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Weather Watch: Mountain Snow; a Desert Night

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Posted on April 19, 2012 | Blog Category:
By Charlie Hohn



Snowy Peak

The odd winter weather seems to have carried over into spring.

Last week, persistent wet cold winds pushed into Vermont from the northwest. These winds brought just clouds and drizzle to the valleys, but on the highest peaks a blizzard was raging. As the wet wind was forced upward by the mountains, it dumped several feet of snow in some places. A few ski resorts even re-opened, and as of Thursday Killington was still running one lift and reporting a 12”-30” base. Mount Mansfield picked up over 50 inches of snow - more than it had on the ground for much of the winter. (Photo: Mount Abe coated in snow on April 11th)

The weird weather wasn't content with just dropping some late snow, either. As anyone in Addison County surely noted, Monday was a bit warm. As the sun set, the heat didn't subside, either. Burlington was still at 80 degrees at 11 pm Monday night and Middlebury lingered in the upper 70s through midnight. The weather actually reminded me of the desert - a hot, clear, starry night with restless winds and no mosquitos. The mountains were dripping wet with melting snow, the river was running low and slow, and a line of thunderstorms was fizzling out far to the west, bringing neither rain nor a cooling breeze. Of course, by Wednesday morning, the temperature had dropped to near freezing in much of the county again.

Vermont has been very dry over the past few months. The dry weather has helped with lingering Irene repairs and allowed farmers to get out and plow their fields earlier than usual, but it has also increased the risk of fires and could cause problems if it continues into the growing season. Luckily, we may get some well-needed rain this weekend. A nor'easter type storm is forecast to park over Vermont, drenching the area with up to three inches of rain between Friday and Tuesday. The highest peaks will pick up more snow, and by Monday morning a few wet flakes may mix in with the rain even in the valleys. The weekend rain may be an annoyance to some, but it will be well appreciated by the spring wildflowers and the newly leafed out aspen trees. The currently feeble rivers will again rush in their normal springlike vigor. And, when the sun comes out again, the hills will rapidly green up and spring will be in full effect. The way this year has been so far, we my be in for a hot summer, so enjoy the cooler weather while it lasts.

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