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December 16-17, 2007
Winter Storm


Summary

The first major snowstorm of the 2007-08 Winter season for Vermont and northern New York, actually occurred prior to the Winter Solstice (December 22nd 108 am EST). Snowfall totals from this pre-winter storm ranged from 6 to 12 inches in southern Vermont, where a prolonged period of sleet and/or freezing rain occurred, to a rather uniform 12 to 18 inches across the rest of Vermont and northern New York (detailed snow amounts available here).

On Saturday morning (15th), a strong and unseasonably cold high pressure system was located across northern New England and southeast Canada. Meanwhile, low pressure was developing across eastern Texas. This area of low pressure gradually strengthened and incorporated abundant moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, as it traveled to the Mississippi and western Ohio River Valleys by Saturday night. During Saturday night and early Sunday morning (16th), this primary low would continue to strengthen in the Ohio River Valley, while a coastal low would gradually develop along the mid-Atlantic coast, due to a strong, coupled upper-level jet stream as well as a deepening mid-atmospheric trough.

Snow began to overspread New York and Vermont early Sunday morning (16th) with snowfall rates rapidly increasing to over an inch per hour. The Ohio river valley storm maintained its strength during Sunday as it moved into the eastern Great Lakes, this allowed milder air aloft (4000-8000 feet) to move into the North Country, as well as drier air to be incorporated into the storm. These two factors caused precipitation to fall as a wintry mix (snow, sleet and freezing rain), as well as developed a lull in intensity of precipitation during the mid-late morning hours that lasted until mid-late afternoon. However, by late Sunday afternoon and continuing through Sunday evening, the secondary coastal storm intensified and this allowed the second part of this winter storm to wrap accumulating snow into northern New York and Vermont, as well as provided brisk winds that caused considerable blowing snow.

Although each winter storm is different in many ways...the same general characteristics are often very similar for major snowstorms in the North Country (Vermont and northern New York) and this storm exhibited these characteristics;

  • A strong and sometimes "coupled" upper atmospheric jet stream
  • A deepening long wave trough along with a strengthening, negatively-tilted short wave
  • A strong temperature gradient from south to north and coastal vs. inland (Surface, 850mb, 700 mb)
  • An abundant moisture supply (Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic)
  • Surface low pressure track between Boston and outer Cape Cod, Massachusetts




Snowfall Map
Click on image to enlarge

Storm total snowfall map depicts a wide swath of 12 to 18 inches across northern New York and the northern half of Vermont. This is where the precipitation mainly fell as snow, although there were some reports of sleet. Snowfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches occurred across southern Vermont, where milder and drier air accounted for a period of sleet and freezing rain as well as a longer lull in precipitation.



Snowfall Reports

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
SPOTTER REPORTS
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BURLINGTON VT
1005 AM EST MON DEC 17 2007

THE FOLLOWING ARE UNOFFICIAL OBSERVATIONS TAKEN DURING THE PAST 10
HOURS FOR THE STORM THAT HAS BEEN AFFECTING OUR REGION.
APPRECIATION IS EXTENDED TO HIGHWAY DEPARTMENTS...COOPERATIVE
OBSERVERS...SKYWARN SPOTTERS AND MEDIA FOR THESE REPORTS.  THIS
SUMMARY IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON OUR HOME PAGE AT WEATHER.GOV/BURLINGTON

********************STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL********************

LOCATION          STORM TOTAL    TIME/DATE    COMMENTS
                     SNOWFALL       OF
                     (INCHES)   MEASUREMENT


NEW YORK

...CLINTON COUNTY...
   PERU                  19.2   555 AM 12/17
   ELLENBURG DEPOT       17.0   912 AM 12/17   COOP
   AUSABLE CHASM         12.0   741 AM 12/17   HAM OPERATOR
   PERU                  12.0   756 AM 12/17   HAM OPERATOR
   PLATTSBURGH           12.0   700 PM 12/16   RACES
   PLATTSBURGH           12.0   745 AM 12/17   HAM OPERATOR
   PERU                   6.5   941 AM 12/17

...FRANKLIN COUNTY...
   WHIPPLEVILLE          14.0   804 AM 12/17   COOP
   MALONE                12.0   700 AM 12/17   COOP
   SARANAC LAKE          12.0   750 AM 12/17   HAM OPERATOR
   TUPPER LAKE           10.0   708 AM 12/17   COOP

...ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY...
   POTSDAM               15.5   843 AM 12/17
   EDWARDS               12.0   740 AM 12/17   HAM OPERATOR
   NORFOLK               12.0   755 AM 12/17   HAM OPERATOR
   OGDENSBURG            12.0   758 AM 12/17   HAM OPERATOR
   CANTON                 9.0   700 AM 12/17   COOP

VERMONT

...ADDISON COUNTY...
   VERGENNES             17.8   800 AM 12/17
   NEW HAVEN             13.0   700 AM 12/17   COOP
   SOUTH LINCOLN         13.0   700 AM 12/17   COOP
   BRIDPORT              11.0   735 AM 12/17
   SHOREHAM              10.5   748 AM 12/17   HAM OPERATOR

...CALEDONIA COUNTY...
   WHEELOCK              17.0   805 AM 12/17   1900 FT
   SUTTON                15.7   700 AM 12/17   COOP
   WEST BARNET           13.5   830 AM 12/17
   SAINT JOHNSBURY       12.9   903 AM 12/17   COOP

