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3.) High Elevation Snowstorm - 25-26 October, 2005
An unusual interaction between a tropical cyclone and a pre-existing mid-latitude trough of low pressure produced a heavy early season snowfall across the higher elevations of the North Country on 25-26 October, 2005. The weight of the snow resulted in downed trees and widespread power outages.

An unusual interaction between a tropical cyclone and a pre-existing mid-latitude trough of low pressure produced a heavy early season snowfall across the higher elevations of the North Country on 25-26 October, 2005. The weight of the snow resulted in downed trees and widespread power outages.

A rich source of moisture associated with hurricane Wilma interacted with a deep-layer trough of low pressure centered across the central Appalachians on 25 October 2005 (see 700mb analysis, Fig. 3-1). A well-defined deformation zone became established northeast from the upper low center across New York and northern Vermont, resulting in strong ascent and heavy precipitation. On the infrared satellite image loop, the deformation zone appeared as a band of enhanced/cold cloud tops which bisected the North Country from southwest to northeast over a period of 24-36 hours (Fig. 3-2).

Over time, steady rain on the 25th of October changed to snow by early afternoon in the higher terrain, owing to the effects of diabatic and dynamic cooling. The snow was very wet and became heavy at times, accompanied by gusty winds. Snow amounts included 19 inches in Killington, 16.5 inches in Barton, 14.8 inches in Underhill, 14 inches in Cambridge, and 10 inches in Ellenburg Depot. The lower elevations near Lake Champlain only received around 1 inch, with 0.9 at Burlington International Airport. Which brings us to an obscure but interesting local climate fact: October 25, 2005 marked the first time in recorded history, that measurable snow occurred in Burlington prior to the first freeze of the season (the low temperature was 33oF during the snow event). The first freezing temperature at BTV would have to wait until October 29th!

With foliage still on the trees, the weight of the snow at higher elevations easily took many trees and tree limbs down with extensive power outages as a result. Traffic accidents were reported and some schools were closed. Property damage totaled $925,000 in Vermont and $290,000 in northern New York.
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Figure 3-1. The 700mb analysis at 12 UTC (8am EDT) on October 25, 2005
Figure 3-2. Loop of GOES-East enhanced infrared satellite imagery from 0010 UTC (810 pm EDT) on October 25 through 0540 UTC (140 am EDT) on October 26, 2006.


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