Wind Chill Warnings, Advisories Follow Heavy Snow Across Vermont. Here's What To Know

Jan 18, 2019

The snowfall has been building up this weekend, and there are wind chill warnings and advisories in effect in Vermont starting at 6 p.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Burlington — some are set to stay in effect until 1 p.m. Monday, but others are slated to last until 6 p.m. Monday.

A winter storm warning was put in effect by the National Weather Service for all of Vermont as we headed into the holiday weekend, with snow expected to start late afternoon Saturday and continue through Sunday afternoon.

For the latest forecasts:

And scroll down this post for a list of winter safety resources.

What's Going On

 Monday, Jan. 21, 8:39 a.m. — 

We still have those wind chill warnings and advisories from the National Weather Service in effect (some are set to be lifted early afternoon today, some are set to continue into the evening). With that remaining the case, we're going to close down the updates.

As always, the safety information resources provided here are still relevant! Be cautious and stay warm during these cold temperatures — and if something drastically changes weather-wise here, we'll get this back up and running.

Monday, Jan. 21, 7:17 a.m.  —

There are lots of school closures and delays across Vermont this morning, following the weekend's storm. Check out VPR.net for up-to-date information.

Sunday, Jan. 20, 5:34 p.m. —

The snow should be winding down this evening, but the Eye on the Sky weather forecast calls for bitterly cold air tonight. The temperatures might hit 15 below in the north with wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour.

Vermont Emergency Management Director Erica Bornemann said drivers should stay off the roads if possible.

"We’ve seen significant snowfalls throughout the state and that snow is going to blow around tonight, and so we can expect some drifting and that’s going to create travel issues," Bornemann told VPR.

More than a foot-and-a-half of snow fell on most of Vermont over the past 24 hours.

Sunday, Jan. 20, 4:14 p.m. —

An update related to Vermont's snow sport industry in the wake of this heavy snowfall: Rich McCoy of Pico Ski Resort told VPR's Nina Keck on Sunday afternoon they’d gotten over two feet of snow and expected another foot by Monday. The storm came at the perfect time, McCoy said, coming on what’s traditionally the busiest weekend of the year.

A plow truck heads up toward Killington on Route 4 Sunday afternoon.
Credit Nina Keck / VPR

Sunday, Jan. 20, 3:40 p.m. —  

We've updated the headline and the lede as a wind chill warnings and advisories around Vermont are set to go into effect at 6 p.m. — in some areas of Vermont the winter storm warning has been lifted (though a winter weather advisory remains into Monday), in other areas the winter storm warning is still in effect until 4 p.m. Sunday as originally anticipated. Consult the National Weather Service - Burlington website for the latest in your area.

Sunday, Jan. 20, 12:51 p.m. —

"It is difficult driving conditions throughout the state," Jacqui DeMent, with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, told VPR. "And extra caution is advised in the southern regions where there's a little bit more of a mix of precipitation that they're seeing. We're just seeing heavy snowfall and strong wind, so it's tough for our crews to keep up with it."

As of noontime, the National Weather Service was reporting snow totals across the state of 15 inches in Chelsea, about 12 inches in Burlington and Wilmington, and 9.5  inches in Montpelier.

Are you interested in reporting snowfall totals where you are? The NWS in Burlington has issued guidance on how to help:

Sunday, Jan. 20, 10:17 a.m. —

Linda Allen, with the Rutland United Methodist Church, said a warming shelter will be open at the church from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Monday.

"Because of the wind chill factor and the fact that they were talking about minus 30 degree temperature with the wind chill factor, they decided that it would be a really good idea to offer a place where people could stop and warm up a little bit," Allen told VPR.

Warming shelters will be also be open tonight in Castleton and Burlington (note: we previously reported Bennington in error — though if you know of a Bennington warming shelter, please let us konw!)

Regarding transportation: Green Mountain Transit reports no current delays on Chittenden County routes, but there are minor delays on the Stowe Mountain Road route and services in the Mad River Valley.

And, according The Associated Press, the Lake Champlain Transportation Company has said the Charlotte, Vt., to Essex, N.Y., ferry will not be running today because of winds — however the Grand Isle, Vt., to Plattsburgh, N.Y., ferry route is operational.

Sunday, Jan. 20, 9:18 a.m. —

VPR digital producer Meg Malone went outside to snap this snowy pic in South Burlington on Sunday morning.
Credit Meg Malone / VPR

Snow continues to fall throughout the region this morning and will continue through late this afternoon. Unofficial snow totals from the National Weather Service show totals ranging from almost 14 inches in Fair Haven to 7 to 9 inches through most of the state so far.

VTRANS has most of its 250 plows out throughout the state, and Vermont State Police are asking people to stay off of the roads.

All flights out of Burlington International Airport are canceled this morning. Cape Air has canceled all flights out of the airport in Rutland. Amtrak has also canceled some connections.

According to the National Weather Service, the winter storm warning is still in effect until 4 p.m. today, but then beginning at 6 p.m. there's also now a wind chill warning for the entirety of Vermont that will last until 1 p.m. Monday. NWS notes that wind chill could get down to 25 to 35 below zero.

