Wild Vermont Winter Continues: Ice Storm Next

The early start to winter has held, and it has been an eventful one in the world of weather and water. A wave of subzero temperatures brought these neat ice formations where a small seep comes to the surface and melts the snow:

Next was a foot of snow, mostly from one storm. We were able to ski out the door, and the snow has been beautiful. Snow can make almost anything pretty, even trash cans.

Of course the snowflakes are each things of beauty as well..

Then there was a dead calm, clear, dry night under the deep snowpack. The temperature plunged, especially in our little cold pocket where our home is. We were amazed to see this (the forecast had been only -8)

The cold hasn’t been good for icicle formation, as there has been little melt. Still, I was able to color a few. This one came out pretty dim.

Not surprisingly, most open water is iced up. The tiny open spot left on this part of the Winooski above the dam is full of pancake ice.

And… a very cold day brought what seemed like at least a minor miracle. A clear sky with nothing but milky haze, and with beautiful glittering snowflakes falling. Apparently when it gets very cold it can snow without clouds. It was incredible, like walking through a cloud of glitter.

Apparently this only happens when it is very cold, which it was!

It’s been very early for such cold conditions, and there’s no way we could get away without at least some ‘attempt’ by the warm air to push north. That is forecast for this weekend. What will happen in any given location is incredibly hard to say, because just a couple of degrees make all the difference. There will be a very strong temperature gradient from north to south, but it’s hard to say exactly where. Right now it appears likely that warm air will indeed force north, and that the heavy cold air entrenched in the area will not readily leave northern Vermont and New York. A storm will ride the warm air north. If the warm air makes it in up high, but can’t get into the valleys, we could experience a heavy ice storm. Sleet is another possibility. The warm air may ‘win’ temporarily which will just result in a cold, heavy rain. It probably won’t melt the snow completely, but it will turn it to an icy mess. Of course, if the warm air doesn’t quite make it this far north, even above the cold air, we’ll get snow. Possibly lots of it.

So… travel conditions could be very bad, especially Saturday night and Sunday. There is still a lot of uncertainty. If you live in northern Vermont or New York, expect to spend some time indoors. If you live in southern New England you may be seeing record warmth. Be safe, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

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