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Weather Watch: Glancing blow brings first snow

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Posted on November 2, 2011 | Blog Category:
By Charlie Hohn



201111first-snow-year-middlebury-river.jpeg

Last weekend, a devastating and record-breaking blizzard slammed much of southern New England with incredible amounts of October snow.  Yet the weather in Addison County was significantly less wild - instead of feet of snow, our first snow of the winter consisted of a dusting to a couple of inches on Saturday night.

This map, published by the National Weather Service, tells the whole story.  Areas to the north of Addison County received little or no snow, while areas to the south and southeast received a dumping.  In fact, south of the boundaries of this map, some areas of Bennington and Windham Counties picked up over a foot of snow.  Here in East Middlebury, we woke up to about an inch of snow on grassy surfaces and rooftops, but no snow or ice on the roads - a beautiful and non-disruptive first snow.  Friends in Middlebury tell me only a dusting fell in town.  East Middlebury is just a few miles from Middlebury, but is at the base of the Green Mountains, making it just a bit wetter and colder.  Marginal snowfalls like this one make the difference very visible.

This situation highlights the difficulties of forecasting storms like this.  If the storm had been 50 miles further north, we would have been busting out the snow shovels and dealing with power outages, while if the storm had been 50 miles further south, it is unlikely that we would have picked up any measurable snow at all.  Considering the difficulty of predicting an erratic and unusual storm to that detail, the forecasts offered by the National Weather Service in the day or two before the storm were extremely accurate.  Further out than that, it just isn't possible to make an accurate forecast as to where the edge of a snowstorm will be.

Today the snow is all but forgotten - only the higher mountains of Addison County still have significant snow cover.  We are heading into a stretch of beautiful late-fall days.  Make sure to enjoy the weather, because as we all know, the snow will soon be back.  I for one, am looking forward to snow, but that doesn't mean I won't enjoy these sunny clear days before it gets here.

Charlie Hohn is a recent graduate of the UVM Field Naturalist graduate program. He has been closely watching the weather ever since he was a child in southern California. Charlie will be posting occasional blog posts here about Addison County weather. He also maintains a blog about water at slowwatermovement.blogspot.com.

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