Winter is snoozing. As forecast from previous blogs,
"winter" is off to a slow start. I know we are still more than a month away from the calendar year start to winter, but the meteorological winter "Dec/Jan/Feb" is almost here! It surprised me when I saw that Burlington averages five inches of snow in the month of November. Of course that is based on the past 30 winters.
However more and more cities/towns typically see their first inch of snow in mid November. Below is a list of average date of first inch of snowfall, with data courtesy the National Weather Service in Burlington.
|TOWN/AREA||AVERAGE FIRST INCH OF SNOW||OBSERVED FIRST INCH|
|Mount Mansfield, VT||October 13||October 8|
|Tupper Lake, NY||November 4||----------|
|Morrisville, VT||November 8||----------|
|Montpelier, VT||November 11||----------|
|Newport, VT||November 12||----------|
|Rutland, VT||November 16||----------|
|St. Johnsbury, VT||November 16||----------|
|Massena, NY||November 17||----------|
|Burlington, VT||November 20||----------|
I've highlighted Mount Mansfield for having an earlier than average first inch snowfall, and Tupper Lake, Morrisville, Montpelier, and Newport for having later than average dates. I'm writing this blog on November 15 so we technically haven't gone past the other 'average first dates' but we will. We'll scratch off Rutland, St. J., Massena, and Burlington for later-than-average first snowfall. This is in line with what I was thinking last month, that November would be at or slightly above average for temperature and below average for any snow, with a late start to the season by 'average' standards.
Don't jump to conclusions just yet, it's still very early in the season. Plus each year can vary so drastically. Take 2010-2011 for example when we got the third highest amount of snow on record in Burlington, followed by the third least amount 2011-2012. That's why we take a look at the last full three decades of data to get the 'averages.'
Here are some more updates for you. Every 15th of the month I update the Lake Champlain data. The lake was almost exactly on average level-wise. It's observed level Thursday, November 15 was 95.57' at the King Street Ferry Dock in Burlington. The average level was 96.60'.
The water temperature of Lake Champlain was much warmer than average. In October the lake was only +1° to average, however so far in November it has been +4°. On the 15th it was 51° at the King Street Ferry dock and the average temperature was 47°.
It's been a very warm year for Burlington. In fact that is probably an understatement, because to the best of my knowledge this year will be the warmest one on record for the Burlington area. Now don't quote me on that just yet, because those numbers have to be crunched and quality-controlled by other meteorologists. That has caused Lake Champlain to be warmer than average. It may result in Lake Champlain towns remaining warmer than average prior to our first snow because of the warmer lake water. Thanks for reading!
-Meteorologist Steve Glazier