Why snow totals tend to vary between the hills and the valley

From 3-6" for most of us, yet up to 18" in Goshen

(WWLP) – The weather difference between the hills and the valley can be incredible.

Once again, we saw a giant difference up and down the Pioneer Valley compared to the snow we had in the hills to the west.

From 3-6″ for most of us, yet up to 18″ in Goshen. Why such a difference from the valley to the hills?

In Tuesday’s storm, there were a few potential factors:

  1. Temperatures make a big difference. Even just a few degrees colder can make the snow accumulate more quickly and make for a fluffier snow.
  2. Strength of the March sun: Even though it was cloudy, the strength of the March sunshine is much higher than it was in mid winter. This can make for just enough extra energy to help melt the snow. In the case of the Pioneer Valley, this prevented a lot of road accumulation, whereas the grass accumulated much more quickly.
  3. Sinking air in the valley. As air rides over the hills and down into the valley it sinks. If the lift with the storm isn’t strong enough then the sinking air can reduce in the intensity of the snow so that it doesn’t snow as heavily, even if a heavier band of snow heads into the valley.