The Weather and Climate of Vermont

Words to Know

 meteorologists

climate

moderate

winter solstice

spring equinox

thaw

mud season

summer solstice

fall equinox

humidity

Indian summer  

Fall in Vermont
Used with Permission from http://www.vtonly.com/foliage.htm

 

            Meteorologists are people who study and predict the weather.  They use instruments and computers to measure and record such things as temperature and precipitation.  Over time, they gather many weather records of temperatures and precipitation for places.  These patterns of weather describe the climate of a place.

 

            The weather is always changing and sometimes difficult to predict, but the climate is more steady.  Vermont's climate is classified as Continental Moist.  (Learn about all of the climate types at this site, http://www.geog.ouc.bc.ca/physgeog/contents/7v.html.)  This means that our summers are usually mild and our winters are cold.  Precipitation is moderate in all seasons.  Vermont has four distinct seasons.  That is why Vermont is sometimes called "the four season state".  (Click on this site to find out about why there are different seasons - http://kids.msfc.nasa.gov/Earth/Seasons/Seasons.asp

 

            Winter officially begins at the winter solstice (December 21 or 22) and ends at the spring equinox (March 21 or 22).  However, the cold weather and snow can arrive sooner and stay much later.  The amount of snow Vermont receives varies from winter to winter and from one region of the state to another.  The lower elevations near Lake Champlain receive about 60 inches of snow each year.  Up to 120 inches of snow may fall each year in the southern Green Mountains.  The average temperature for the winter season is 22 degrees F.  The cold weather is broken up by thaws when temperatures reach 40 or 50 degrees F. and the snow melts.

 

            Toward the end of March, the grip of winter begins to weaken.  Signs of spring appear, such as patches of bare ground and precipitation in the form of rain instead of snow.  Melting snow and rain can cause rivers and streams to overflow.  Vermont often experiences floods at this time of the year.  Just a few years ago, when the majority of the roads were still dirt, the "mud season" could bring travel to a standstill.  Schools closed until the roads dried out.

Mud Season in Vermont
Photo from
http://www.vtliving.com/mudseason/index.shtml

 

            Summer is a pleasant season in Vermont.  It officially begins on June 21 or 22 (the summer solstice) and ends on September 21 or 22 (the fall equinox).  Vermont has warm days with very few days reaching above 90 degrees F.  Most of these hot days are accompanied by high humidity which makes us feel sticky and uncomfortable.  This is also the season of quickly moving thunderstorms that can bring damaging hail, wind, and rain.  The highest temperature recorded in Vermont was at Vernon on July 4, 1911.  It was 105 degrees F.  The vast majority of summer days have temperatures in the 70's and 80's.

Summer in Windham Vermont
Picture from http://windhamhill.com/index.html

            Fall, or autumn, in Vermont is considered by many people to be the most beautiful season.  This is the time of the year when the leaves change color.  The hills and valleys become a red and gold wonderland.  Most Vermonters have heard about Indian summer.  It is a warming trend of dry, moderate weather conditions that lasts for several days.  The timing of Indian summer varies from year to year, however, to be a true Indian summer it must occur after the first frost.

 

            Once December arrives, it usually feels as if winter is not far behind.  By mid-December, winter weather has taken hold once again.

Click Here for a matching vocabulary exercise!

Click here for word version of above exercise!

Click here for a graph making exercise!