ORLEANS COUNTY - A combination of record warm weather with sunny skies and a lack of precipitation has led to a fire weather watch alert issued yesterday for northern and central Vermont, according to Chris Bouchard, a meteorologist with the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury.
The unusually small amount of snowfall and warmth from a large high pressure system spanning from Bermuda have brought record breaking warm temperatures five days in a row. The temperatures, which have climbed to near or over 80 degrees for the last several days, are about 30 degrees above normal.
The jet stream, which typically flows over Vermont or to the south of the state, had stretched way up into Canada, allowing for warm Caribbean air to come north and stay. But the pattern is changing today and the jetstream is expected dip back to a position south of Vermont. The weather is still predicted to be warmer that average, but nowhere near as warm as it’s been.
The warm, dry weather is in contrast to 2011, the wettest year on record in Vermont, Bouchard said.
Vermont didn’t get the cold arctic blasts. The pattern has resulted in very cold weather in places far from here, such as Alaska, Bouchard said.
The warm weather is welcomed by many, but not others. Many lament the lack of snow, especially snowmobilers and cross country skiers. These winter recreational activities are enjoyed by many locals, but are also a huge tourist draw.
The season was late to start and early to end.
Gloria Bruce with Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism said that communities and businesses need to diversify and offer products that are not only competitive but are also weather proof. She said Jay Peak Resort is a great example. The resort recently built an ice arena and an indoor water park, creating opportunities for fun no matter what the weather conditions are, and the resort has stayed busy.