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A brief explanation of today's northern Vermont snow



Ski areas across northern Vermont reported several inches of snow today. This is a classic case of upslope flow, and it usually leaves really powdery snow. The kind of fluffy snow that disintegrates as soon as you sneeze at it. Pure blower. Great for a top-dressing, but no good at building a base.

@Flying Yeti writes...


The hi-res is modeling these bands quite well. Saw reports that Stowe and Bolton were at 6" around 4pm. Seems to still be cranking but Smuggs might be the odd spot out north of MRV. 


@Weatherman, was it just a little shortwave combined with lake effect moisture and the terrain? These are the events I want to start being able to see a day ahead of time so I can call out lol

Most of the time the moisture from these events is wrap-around from a departing low, like yesterday's rain storm. The mesoscale models generally handle these post-storm snowfall events well. The trick is high-resolution models can resolve the terrain whereas the global model (GFS, ECMWF, etc) simply lack necessary resolution. Check out the 3km NAM forecast initialized at 12Z yesterday.


The orientation of the lake-effect snow streaks illustrates how the flow is coming out of the northwest. The moisture from the lakes is not tracking toward Vermont. Notice how well the model picks up on the terrain enhancement of the snowfall. And check out the model sounding in the midst of the snowfall. Notice all the low-level moisture that is going to be forced over the mountains.


If you're not savvy on reading the Skew-T diagram above, don't fret. There's a lot going on in it. I could teach a semester weather course and not manage to explain everything on that plot. For those looking for extra credit, UCAR offers a several hour crash course that assumes you already have a meteorology background.


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