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WFO BTV Top 10 Weather Events of 2000 to 2009
Main 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

1.) Valentine's Day Snowstorm - 14 February 2007
The North Country receives its fair share of major snowstorms to be sure. But consider this: never in Burlington's weather records has a single February storm rain, snow, or otherwise - produced as much liquid equivalent (1.94" at Burlington). Snow-water amounts at many locations across Vermont exceeded 2 inches, with isolated totals over 3 inches (Table 1-1).

Table 1-1. Liquid Equivalent, snowfall, and snow-to-liquid ratios for select locations across the North Country, 14-15 February 2007
Location Liquid Equivalent
Precipitation
Snowfall Snow-to Liquid
Ratio
Newcomb, NY 3.12" 26" 8.3 : 1
Chittenden, VT 2.99" 25" 8.4 : 1
Rochester, VT 2.93" 25" 8.5 : 1
Morrisville, VT 2.89" 28.5" 9.9 : 1
Rutland, VT 2.88" 24.5" 8.5 : 1
Northfield, VT 2.73" 25" 9.2 : 1
Waitsfield, VT 2.65" 33" 12.5 : 1
Elizabethtown, NY 2.56" 28" 10.9 : 1
Hanksville, VT 2.47" 29.2" 11.8 : 1
Jeffersonville, VT 2.38" 24" 10 : 1
South Lincoln, VT 2.34" 26.5" 11.3 : 1
Bethel, VT 2.24" 32" 14.3 : 1
St. Johnsbury, VT 2.06" 21.1" 10.2 : 1
West Burke, VT 2.00" 20.8" 10.4 : 1
Burlington, VT 1.94" 25.7" 13.2 : 1

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The occurrence of heavy precipitation while surface temperatures hovered in the single digits above zero is all the more astonishing.

A vigorous, closed 700 mb circulation over southwestern New England induced a strong southeast flow bringing rich Atlantic moisture, warm advection aloft, and strong synoptic-scale ascent across Vermont and portions of Northern New York (Fig. 1-1).
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Combined with mesoscale banding, the necessary conditions were in place for an epic snow event. As seen in the special 18 UTC (1 PM EST) Albany, New York sounding, the nose of the temperature inversion was near freezing (Fig. 1-2).

The warm temperatures aloft resulted in a crystal habit favoring columns and needles rather than dendrites. And at times during that Wednesday afternoon, the atmosphere simply poured columns and needles, yielding relatively small snow-to-liquid ratios, averaging around 10:1.
The combination of cold temperatures and a heavy, moisture laden snow over a short period of time had a more severe impact than the run-of-the-mill winter storm. Widespread 20 to 30 inch snow amounts were observed from the Adirondacks eastward across much of central and northern Vermont, with isolated amounts near 3 feet (Figs. 1-3 and 1-4). Snowfall rates of 2 to 4 inches per hour and brisk winds of 15 to 25 mph caused near whiteout conditions at times that afternoon (Fig. 1-5), along with considerable blowing and drifting of the snow, making roads nearly impassable. The deep snow depths (18-30 inches) and deeper snow drifts (4-6+ feet) caused numerous problems, including the blocking of numerous heat vents that resulted in the build-up of carbon monoxide and sent dozens of people seeking treatment at area hospitals. There were additional indirect injuries resulting from this storm, including vehicle accidents and cardiac arrests due to overexertion during snow removal. Snow removal operations took several days and up to a week in some urban communities. In addition, the weight of the heavy snow on some weaker roofs resulted in the partial or total collapse of 20 or more barn roofs and the deaths of more than 100 cattle.

The storm set a new 24-hour snowfall record in Burlington, Vermont at 25.3 inches, exceeding the previous mark of 23.1 inches set on 14 January 1934. The Burlington storm total snowfall of 25.7 inches remains the third largest snowstorm on record behind the 33.1 inches received on 2 to 3 January 2010, and 29.8 inches received 25 to 28 December 1969.
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Additional information on the Valentine 2007 snowstorm can be found here: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/btv/events/valentine2007/summary.shtml.


<<< #9
Figure 1-1. The RUC derived 1-hour 700mb forecast/analysis of geopotential height (solid lines), temperature (dashed lines) and relative humidity (color filled) for 20 UTC (3pm EST) on February 14, 2007. Wind barbs are shown in knots. (Analysis from NCEP/SPC Mesoanalysis)
Figure 1-2. The 18 UTC (1 pm EST) February 14th, 2007 sounding from Albany, New York. The 0C isotherm is denoted in red.
Figure 1-3 Storm total snow analysis, 12 UTC (7am EST) February 14 through 12 UTC February 15, 2007 (from Northeast River Forecast Center, Taunton, MA)
Figure 1-4 Storm total snow reports, 14-15 February 2007.
Figure 1-5. Near whiteout conditions at the Burlington International Airport, 4:28 pm EST (2128 UTC), 14 February 2007. Snow crystals fell in the form of dense needles at times, yielding particularly low visibility. (Photo NWS BTV)


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