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wxeyeNH

NNE Cold Season Thread 2020-2021

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Awesome shot by a friend in Hyde Park just north of Morrisville.

Strong north winds along the Spine causing kelvin helmholtz clouds.  Wonder if that is from the shear caused by the gap there in the Spine?

E59D95A0-F427-4B93-BD2C-25EFBD7A8FBD.thumb.jpeg.265306f8bdfad84c59ae41efd0d21778.jpeg

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1 hour ago, J.Spin said:

Event totals: 8.4” Snow/0.21” L.E.

 

We’re really cleared out now, so it looks like this will be the last accumulation to report from this system, and the numbers above should be the final totals.

 

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

New Snow: 0.1 inches

New Liquid: 0.01 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 10.0

Snow Density: 10.0% H2O

Temperature: 1.6 F

Sky: Mostly Clear

Snow at the stake: 16.0 inches

Curious how much water you have in your pack right now. I think I remember your pack being around 18” the other day? I usually say that the pack quickly likes to get back to 10:1 so it makes sense how those 8” new quickly compact down. I saw it for myself in December with 34” of 20:1 getting cut in half in 2 days.

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19 minutes ago, borderwx said:

-3 for the ski with the dog at sunrise, pleasant in the woods.

 

lonely benches at the Lake this morning...

 

4216EA76-5279-48FD-B64C-3E701B2B0007.jpeg

Not everywhere on Memphramagog 

 

image.thumb.jpeg.b5af410f2bee236ac939e3840b559f38.jpeg

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59 minutes ago, dendrite said:

Curious how much water you have in your pack right now. I think I remember your pack being around 18” the other day? I usually say that the pack quickly likes to get back to 10:1 so it makes sense how those 8” new quickly compact down. I saw it for myself in December with 34” of 20:1 getting cut in half in 2 days.

The pack here has pancaked quite a bit. Been stuck around 2 feet for a while. It’s pretty dense. 

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9 minutes ago, alex said:

Persistent light snow continues. Cold day, went out skiing but kids couldn't handle it for long

Yeah this wind can stop now. It was roaring all night.

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1 hour ago, dendrite said:

Curious how much water you have in your pack right now. I think I remember your pack being around 18” the other day? I usually say that the pack quickly likes to get back to 10:1 so it makes sense how those 8” new quickly compact down. I saw it for myself in December with 34” of 20:1 getting cut in half in 2 days.

We’ve got a lot of water in the middle.  The existing base was dense, then locally here I got about 2” of slop on 1” water, then some wetter/dense upslope... then some real dry snow the last couple days.

I had 14.5” this morning... top is fluffy, then there’s a very stout thick layer from the high QPF event sitting in the middle (acting like a floor), and then semi-faceted snow under that.

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I stirred quite the conversation with my choice of adjective, ha. To Phins point, it’s probably getting used to periods like this that don’t happen in the mid Atlantic.  Over 40” in a week is unheard of there, but clearly pretty standard in mid winter here.  While I know what to expect up here and the averages, when you actually see it unfold,  I just kind of through the word “epic” out but I get it.  You guys don’t like to oversell what is typical mid winter weather.

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5 minutes ago, bwt3650 said:

I stirred quite the conversation with my choice of adjective, ha. To Phins point, it’s probably getting used to periods like this that don’t happen in the mid Atlantic.  Over 40” in a week is unheard of there, but clearly pretty standard in mid winter here.  While I know what to expect up here and the averages, when you actually see it unfold,  I just kind of through the word “epic” out but I get it.  You guys don’t like to oversell what is typical mid winter weather.

We start to get excited and then channel the inner J.Spin science mind to try to figure out if it's valid to get excited, ha.  

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On 1/22/2021 at 11:28 PM, J.Spin said:

For perspective, at least with respect to just snowfall numbers for the past week, I don’t think we’re really in “epic” territory.  I’d say the week is actually better characterized as “very solid”, or “strong”, or “great”, or something along those lines.  Obviously these terms are highly subjective, but for “epic” (sort of a “once-a-season” type of week), I’d want to see snowfall numbers 1.5X to 2X what we’ve seen this week.  The snowfall numbers below, or even higher totals, could easily be picked up in one solid storm cycle over the course of a couple of days, and then if the rest of the week has solid daily snows, or you happen to get a second big, synoptic storm, you can imagine where the numbers would end up.

