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Cold Miser

Winter 2019/2020 Wrap-Up

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Not much to really say here.  This winter was an abysmal wet mess, best to be forgotten.  

The grades (all items are equally weighted)

Overall Seasonal Snowfall: F
Well under average snow fell. This may have been my worst snowfall ever in any of the places I have lived (Albany, NY area, Lake George area, Bristol, R.I., Washington DC, Arlington, VA, Boston, Ma, Stoughton, MA, Brooklyn, CT) .  I don't think I have ever had a winter season where the snow total was less than half of the average.  Even the 2011/2012 had more snow.  

Snow vs. Rain: D+
Such an ongoing sh.itty set up for my area from January onward, and it seemed to just repeat itself all season.  Cold rain was king. 

Staying power of the pack: F
Pack?

Local winter enjoyment: D-
Limited hikes(w/ snow) hikes or snow, and zero snow shoeing hikes.

Temperature: D

Snow Storm Quality: C-
Only one "memorable" event was the first event of the season, December 1-3.  There were ZERO double digit events.

Overall Grade: F

The Vid took my mind off of the later part of the season, but even a late blooming April event couldn't save what was a complete and utter dead rat of a winter. 
On to the upcoming 2020/2021, Winter of Mask  

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Overall the winter was a big fat F for me. 

I feel like 2015-16 was a lot worse.  I look at all winters from a skiers perspective.  I really don't care for snow if I can't ski. 

We were actually around average for snowfall here, I'm not sure the exact numbers as I generally don't keep track.  Aided by a huge dump in early December the winter was off to a hot start but just like the previous winter it really never took off here.  March was not what it was the winter before and then Covid happened.  I did get a few nice powder days but my last ski day was in late March. 

Lets see what happens with the minimal sun spot activity and reduction of pollution due to Covid this upcoming winter.  Repeat 2018-19 I go north, repeat 2010-2011 I stay here, anything in between I embrace and roll. 

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After a good start in November - AN snow and coldest Novie of 22 here - met winter was a solid and uninspiring D, no significant storms, no sustained cold (2-3 days at most, usually with day-1 max spoiled by cheap high from the evening before) and despite the AN length of continuous snow cover, SDDs and max depth were well below average.  The 3 spring storms, 10.3" in March, 8.5" in April and 3.2" in May, dragged a D/D+ up to a C- as final snow totaled 94% of average.  Until the equinox it was the most meh winter in memory, not memorably awful enough to rank with 15-16 or 05-06 and with little of interest,

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I don’t typically expect any snow in June down at our elevation, so barring some strange occurrence, 142.1” of snow will be the total this season.  That’s -0.34 σ, which puts it literally right on the D+/C- border.

Being in that spot gives one a lot of flexibility to push it in either direction based on other snow parameters, but by the numbers, it looks like there are far fewer stats coming in above average than below.  A notable example would be SDD, which came in at -0.60 σ, so that certainly has one leaning toward the D+.

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I have to relocate to VT.  When 142 inches is sub par i understanding our climo is unfriendly for winter lovers.

Here a solid F.   Snow 35% or normal.  No sustained cold and the pattern sucked all year.  
 

F

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On 6/12/2020 at 6:39 AM, weathafella said:

I have to relocate to VT.  When 142 inches is sub par i understanding our climo is unfriendly for winter lovers.

Here a solid F.   Snow 35% or normal.  No sustained cold and the pattern sucked all year.  
 

F

Grade for the winter 0.00

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The December here keeps me from giving the season an F. Hard to be a total failure when we get like 27” of snow that month plus a white Xmas. 

But still a solid D.  

 

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24 minutes ago, CoastalWx said:

I suppose we had worse, but it sucked. Close to F. Worst since 11-12. 

Jan-Mar was about as bad as it gets. Maybe 1955 matches it.

I'd probably rank it an F if I was where you are since the coast didn't get as much benefit from the December snows. I wanted to rank it an F here, but I couldn't with 27" in December.

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1 hour ago, ORH_wxman said:

Jan-Mar was about as bad as it gets. Maybe 1955 matches it.

I'd probably rank it an F if I was where you are since the coast didn't get as much benefit from the December snows. I wanted to rank it an F here, but I couldn't with 27" in December.

Yeah early month was fun. Probably why it’s not a F. But overall, blech. Pretty darn close to an F.

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4 minutes ago, CoastalWx said:

Yeah early month was fun. Probably why it’s not a F. But overall, blech. Pretty darn close to an F.

Reminiscent of the post-2/4/95 lack of snow. I think we had a total of like 1.5" of snow that year after the storm on 2/4. This year, we had a little more but they were little 1-2" jobs before the 4/19 storm.

Maybe that means December 1995 is en-route. We're going into La Nina too.....