As of this moment, there don't appear to be any major utility outages reported.

Saturday, Jan. 19, 8:13 p.m. —  

The National Weather Service has slightly increased their expected snowfall totals and also mentioned that sleet may now be present in southern Vermont tomorrow. Here's the latest on what NWS saying, as well as wind chill figures for the coming days — note that it's expected to be well below zero. Stay safe, Vermonters.

Saturday, Jan. 19, 5:47 p.m. —

According to Vermont Emergency Management, the following warming shelters are planned in Rutland County this weekend:

Saturday, Jan. 19, 4:32 p.m.

Green Mountain Power sent out a news release noting that changes in the forecast could result in more power outages than initially thought in Vermont, with Bennington and Windham counties most likely to be affected. GMP customers can report outages or check on when power may be restored at the utility's website.

A reminder that the Vermont Department of Health also has a list of instructions for what to do if you power goes out (and you can find this document in multiple languages here).

Saturday, Jan. 19, 3:12 p.m. —

Parking bans have been announced for Burlington, Winooski and Montpelier (more details on each at the respective links).

A number of incoming and outgoing flights are cancelled at Burlington International Airport, per the airport's flight status website.

For those seeking warmth, Vermont Emergency Management tweeted there's a shelter in Burlington at the First United Methodist Church and the Rutland Herald has details about the shelter available at the Elks Lodge 345 in Rutland.

Saturday, Jan. 19, 12:40 p.m. —

In an update message Saturday morning, NWS provided some more specificity on the amounts of potential snowfall: the organization said 12 to 18 inches total are expected in the central and south-central areas of Vermont, and 8 to 14 inches are likely in the northern section of the state. Their update also warned that "areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility," particularly on Sunday.

The winter storm warning is still set to go into effect at 4 p.m. today, according to the National Weather Service, but NWS also provided a look at how temperatures are currently shaping up:

Friday, Jan. 18 —

In its forecast issued early Friday morning, the NWS called for eight to 18 inches of snow beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday and lasting for 24 hours.

What's on the way is "a classic-looking storm system," Eye on the Sky meteorologist Mark Breen, with the Fairbanks Museum, told VPR on Friday.

Breen explained that this particular storm has been traveling northeast. While many places in Vermont are likely to see at least a foot of snow, he said, it may be more concentrated in the southern areas of the state.

"For most of us, there's a lot of shoveling ahead," Breen said. (By the way, the Vermont Department of Health has shoveling safety tips. And keep scrolling on this post for more links to safety resources).

As far as the temperature, "this is actually going to be a very cold storm," Breen noted. This is how he said that could impact what happens here in coming days:

"That means that the snow in general should be fairly light, fairly less dense, I guess should say. And that actually will help out in terms of the snow load on things like trees and power lines.

"Certainly we still are talking about a lot of snow and so there's going to be perhaps some issues with that, but I think the fact that it'll be quite cold — the temperatures will only be in the single digits and teens during the height of the storm — means that the snow will tend to slide off the trees a little bit easier. 

"And there'll also be some wind kicking up that I think will have a chance to remove some of the snow off some of the trees and power lines before it builds up too much."

For the latest forecasts:

Listen to VPR during the weekend for more on the weather — and we'll be updating this post, plus adding some extra online newscasts, to keep you up to date.

And while many schools are closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day this Monday, you can always find the latest collection of announced school closings here.

Safety Resources

When we have weather events like this, it's always a good idea to resurface the many resources available to stay up to date on how to safely navigate the winter season.

A few evergreen reminders:

  • Follow #WinterReadyVT for state-relevant updates regarding weather and winter safety
  • You can sign up for Vermont-Alert to get emergency messages sent to you directly (not just limited to weather)
  • Year-round, you can access information about a variety of available services in Vermont by calling 2-1-1 (though if you are having an emergency, contact 9-1-1)

Vermont Emergency Management Service:

  • Online here: Website, Twitter, Facebook
  • In addition to checking your fuel supply (see message above!), VEM also sent out a reminder Friday that before a storm you should make sure snow is cleared away from heating vents and that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order.
  • VEM is often the group that announces where shelters are being set up during weather events around the state. So far during this storm, their Twitter feed has noted available shelters in Burlington and Rutland, as well as warming shelters in Castleton and Rutland.

Vermont Department of Health links:

There is a wealth of information available on the Vermont Department of Health's "Winter Weather" website (and many of their resources are available in multiple languages). Some of the safety information covers the risk of heart attacks from shoveling, carbon monoxide poisoning, hypothermia and frostbite, and preventing falls on ice.

Power outages:

The map at VTOutages.org documents the reported power outages around the state. You can reference that to see what areas are without power (though the individual utilities may be the best place to check with for updates as to when your power may be restored).

The Vermont Department of Health also has a list of instructions for what to do if you power goes out (and you can find this document in multiple languages here).

Transportation resources:

A general rule of thumb when the weather is bad: if you don't have to drive, don't hit the roads. But realistically, that isn't always an option for everyone, so here are a few roadway resources to consult to help ensure a safe journey:

Past VPR/NPR coverage: