It's just another day in our area...clouds and dry weather for many of the valleys, meanwhile 12" of fresh snow blankets some of the mountain tops all from this Monday.
Just another classic orographic snowfall case. We've blogged about orographic snowfall many times before. Orographic snowfall is just a fancy, meteorological term for 'enhanced mountain snow'- a period of heavy and often accumulating snowfall for many of the mountain sides and tops, while the surrounding valleys, or even lee side of the mountains (non-windward side) see hardly anything in the way of snow or precipitation.
I checked out the fancy weather tools and found just what I anticipated. The 3 main ingredients for orographic snowfall...deep moisture, strong cross barrier wind flow (or wind crossing perpendicular to the mountain), and some vertical velocity (or upward motion).
The image below is a forecast sounding (or cross section of the atmosphere) at one point, Jay Peak, Vermont. The image shows the atmosphere from the surface of the earth (bottom) to about 30,000 feet into the air (top of image). This forecast sounding program is called Bufkit, and it allows the use to overlay numerous forecast variables to this atmospheric setup. I've overlayed wind flow, and omega (or vertical motion). You'll notice for today (time stamp along bottom), there is deep moisture (indicated by the green and red shading), strong omega, as well as strong cross barrier wind.
Consider these snow total reports around the peaks today...
Mt Mansfield, VT: 12"
Jay Peak, VT: 12"
Killington, VT: 10"+
Stowe Mtn, VT: 10"+