 

On 1/23/2021 at 9:11 AM, bwt3650 said:

You would know better what is epic and what is not up here...how about “epic” recovery?  Don’t think we go from zero to hero better than we did this week throughout 2020-2021.

 

16 hours ago, powderfreak said:

I know I've been enjoying it and posting happily, but it also hasn't been "epic".  I'm with J.Spin on that one.  It's just been a good period of winter, which this year feels a bit better.  I mean we are talking about mountains and places that can do 36" of upslope in 36 hours... or the 80" in a week type cycles.  36" in 7 days at my High Road plot is fun but it's not anything overly noteworthy except for when it doesn't snow in years like this.  I mean, that had 106" in 3 weeks back in 2017... like that's an epic or noteworthy period, ha.  But this season has tended to want to spread the love to the lower elevations more too.  The elevation gradient hasn't been as severe as it can be.

 

15 hours ago, alex said:

I agree that this wasn't epic. We get these periods fairly regularly. I mean - they're still awesome periods, but the frequency at which they happen makes them not that epic. I've certainly seen better/longer periods like this several times  in just the few years I've been here. 

 

14 hours ago, PhineasC said:

In fairness to @bwt3650 and myself... we are from the Mid-Atlantic!

This week has been the second greatest snow period of my entire life. The back-to-back HECS in early Feb 2010 haven't been topped quite yet but this was close.

So for us, epic is a lower bar. :) 

Over time expectations and evaluation of the results will adjust. 

 

4 hours ago, powderfreak said:

Yeah totally get it.  This must feel insane, ha.  Just wait till that CoCoRAHS site gets 48" in 5 days or something behind you.  This was a solid period for the mountains but it can get out of hand pretty quickly at other times.  Or like the period we just went through but then throw on another synoptic 10-18"... but alas it looks pretty boring going forward.

I’d been meaning to follow up on my initial “sub-epic” comment for bwt with an example, and it’s nice to see from the discussion that I wasn’t totally out to lunch somehow relative to the perspectives of some of the other NNE mountain veterans in here.  As you can see from my comment above, I was thinking that for the period to more appropriately qualify as “epic”, we’d want to see some snow totals in the 1.5X to 2X range of what we saw this past week, and I wanted to grab an example.  One that jumps to mind was that Feb 18-24 period in 2009, which did have back-to-back synoptic storms along the line of what PF mentioned as a possibility.  I copied one of my forum posts from that period:

 

That brings our total for this event to 18.2 inches, and our total for the back to back storms is 33.4 inches.  As I suspected, some of the mountains have now hit six feet of accumulation from the last six days of snow.  My daily email from Bolton Valley this morning had this to say:

Six Feet of Snow.

“Looking back at the log we keep of snowfall totals for the year I can hardly believe the last six days. It seems as if I am dreaming. We have measured snow of a foot or more on four of the last six days. We have a six day total of six feet. That's taller than most people. That's two yards of snow.”

Here are some of the two-storm totals for local areas on the Green Mountain spine, listed north to south:

Jay Peak:  68”

Smugg’s:  54”

Stowe: 52”

Bolton 72”

 

I was thinking there had to be periods where places like Jay Peak, with their penchant for upslope, have pulled in something in the 80-100” range in roughly a week duration (something roughly 2X what we saw this week), so I was glad when I saw that PF threw in that 80” value in his comment.

Of course, this is all just dealing with the numbers and perspectives of various people – don’t let that get in the way of anyone who personally had a week that was epic for them.  I think the veterans around here just wanted folks to have a sense for the fact that we’re nowhere near the ceiling on how weeks can go around here.  If we get one of those systems that can hit up here where we get the full brunt of a big synoptic snowstorm and it tracks appropriately to drop a huge upslope event on the back side (I see PF mentioned 36” of upslope in 36 hours), that’s when the resorts can quickly get those 40”, 50”, or even 60” storm totals.