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Just now, ORH_wxman said:

Reminiscent of the post-2/4/95 lack of snow. I think we had a total of like 1.5" of snow that year after the storm on 2/4. This year, we had a little more but they were little 1-2" jobs before the 4/19 storm.

Maybe that means December 1995 is en-route. We're going into La Nina too.....

Even in 15/16 and 18/19....two seasons that managed to pull something out of its arse. I felt like in 18/19 we got a little lucky here at times, as even those advisory deals sort of overachieved around here. I certainly didn’t expect 5.5” in mid November. This year it seemed like nothing went right after mid December.
To be fair, it was about time some bad luck came into play. Last two seasons sort of felt like the 80s.  

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9 minutes ago, PhineasC said:

Looks like Randolph had 207 inches this winter. So it was pretty good.

What you'll learn is that the winter up here has additional metrics besides total snowfall in order to classify it as being good or not.  For example, as you pointed out snowfall was ok but it was punctuated by some thaws that kept the snowpack from building up all that much.  also, there wasn't really any sustained cold that locked stuff in.  Lake and pond ice were pretty sketchy at times.  For me and many other winter recreation enthusiasts, it was a so-so winter.  

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30 minutes ago, PhineasC said:

Looks like Randolph had 207 inches this winter. So it was pretty good.

 

11 minutes ago, mreaves said:

What you'll learn is that the winter up here has additional metrics besides total snowfall in order to classify it as being good or not.  For example, as you pointed out snowfall was ok but it was punctuated by some thaws that kept the snowpack from building up all that much.  also, there wasn't really any sustained cold that locked stuff in.  Lake and pond ice were pretty sketchy at times.  For me and many other winter recreation enthusiasts, it was a so-so winter.  

Yeah the raw snow total was excellent at Randolph this year but the max snow depth was a little on the low side. Here are the max snow depths and total snowfall for each winter at the current site (which is right near Phineas...about 200 feet up the hill and a mile or less away)...I'm actually surprised at how "low" the max depth in 2010-2011 was...that was not a warm winter like this one was and it had an extra 34 inches of snow.

image.png.8b196ca4a17b0c8f647cacbc2c3acafb.png

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That cocorahs observer is up at about 1750'.  And the past 2 winters illustrate what mreaves posted - not just that 60 vs 39 max depth, but some 5150 SDDs in 18-19 vs 2815 this past winter.  Takes some crummy retention to have 10" less snow but 2500 fewer SDDs.

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12 minutes ago, tamarack said:

That cocorahs observer is up at about 1750'.  And the past 2 winters illustrate what mreaves posted - not just that 60 vs 39 max depth, but some 5150 SDDs in 18-19 vs 2815 this past winter.  Takes some crummy retention to have 10" less snow but 2500 fewer SDDs.

Yeah SDD captures the tenor of the season in terms of retention much better than max depth. Max depth is a crude way to look at it but SDD is a more complete picture. 

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2 hours ago, mreaves said:

What you'll learn is that the winter up here has additional metrics besides total snowfall in order to classify it as being good or not.  For example, as you pointed out snowfall was ok but it was punctuated by some thaws that kept the snowpack from building up all that much.  also, there wasn't really any sustained cold that locked stuff in.  Lake and pond ice were pretty sketchy at times.  For me and many other winter recreation enthusiasts, it was a so-so winter.  

That makes sense. I think I will enjoy a multi-week deep freeze as much as the snow to be honest. But 200 inches of snow would be nice too. :) 

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7 minutes ago, PhineasC said:

That makes sense. I think I will enjoy a multi-week deep freeze as much as the snow to be honest. But 200 inches of snow would be nice too. :) 

Make sure you get a thermometer set up there. The local Cocorahs doesn't do temps....I'd be curious to see how low you can go in the elevated valley between those 3k peaks to your north and the Presidentials to your south.

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14 minutes ago, ORH_wxman said:

Make sure you get a thermometer set up there. The local Cocorahs doesn't do temps....I'd be curious to see how low you can go in the elevated valley between those 3k peaks to your north and the Presidentials to your south.

I have one set up. I am looking forward to posting obs. 

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50 minutes ago, PhineasC said:

That makes sense. I think I will enjoy a multi-week deep freeze as much as the snow to be honest. But 200 inches of snow would be nice too. :) 

Given your lower (but still decent) elevation, I'd expect 80-90% of the Randolph observer's total at your place.  Not too shabby.

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13 minutes ago, tamarack said:

Given your lower (but still decent) elevation, I'd expect 80-90% of the Randolph observer's total at your place.  Not too shabby.

Sounds great to me. I have some pictures of the house from winters past and it looks like something from a movie or postcard. So I’m definitely stoked for fall to get here. 

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1 hour ago, tamarack said:

Given your lower (but still decent) elevation, I'd expect 80-90% of the Randolph observer's total at your place.  Not too shabby.

