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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Big storm Thursday/Friday is lots of rain with some elevation snow on back end

Winter continues to hold a very tenuous grip on Vermont and across the high country, the snow pack is very close to the seasonal peak. Though the state got a good dousing of rain on Tuesday, temperatures held in the mid 30's and there were a few reports of snowfall above 2500 feet. So yes, the melt and the mud is certainly on, but the melting has been slower the first few April than it was the last few days of February.


I can't speak for what the folks at Mad River Glen plan to do operationally speaking this weekend and we are watching for the impact of a potentially big storm. With that said, I'll discuss the storm and make this the last forecasting blog post of the season and follow this up with the traditional seasonal wrap-up sometime next week.


The storm in question has already deposited snow across the southern Rocky Mountains and much of the front range and high plains as far south as Texas. This giant piece of jet stream energy will churn its way northeast and an influx of gulf moisture and convective fireworks will help the storm continue to intensify as it heads toward the eastern Great Lakes. Unfortunately, the storm is amplifying just a little early than what we would consider preferable and is also tracking north and west of what we would consider preferable. The ideal spot for snowfall will thus be the northern lower peninsula of Michigan and a swatch of southeast Ontario. The storm will reach a peak intensity as it approaches Vermont early Friday but will then occlude and gradually weaken as it slowly moves along the Canadian border toward the Canadian Maritimes by late on Sunday. Vermont is in a position to get another giant swatch of moisture from this weather system, just the wrong kind of moisture. Precipitation will arrive as rain during the morning on Thursday and continue into the early evening falling at an occasionally heavy intensity. The close proximity of the low pressure center late Thursday will likely allow a dry slot end the precipitation later Thursday evening and allow much of Thursday night to be dry. It is possible that the heavy rainfall, 40 degree temperatures and snow-melt will allow for some flooding and I am relatively confident we will hear something to that effect from the National Weather Service in Burlington. Colder air will infiltrate the region by Friday morning but temperatures will be very marginal and less than marginal for a time across the valley locations. Snow showers should begin across the high country during the middle part of the day but this precipitation is likely to be only sprinkles or light rain showers in the valley spots. The snow showers should intensify Friday night and we should see an accumulation above 1500 feet. By Saturday morning, we can expect a few gloppy inches at the base and 4-8 inches above the mid-station. The amounts and snow consistency will be extremely elevation sensitive as they almost are during any big storm occlusion. Close to the summits of the Green Mountains, the snow could be powdery in nature but below 3,000 feet this might be tough to pull off.


Flurries and snow showers will continue through a good part of Saturday followed by clearing Saturday night and lots of April sunshine Sunday. This will mark a big, albeit temporary, turn in the weather. Sunshine will help Sunday's temperatures reach the 50's but the mild weather will explode onto the scene for early next week. Valley locations could see temperatures as high as 70 either Monday or Tuesday (you heard it hear first because my smartphone is not saying that yet !). Enjoy those last few turns and thanks for all the comments good and bad with the prior post. All the contributions are always appreciated.