Using the detailed snowfall numbers for individual storms on my site, and knowing the fairly consistent correlation of roughly 2 to 1 for snowfall at the local ski resorts of the Northern Greens relative to our site in the valley (which actually works fairly well on both a season-long, and storm-by-storm basis), I can provide estimates for the average frequency of storms of certain thresholds for the resorts of the Northern Greens.  These numbers won’t really work for other parts of the region of course, but they definitely apply for bwt’s location at Jay Peak:

Storm Size (snowfall) vs. Frequency of Occurrence

24”+:  ~3 per season

30”+:  ~2 per season

36”+:  ~1 per season

40”+:  ~1 per season

48”+: ~1 every other season

So, on average for winter storms, the local mountains here should get about 3 two-footers a season, 1 three-footer a season, etc. etc.  Note that this is not going to represent the frequency for mountains in other part of the Northeast of course, and certainly not for any valley locations, so folks hopefully aren’t looking at this and thinking that they’re going to be averaging a 40-incher every season at their house, or even their local ski area if it’s outside the Northern Greens.  But if we’re doing that well in this area from a storm, then it’s probably not going to be an all-out famine at nearby mountain sites.

This past week is a bit tough to compare in terms of the individual storm frequency estimation methodology because the snow was derived from what my records show as four storms.  Here are the various storm totals from our site:

1/16/2021: 12.2”

1/19/2021:  2.9”

1/20/2021:  2.9”

1/21/2021:  8.4”

The first storm in that series (Winter Storm Malcolm) represents the main synoptic one with the dense snow that kicked off this past week, so if you following my usual methodology, that one should be roughly a two-footer for the local resorts.  PF did mention that the mountain-to-valley snowfall ratios haven’t been quite as disparate as usual for this week’s snowfall (one can take that as either “yay” for the valleys or “bummer” for the mountains I guess), but how did my data correlation work with respect to Winter Storm Malcolm?  If one goes back to my storm summary for the VT ski areas for Malcolm on Monday, you’ll see that when it was all said and done, the resorts along the spine had picked up 18-24” from that one.  Yeah, the Northern Greens specifically, were only topping out around 20” in this case, but these things are all going to be ± to some degree of course, and I can certainly live with that.

That’s actually the first 12”+ storm I’ve got in my records for this season, which means (barring some early season elevation bomb that wouldn’t have affected our site) that must be the first roughly two-footer for the Northern Greens this season?  That potentially speaks to the way the season has gone around here thus far, but is it outrageously late for the first two-foot storm?  As I was writing this, I realized that I’ve got some data for that.  The average date for the first 12” storm of the season here at our site (thus an ~24” storm for the local mountains) is January 3rd, with a pretty large S.D. of 34 days.  So, this would be a couple weeks later than average for the first storm of this size in the mountains, but it’s still nothing unheard of.

This past week should definitely get a gold start in terms of mountain snowpack/ski quality recovery efforts though, as bwt proposed.  The zero to hero factor for the week was excellent.

ZeroToHero.jpg

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57 minutes ago, bwt3650 said:

I stirred quite the conversation with my choice of adjective, ha. To Phins point, it’s probably getting used to periods like this that don’t happen in the mid Atlantic.  Over 40” in a week is unheard of there, but clearly pretty standard in mid winter here.  While I know what to expect up here and the averages, when you actually see it unfold,  I just kind of through the word “epic” out but I get it.  You guys don’t like to oversell what is typical mid winter weather.

 

45 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

We start to get excited and then channel the inner J.Spin science mind to try to figure out if it's valid to get excited, ha.  

LOL, don’t worry bwt, “epic” is totally subjective and fine to use whenever you want.  As a skier, let’s just say that’s clearly a good sign if the word is even coming up in the conversation.  Indeed, as PF alluded to, as a scientist, what I like about this forum is that one can dive into the data and actually get a sense for where things really stand vs. just simply relying on hype, poor memory, weenie hyperbole, agenda, opinion, anecdotes, recency bias, etc. etc.  And I love that the meteorologists on here will often pull out real data to shut down misconceptions.