Yeah I’d be surprised if he was below 165-170” if we assume the current cocorahs site’s roughly 185” average is accurate based on 11 years of data (a dubious assumption)....though maybe it depends where on his property...lol. It seems like that plot of land goes from like 1575 feet near the entrance down to below 1375 at the far end toward rt 2. I think the house is around 1500? 

2 hours ago, PhineasC said:

I have one set up. I am looking forward to posting obs. 

Nice. Hopefully you pull a -30 in one of the really big arctic outbreaks we get once every few years. I’d bet there’s some diamond dust fairly frequently in that area. One of my favorite phenomena. 

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On 6/12/2020 at 6:39 AM, weathafella said:

I have to relocate to VT.  When 142 inches is sub par i understanding our climo is unfriendly for winter lovers.

Here a solid F.   Snow 35% or normal.

From around 1975 to 1980 I lived in the Buzzards Bay area.  I was pretty young and didn’t really have much of a clue about weather, but I do remember day after day after day throughout the winter of getting up for school hoping to see at least some white ground… and being disappointed most of the time.  We certainly had snow in the Blizzard of ‘78, but that seemed to be a one-off sort of deal.  I’m sure that area averages even less snow than the Boston area, but my impressions from then and the general discussions I see on here are that SNE climate, especially the closer you get to the coast, is more about the occasional very big storm due to the ocean influence vs. a sustained wintry climate.  Big storms can be neat, but a consistently wintry climate seems far more important for supporting reliable winter recreation, and it’s definitely more appealing to me.  NNE in general is pretty solid in that department because of latitude and generally being away from direct coastal influence, but I’m still amazed by the massive increase in snowfall amounts, number of storms, increased snowpack, etc. that the mountains give on top of that.  It was always obvious to me that the higher elevations of the mountains themselves had significantly more snow than the Champlain Valley, but I had no idea just how much even the mountain valleys had increases in all those elements of winter vs. the broader NNE valleys.

Anyway, the season here was definitely below average on snowfall.  It wasn’t horribly low, but after the previous three solid seasons with an average snowfall >180” as you can see on the updated chart below, it was notable.  Using C as an average, and snowfall being right on that C-/D+ border, it was easy to push it to the D+ with things like SDD, max snow depth, and largest storm being below average.  The length of the accumulating snowfall season was above average because of the May snows, and we had an above average number of storms at 55, but those aspects don’t really appear to be enough to counteract the deficiencies.

Waterburywxsummarytable.jpg

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1 hour ago, J.Spin said:

From around 1975 to 1980 I lived in the Buzzards Bay area.  I was pretty young and didn’t really have much of a clue about weather, but I do remember day after day after day throughout the winter of getting up for school hoping to see at least some white ground… and being disappointed most of the time.  We certainly had snow in the Blizzard of ‘78, but that seemed to be a one-off sort of deal.  I’m sure that area averages even less snow than the Boston area, but my impressions from then and the general discussions I see on here are that SNE climate, especially the closer you get to the coast, is more about the occasional very big storm due to the ocean influence vs. a sustained wintry climate.  Big storms can be neat, but a consistently wintry climate seems far more important for supporting reliable winter recreation, and it’s definitely more appealing to me.  NNE in general is pretty solid in that department because of latitude and generally being away from direct coastal influence, but I’m still amazed by the massive increase in snowfall amounts, number of storms, increased snowpack, etc. that the mountains give on top of that.  It was always obvious to me that the higher elevations of the mountains themselves had significantly more snow than the Champlain Valley, but I had no idea just how much even the mountain valleys had increases in all those elements of winter vs. the broader NNE valleys.

Anyway, the season here was definitely below average on snowfall.  It wasn’t horribly low, but after the previous three solid seasons with an average snowfall >180” as you can see on the updated chart below, it was notable.  Using C as an average, and snowfall being right on that C-/D+ border, it was easy to push it to the D+ with things like SDD, max snow depth, and largest storm being below average.  The length of the accumulating snowfall season was above average because of the May snows, and we had an above average number of storms at 55, but those aspects don’t really appear to be enough to counteract the deficiencies.

Waterburywxsummarytable.jpg

The microclimate extremes didn’t occur to me until I was much older in college. I sort of knew about them in high school in my own area but I still assumed a place like BTV was far superior to the ORH hills for snow until I started driving up there sometimes during winter. There were a number of times they had bare ground or very very thin cover when I left N ORH with 6”+ OTG. That’s when I realized the retention aspect there was pretty weak because I knew they averaged about 10” more per season.

Then I’d drive east into the mountains and the snow would go from almost nothing in Williston or western Richmond to being totally buried within a few miles. It was crazy. I didn’t realize microclimate gradients like that were common there. 

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