooming but the software is where the issues are and a lot of systems don't talk to each other like they should.  It's been a painful transition, I'm more removed from the process now as Mountain Dispatch absorbed those duties.

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Just now, klw said:

The 18 Z 3K NAM would be quite something for me.  If only.

HRRR agrees... a lot of bust potential in C.VT late tonight and tomorrow.  Could be a quick hitting heavy wet snow.

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Event totals: 1.0” Snow/0.10” L.E.

 

We picked up another tenth of an inch of snow today through 4:00 P.M. observations.  I was initially thinking of keeping the warm frontal snows as their own event because of the substantial lull in precipitation today around here, but it really seems like that was just the warm front associated with this elongated system, so I guess it should be part of the larger event.

 

Details from the 4:00 P.M. Waterbury observations:

New Snow: 0.1 inches

New Liquid: Trace

Temperature: 31.5 F

Sky:  Cloudy

Snow at the stake: 12.0 inches

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I was about to send along the BTV NWS advisories map from earlier that had us under a Winter Weather Advisory, but I guess that’s moot now because I just got a text alert that we’re going under a Winter Storm Warning.  It looks like the latest projected accumulations map is still similar to what PF posted, with a large are of 8-12” shown in the Northern Greens along the spine, and some 12-18” shading along the peaks.

08JAN19A.jpg

08JAN19B.jpg

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39 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

Nope.  It's still local observations from Ski Patrol and Grooming but the software is where the issues are and a lot of systems don't talk to each other like they should.  It's been a painful transition, I'm more removed from the process now as Mountain Dispatch absorbed those duties.

Thanks for the update PF – it’s good to know they are using local observations.  I wonder if any resorts have tried any elements of remote reporting yet?  Most resorts have a lot of staff on hand for various duties that could be used for observations, but I guess some sort of remote reporting could be needed in certain situations.

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After our precipitation lull today with just an occasional small flake, some sleet started up about 15 to 30 minutes ago, and now there’s a lot of snow in there as well with some huge flakes.  The precipitation is pretty heavy with an amalgam of pellets, granular flakes, and some huge flakes up to an inch or an inch and a half in diameter.  You can see on the radar the interesting assortment of precipitation types that came in with that impulse of moisture from the south:

08JAN19A.gif

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BTV upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning.

All snow here from what I can tell so far.  Started small flake and now huge aggregates showing it's warm somewhere upstairs...just warm enough to get the flakes to stick together but not enough to melt them apparently.

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Some freezing rain here.  It always makes me question whether to clear the rest of the driveway now or let it have something to fall into.  I am feeling lazy so bed it is.

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Event totals: 1.4” Snow/0.27” L.E.

 

We’ve had a mixture of snow and sleet this evening, with just a light mixture of pellets and snow grains coming down at the 10:00 P.M. observations.

 

Details from the 10:00 P.M. Waterbury observations:

New Snow: 0.4 inches

New Liquid: 0.17 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 2.4

Snow Density: 42.5% H2O

Temperature: 32.9 F

Sky:  Light snow/sleet

Snow at the stake: 12.0 inches

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I didn’t see any obvious changes in the BTV NWS advisories map, but the projected accumulations map has seen an update with a much larger area of 12-18” indicated now along the spine of the Central/Northern Greens.  The point forecast for our site is in the 8-15” range through Thursday night, but it does jump up pretty quickly with elevation around here – point forecasts along the ridgelines are basically 1 to 2 feet, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of that next tier of shading appear in the maps if that holds.

08JAN19C.jpg

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