I get it that for many folks, the forum is more focused on the entertainment aspect, and that’s great, but I really like the science/data-driven side a lot.  A great analogy for what the forum is like from my perspective (and I mean the main threads for the most part, the NNE thread is pretty even-keeled), is like listening to Dr. Fauci talk about the COVID-19 pandemic on one hand, vs. listening to Donald Trump talk about the pandemic on the other.  One of those presentations is more for show, publicity, entertainment, popularity, etc., whereas the other deals more with the nuts and bolts.  One (you can probably imagine which one) is rather cringe-worthy from the perspective of someone who has been training and working in science for decades, and the other just clicks and makes sense.  I’m clearly biased in my preference of course (Dr. Fauci was technically my boss during my years at NIAID), so it’s posts of that sort where I put a lot of my efforts.

It is funny to think of us pulling out the data to tell folks how excited they should be, LOL.  Hopefully I’m not overselling the past week with this one:

Bueno.jpg

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11 minutes ago, PhineasC said:

EC22BA64-0943-4ED2-9E8C-B7AD4967EBD1.jpeg.5199651c0fa31512af3f724d03399e52.jpeg

Ahh, it becomes much clearer now why Phin has been so very insistent about having that snowpack in place at the house.  I’d be stressed as well if my main spiritual/emotional outlet during the winter was in jeopardy.  We’re definitely glad he’s got the new spot in NNH.

SnowyClimate.jpg

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27 minutes ago, PhineasC said:

EC22BA64-0943-4ED2-9E8C-B7AD4967EBD1.jpeg.5199651c0fa31512af3f724d03399e52.jpeg

Ha yes!  Perfect.  I just picture walking outside with the dog at 5am and find that dude sitting in my yard.  Your kids going "Daddy, there's someone out there."

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10 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

Ha yes!  Perfect.  I just picture walking outside with the dog at 5am and find that dude sitting in my yard.  Your kids going "Daddy, there's someone out there."

“Don’t worry son, it’s just J. Spin generating bread and butter memes with his mind.”

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4 hours ago, dendrite said:

Curious how much water you have in your pack right now. I think I remember your pack being around 18” the other day? I usually say that the pack quickly likes to get back to 10:1 so it makes sense how those 8” new quickly compact down. I saw it for myself in December with 34” of 20:1 getting cut in half in 2 days.

 

2 hours ago, powderfreak said:

We’ve got a lot of water in the middle.  The existing base was dense, then locally here I got about 2” of slop on 1” water, then some wetter/dense upslope... then some real dry snow the last couple days.

I had 14.5” this morning... top is fluffy, then there’s a very stout thick layer from the high QPF event sitting in the middle (acting like a floor), and then semi-faceted snow under that.

Yeah, the snowpack topped out at ~18” here the other day, and it’s dropped a couple inches to 16” now.  My last snowpack liquid analysis was on the 19th, when then snowpack had just shy of 2 inches of liquid in it.  Based on what we’ve picked up in the past several days, we’re probably in the range of ~2.5” of liquid at this point?

As I mentioned the other day, it looks like the NOHRSC modeling for our site (plot below) had the snowpack SWE a tad high because some of the Winter Storm Malcolm liquid when the temperatures were marginal probably percolated down through the snowpack here, and their modeling didn’t seem to account for that.  They have now done a couple of assimilations of the actual data I’ve sent in (green lines on the plot), and I think they’ve reigned in the disparity a bit.

The NOHRSC plot currently has our average snowpack density here at around 20%.  As PF mentioned, there’s plenty of fluff on top in the form of dry snow from these recent days, so I know we’ll see some settling of that.  But, there’s that very stout middle layer from the dense part of Winter Storm Malcolm that won’t settle much, and then a sugary/faceted layer below that representing the previous snowpack.  I think it’s generally going to be the top portion of the pack settling as we go forward, so we’ll settle some, but it’s not as if the snowpack depth will get cut in half.

