A peculiar event set up Thursday night to Friday and dropped more than a foot of snow at the peaks of the mountains, while leaving some nearby valleys saying, 'What snow?'
The combination of strong low level winds perpendicular to the mountain ridglelines, moisture, cool temperatures, and an upper-level disturbance resulted in snow showers that seemed like they would never end in some northern communities! The event is known as an 'orographic' or 'upslope' snow event where mountains pick up the snow and the valleys don't.
As the air moves from southeastern Quebec and the St. Lawrence Valley, traveling east, it rides up the Adirondacks and the moisture condenses, falling as snow at the higher elevations. The air moves into the Champlain Valley, sinking, and drying out again resulting in flurries or no snow at all. Then the process happens again as it hits the wall of the Green Mountains, rises, and dumps snow. In this particular scenario the wind flow was "unblocked" meaning instead of hitting the mountains and sort-of stopping, the wind rose and flew freely over the ridges and put down accumulating snow downwind (in this case east) of the mountains, resulting in snow particularly for Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. Blocked vs. unblocked flow has a lot to do with temperature profiles in the atmosphere.
When will this winter end? I am not saying when yet because this winter continues to throw cold/snow our way! There are signs on long-term weather models of a decent warm up Friday, March 28 and into the last weekend of March, possibly lasting through April 1 and no, that's no joke :)
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