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Top 5 Weather Events of 2011 across the North Country
Main 5 4 3 2 1

#4: Weather Event of 2011: The March 6-7, 2011 Winter Storm
The winter storm that occurred on March 6-7, 2011 was a record-setting winter storm for March. While heavy snow would be one of the primary impacts from this storm system, significant ice jam-related flooding would also develop along several rivers in Northern New York and Vermont. Thus, this particular event was a multi-faceted one as it involved impacts from both winter weather and localized flooding. There were as many as 10,000 power outages across the state of Vermont and resulted in one fatality in the town of Danville, VT [Source: Burlington Free Press, Burlington digs out from record March storm. Accessed December 27, 2011.]

This winter storm would result in several records being broken. It produced the largest 24-hour snow accumulation for any day in March (dating from 1888-2011) at Burlington International Airport, with a 24-hour total of 17.1". The storm total accumulation of 25.8" at Burlington during this event was the highest snow accumulation during the 2011 winter season – and it was so much that it placed this storm as the 3rd most of all-time at Burlington, eclipsing the infamous Valentine’s Day Blizzard of Feb 14th-15th, 2007.
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Figure 27 shows a map of storm total snowfall produced by the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Burlington, VT. The heaviest amounts of snow fell across the northern Adirondacks and Clinton and Essex Counties in New York, the northern Champlain Valley and across much of northern Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom.

One and a half to nearly 3 feet of snowfall were common across this area. Snow amounts were lower across in the St. Lawrence Valley of New York as this region was further away from the heavier precipitation; amounts were also lower in southern Vermont due to snow mixing with sleet and rain for periods during the storm resulting in lower totals.
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Figure 28 shows several features that contributed to the heavy precipitation associated with this event, taken as of 7PM March 6th, 2011. Figure 28(a) shows an area of surface low pressure (indicated by the red L) located over central Virginia. This low would eventually follow along the cold frontal boundary that extends from the center of the low northeastward across the mid-Atlantic and into interior New England during the evening and into the morning hours of March 6th-7th. Composite radar imagery shows a large plume of heavy precipitation (indicated by darker green, yellow, and orange colors in Figure 28(a)) across a large portion of the U.S. East Coast that would also shift northward with time. Figure 28(b), on the lower left side of figure, displays a map of the 850-hPa (~5000ft) geopotential height (solid black lines), temperature (dashed color lines), and wind barbs. The blue-dashed temperature lines outline areas where the temperatures at 850-hPa were at or below 0°C. Note the sharp temperature gradient indicated by the tightly packed temperature contours over central and southern Vermont; the heavier snows as indicated in Figure 27 would be located just to the west of this strong temperature gradient. Figure 28(c), in the bottom right of the figure, shows a map of satellite-derived precipitable water, which is a measure of moisture in the atmosphere. Note the plume of deep moisture (green colors in Figure 28(c)) that extends along the East Coast from all the way into the northern tropics. This moisture would be transported by southerly winds of 45-50 knots (shown in wind barbs in Figure 28(b)) into the North Country, which provided an ample source of moisture for significant heavy wintry precipitation.
Figures 29 and 30 show photographs of some of the heavy snow left behind by this significant storm system across the Burlington, VT area.
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Figure 27. Map of March 6-7th 2011 storm total snowfall.
Figure 28. (a) Surface MSLP contours, composite radar and frontal boundaries as of 7PM March 6th, 2011. (b) 850-hPa geopotential height, temperature, and wind barbs as of 7PM March 6th, 2011. (c) GOES satellite precipitable water imagery. Source: HPC Winter Weather Event Summary, March 4-7, 2011.
Figure 29: Photo of Burlington International Airport. Image taken March 8th, 2011.
Figure 30. Photo of snow-covered vehicles at Burlington International Airport. Image taken March 8th, 2011.


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