24JAN21A.jpg

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42 minutes ago, J.Spin said:

 

LOL, don’t worry bwt, “epic” is totally subjective and fine to use whenever you want.  As a skier, let’s just say that’s clearly a good sign if the word is even coming up in the conversation.  Indeed, as PF alluded to, as a scientist, what I like about this forum is that one can dive into the data and actually get a sense for where things really stand vs. just simply relying on hype, poor memory, weenie hyperbole, agenda, opinion, anecdotes, recency bias, etc. etc.  And I love that the meteorologists on here will often pull out real data to shut down misconceptions.

 

I get it that for many folks, the forum is more focused on the entertainment aspect, and that’s great, but I really like the science/data-driven side a lot.  A great analogy for what the forum is like from my perspective (and I mean the main threads for the most part, the NNE thread is pretty even-keeled), is like listening to Dr. Fauci talk about the COVID-19 pandemic on one hand, vs. listening to Donald Trump talk about the pandemic on the other.  One of those presentations is more for show, publicity, entertainment, popularity, etc., whereas the other deals more with the nuts and bolts.  One (you can probably imagine which one) is rather cringe-worthy from the perspective of someone who has been training and working in science for decades, and the other just clicks and makes sense.  I’m clearly biased in my preference of course (Dr. Fauci was technically my boss during my years at NIAID), so it’s posts of that sort where I put a lot of my efforts.

 

It is funny to think of us pulling out the data to tell folks how excited they should be, LOL.  Hopefully I’m not overselling the past week with this one:

 

Bueno.jpg

The main threads can be a clown show sometimes, but it’s good entertainment. I know you never met most of us before,  but it’s a good group of people in the New England forum, even though Phin hated us and pushed for subforums. 

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Just now, alex said:

Came down to Conway. Nice to see sun after over a week! But speaking of not epic... There is so little snow here for mid winter. Crazy for the MWV. 

I’m pretty sure IZG to LEW is the center of screwjie this year. 

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4 hours ago, dendrite said:

Curious how much water you have in your pack right now. I think I remember your pack being around 18” the other day? I usually say that the pack quickly likes to get back to 10:1 so it makes sense how those 8” new quickly compact down. I saw it for myself in December with 34” of 20:1 getting cut in half in 2 days.

 

2 hours ago, powderfreak said:

We’ve got a lot of water in the middle.  The existing base was dense, then locally here I got about 2” of slop on 1” water, then some wetter/dense upslope... then some real dry snow the last couple days.

I had 14.5” this morning... top is fluffy, then there’s a very stout thick layer from the high QPF event sitting in the middle (acting like a floor), and then semi-faceted snow under that.

Oh, and the NOHRSC output does have a standard panel that tries to get at the snowpack layers (lower plot in the image below), and I think it’s roughly getting at the layers that PF is talking about.  You can see the modeled settling in the very top layer of fluff, and at the very end of the modeling timeline what even looks like some compression in that lowest layer of faceted snow he mentioned:

24JAN21B.jpg

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6 hours ago, powderfreak said:

Yeah totally get it.  This must feel insane, ha.  Just wait till that CoCoRAHS site gets 48" in 5 days or something behind you.  This was a solid period for the mountains but it can get out of hand pretty quickly at other times.  Or like the period we just went through but then throw on another synoptic 10-18"... but alas it looks pretty boring going forward.

 

6 hours ago, PhineasC said:

The models look to queue up some more action starting very end of Jan, beginning of Feb. But it will be a quiet and chilly week for NNE while we sit on our packs.

I hadn’t really checked the weather models much this week aside from a quick look in the short term to see if anything had changed for the bread and butter storms, but I just took a look ahead and I’m seeing some potential snow in our area on Tue/Wed?  If it was just one model I’d guess it was nothing of note, but I just saw it on multiple models.  The GFS seems to be trapping some moisture that hangs around for quite a while after the system passes.  I guess we’ll see what the BTV NWS thinks about it in their afternoon AFD.

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47 minutes ago, CoastalWx said:

The main threads can be a clown show sometimes, but it’s good entertainment. I know you never met most of us before,  but it’s a good group of people in the New England forum, even though Phin hated us and pushed for subforums. 

My revenge scheme is still unfolding. 

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