...CHITTENDEN COUNTY...
   HANKSVILLE            18.3   859 AM 12/17   COOP
   MILTON                18.0   700 AM 12/17   NWS EMPLOYEE
   ESSEX JUNCTION        17.6   901 AM 12/17   COOP
   SOUTH BURLINGTON      15.5   730 AM 12/17   NWS EMPLOYEE
   SOUTH BURLINGTON      15.5   841 AM 12/17
   SOUTH BURLINGTON      14.4   930 AM 12/17   AIRPORT
   WESTFORD              13.0   715 AM 12/17   NWS EMPLOYEE
   UNDERHILL CENTER      12.8   800 AM 12/17   NWS EMPLOYEE
   JERICHO               11.4   745 AM 12/17   NWS EMPLOYEE
   COLCHESTER            11.0   740 AM 12/17   NWS EMPLOYEE

...ESSEX COUNTY...
   EAST HAVEN            12.0  1003 AM 12/17   COOP

...FRANKLIN COUNTY...
   SAINT ALBANS          11.3   610 AM 12/17   COOP
   HIGHGATE CENTER        9.0   739 AM 12/17   HAM OPERATOR

...LAMOILLE COUNTY...
   STOWE                 15.0  1000 AM 12/17   2 MI SOUTH
   CAMBRIDGE             15.0   842 AM 12/17
   EDEN                  13.3   844 AM 12/17   COOP
   JEFFERSONVILLE        12.5   859 AM 12/17   COOP
   STOWE                 11.0   326 AM 12/17   SPOTTER

...ORANGE COUNTY...
   BROOKFIELD            17.5   700 AM 12/17   COOP
   CORINTH               12.1   700 AM 12/17   COOP
   RANDOLPH CENTER       10.5   322 AM 12/17   SPOTTER
   CHELSEA               10.0   324 AM 12/17   COOP
   CHELSEA               10.0   712 AM 12/17   COOP

...ORLEANS COUNTY...
   NEWPORT               12.0   700 AM 12/17   COOP
   EAST ALBANY            8.0   847 AM 12/17   COOP

...RUTLAND COUNTY...
   CHITTENDEN            15.0   959 AM 12/17   1000 FT COOP
   BRANDON               10.0   958 AM 12/17   POST OFFICE
   RUTLAND                7.5   800 AM 12/17   COOP
   WALLINGFORD            7.0  1003 AM 12/17

...WASHINGTON COUNTY...
   MARSHFIELD            14.0   824 AM 12/17
   WATERBURY CENTER      12.5   839 AM 12/17
   PLAINFIELD             9.5   848 AM 12/17   COOP
   MONTPELIER             9.0   854 AM 12/17   COOP
   WAITSFIELD             8.0   800 AM 12/17   COOP

...WINDSOR COUNTY...
   SPRINGFIELD           14.0   843 AM 12/17
   BETHEL                13.0   700 AM 12/17   COOP
   ROCHESTER             10.0   700 AM 12/17   COOP
   CAVENDISH              9.5   720 AM 12/17   COOP
   WOODSTOCK              7.0   822 AM 12/17   COOP


Surface Map on Saturday December 15th at 7am
Click on image to enlarge

Saturday morning minimum temperatures were around Zero and Saturday afternoon maximum temperatures were in the upper single numbers and teens.



Evolution of Surface Low Track
7am EST Saturday 12/15 to 7am EST Monday 12/16
Click on image to enlarge

Surface low across Texas and Louisiana on Saturday morning strengthens as it moves into the Ohio River Valley Saturday night and Sunday. Meanwhile, a secondary coastal low slowly develops off the Mid-Atlantic coast Sunday, becoming the main system Sunday night.



Track of 850mb Low, Thermal Gradient and Moisture
Saturday Morning at 7am EST (12/15) to Sunday Night at 7pm EST (12/16)
Click on image to enlarge

850mb closed low across southern Plains/Mississippi River Valley on Saturday morning lifts northeast and rapidly intensifies across Ohio River Valley before moving across New England on Sunday. The tight gradient of isotherms (blue and red dashed lines) shows the "clash in air masses" and potential low-level energy available. Abundant moisture from the Gulf of Mexico (solid green lines) on Saturday lifts up the east coast on Sunday.



Upper Level Jet Stream (300mb)
Saturday Morning at 7am EST (12/15) to Sunday Night at 7pm EST (12/16)
Click on image to enlarge

Upper level jet stream (300 mb) with double-jet structure, including an 140kt jet streak progresses eastward. This double-jet structure creates upper-level divergence which promotes strong upward vertical motion and accounts for storm intensification.



Mid-Atmospheric Trough (500mb)
Saturday Morning at 7am EST (12/15) to Sunday Night at 7pm EST (12/16)
Click on image to enlarge

Short wave within long wave trough axis across central US on Saturday morning proceeds to strengthen, eventually becoming cut-off as it lifts northeast in negatively tilted trough axis across the northeast on Sunday.



Infrared Satellite and Surface Time Lapse
Saturday Morning at 7am EST (12/15) to Sunday Night at 7pm EST (12/16)
Click on image to enlarge

Abundant moisture is being tapped from the Gulf of Mexico and being transported northeast into New England as the storm approaches the region.



Radar and Surface Time Lapse
Saturday Morning at 7am EST (12/15) to Sunday Night at 7pm EST (12/16)
Click on image to enlarge

Snow overspreads the Northeast after Midnight (EST) on Sunday (12/16), followed by a lull in precipitation across much of New England and New York during the late morning through early afternoon hours. Meanwhile, steadier snow continues across western New York and Ontario before shifting east across the North Country later in the day.



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Burlington
1200 Airport Drive
S. Burlington VT 05403
(802)862-2475

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Page last modified: December 28, 2007
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