What’s Up with That?

The official snow total from this week’s snowstorm is wrong. Hopefully it won’t go down in the record books but it probably will.

Strong winds made the snow difficult to measure but most of the weather observers that volunteer their time for the National Weather Service and for us here at NBC Connecticut seemed to have been spot on. Unfortunately the contractor that the NWS pays to measure snow at Bradley International Airport did a poor job measuring the snow and reported a grossly inflated figure. Normally the measurements from BDL are great but this one is totally out of whack.

Here are the snowfall totals from Hartford County from the NWS.

   WINDSOR LOCKS         13.9  1028 AM 12/28  BDL
   GLASTONBURY           10.2   959 AM 12/27  HAM RADIO
   WETHERSFIELD          10.0  1015 AM 12/27  HAM RADIO
   SUFFIELD               9.5   808 PM 12/27  HAM RADIO
   MANCHESTER             9.0   152 PM 12/27  TRAINED SPOTTER
   NEWINGTON              8.0  1249 PM 12/27  GENERAL PUBLIC
   SOUTH WINDSOR          8.0   420 PM 12/27  TRAINED SPOTTER
   GRANBY                 8.0  1009 AM 12/27  HAM RADIO
   NORTH GRANBY           7.7   622 PM 12/27  TRAINED SPOTTER
   WEST HARTFORD          7.5   810 PM 12/27  HAM RADIO
   GRANBY (2MI SW)        7.5  1016 AM 12/27  NWS EMPLOYEE
   ROCKY HILL             7.0   918 AM 12/27  HAM RADIO
   ENFIELD                6.5  1011 AM 12/27  HAM RADIO
   UNIONVILLE             6.1   434 PM 12/27  SPOTTER

I measured about 6.5″ in West Hartford, though I think that probably was a bit on the low side because I’m surrounded by buildings in a relatively urban area.  Based on the reports I saw around BDL I doubt they received more than 9″. Unfortunately as of right now the 13.9″ snow drift next to the tarmac is what we’ll have to live with in the record books.

I reached out to the National Weather Service in Taunton, MA and hopefully there’s something they can do to rectify the situation.  I’ll keep you posted.

Upslope Snow Stays North

It appears that the best upslope snow will stay north of central Vermont as drier air has filtered in to areas south of I-89. Though Stowe and Jay Peak will likely pick up 3″-6″ of snow from this event (and even more by Monday) areas like Okemo and Killington will see little.

Here’s the 12z 4km-WRF run by the National Weather Service in Burlington, VT. This high resolution model helps pinpoint the potential for small-scale snow events like upslope snow or lake effect snow. A model with very high resolution like this one (4km) allows the model to resolve small changes in topography that would be broad brushed in a larger model. You can see 24 hour precipitation totals over 0.5″ across the Chittenden/Lamoille county line along the spine of the Greens (>4000 ft) which indicates significant snowfall. Farther south the precipitation forecast tapers off significantly to the south of Sugarbush as drier air will preclude a more widespread snow event.

This may change a bit on Monday and Tuesday as a second storm rotates in but at this point it looks like northern Vermont will cash in again. Killington and Okemo skiers shouldn’t worry, however, as plenty of cold means plenty of snowmaking and natural snow chances increase quite a bit by late this week!