Tracking annual rain and snowfall totals helps us understand that Vermont is getting wetter. But examining how that precipitation is falling also confirms some Vermonters' suspicions – that storm events are escalating.
Map and analysis courtesy of Professor Arne Bomblies and Cameron White, University of Vermont
This map shows the increase over time in the average amount of precipitation (rain or snow) in the most extreme events during time periods clustered between 1949-1963 and 1986-2010. The yellow and orange blocks that make up most of the state represent where storm events have become between 15% and 60% more rainy or snowy. In north central Vermont, the increase in precipitation is between 60% and 100%. Areas along the shores of Lake Champlain and in the northeast corner of the state have seen a decrease of as much as 15% in precipitation volume during storm events.
So when older Vermonters say that it doesn’t snow like it used to, they might be right. While rising average low temperatures are leaving less snow on the ground, the intensity of snowstorms is increasing in some areas… and decreasing in others. Continued monitoring will further our understanding of these trends.