National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Flood Safety Awareness Week
March 13 through 19, 2022

Flooding is the greatest natural hazard in the North Country. The National Weather Service, along with emergency management agencies in Vermont and New York, have declared March 13 through 19, 2022, National Flood Safety Awareness Week. Each year, the National Weather Service holds Flood Safety Awareness Week in order to increase public awareness of the dangers posed by flooding. Citizens of the North Country are encouraged to take time during this week to review flood threats and flood safety practices. A different educational topic will be featured each day during the week.


Damaged Road
turn around don't drown sign
Wednesday: Flooding and Related Phenomena

Tropical Cyclone Inland Flooding Hurricane Bob approaches Atlantic Coast

Snowmelt Flooding
Ridley Brook

Ice Jams

River covered in ice

house with flood damage and debris

Severe Weather Awareness Week
April 24th ~ April 30th, 2022

April 24th ~ April 30th, 2022 has been declared as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Vermont and Northern New York. The National Weather Service and other supporting organizations ask for your help in providing the public with information about severe weather safety. Advance planning and increased awareness will help residents of the North Country survive these deadly storms.

Daily Topics

Informational Videos
What is Severe Weather Awareness Week?


Lightning Safety
Lightning Formation


Thunderstorm Preparedness

Severe Weather Social Media Graphics
Look for these and other messages on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, then "Share"/"Retweet"!

Click on the titles for a direct link to the corresponding Facebook post.

The Synthesis of Information

Ready - Set - Go!

Watch vs. Warning

Severe Thunderstorms

Thunderstorm Climatology

Thunderstorm Safety

Lightning Safety

Lightning Safety

Types of Flooding

Flash Flooding

Social Media


Severe weather can happen at any time. Here are some events from the last few years:
October 1st 2019 Large Hail and Minor Flooding Event: On Tuesday, October 1st, showers and thunderstorms developed through much of the day across Northern New York and the Northeast Kingdom that resulted in large hail and minor river flooding. One storm produced significant, egg-size hail (approximately 2") at Massena, NY around 1:53 PM EDT: unusual given the time of year. Based on a severe climatology study for our local area from 1955-2016 (LaRocca 2018), the 2-inch hail size would be in the upper echelon of recorded hail reports across the St. Lawrence Valley.

A Review of the 30 July 2019 Severe Weather Event: On 30 July 2019 a cold front and associated pre-frontal trough interacted with a very warm and semi-humid air mass to produce scattered strong to severe thunderstorms. These thunderstorms packed a punch with a significant wind gust of 76 mph reported at the North Hero bridge project, while the Saranac Lake, New York Automated Surface Observing Station (ASOS) measured a 60 mph thunderstorm wind gust.

Isolated Microburst Review over Chazy NY Mesonet Site on 5 July 2018: A review of the pre storm environment and radar signatures,which produced a 63 mph observed wind gust at Chazy, New York mesonet site on 5 July 2018.

June 18 2018 Severe Weather Review: Including the Waitsfield, VT Wet Microburst: Scattered strong to locally severe storms tracked across the North Country during the afternoon hours on June 18, 2018. These severe storms caused up to 16,000 people in Vermont to lose power, with additional power outages occurring in northern New York. The strongest microburst produced significant property damage and downed 3 to 4 dozen trees in the vicinity of Waitsfield, VT. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Burlington, VT conducted a damage survey, and determined that the microburst damage path was over a mile long and up to a quarter mile wide. The damage extended from the ridgeline on Hemlock Hill across the Mad River Valley to near the base of Mt. Waitsfield.

Summary of the Severe, High Wind, and Hydro Event on May 4, 2018: During the late afternoon and evening hours on Friday, 4 May 2018, a widespread severe weather event affected northern New York and Vermont with damaging winds, large hail, and localized flash flooding. Much of the event damage was caused by intense straight line winds and microbursts, with radar estimated near-surface wind speeds of 60 to 80 mph with the strongest storms. Downed trees and lines caused numerous power outages, including nearly 25,000 customers across Vermont at its height Friday night. Shelburne, Vermont was one of the hardest hit communities, with estimates of hundreds of trees down in the village. Large hail was also observed with some of the supercell storms, with up to golf ball sized hail (1.75” diameter) reported in Richford, Vermont around 7 PM.

Two Microburst Event on May 18, 2017: This severe weather event had three areas of concentrated that included Western Addison County on Potash Bay Road, South Burlington/Williston area, and across the Northeast Kingdom near Barton, VT. The NWS Burlington Office determined from a storm survey the damage which destroyed a camp and knocked down trees and powerlines on Potash Bay Road in the town of Addison, VT was caused by a microburst with estimated wind speeds of 80 to 100 mph. Another microburst occurred in South Burlington causing trees and power lines to come down, along with a measured 58 mph wind gust at Burlington International Airport, before we lost power to the observing equipment. Additional damaging thunderstorm wind gusts blew over a tractor trailer in Barton, VT with areas of trees and powerlines down in parts of the Northeast Kingdom.

The May 1, 2017 Bow Echo and Associated Northern New York Wind Damage: During the evening hours on 1 May, 2017 a line of strong to severe thunderstorms swept through the St. Lawrence Valley and the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York. Numerous reports of wind damage were received, with areas in far southern St. Lawrence County near the town of Fine being most affected.

For a more comprehensive list of severe weather events, click here.

Other NOAA/NWS Severe Weather Links

Winter Weather Preparedness Week
October 30th through November 5th, 2022
cars buried in snow
Burlington International Airport, S. Burlington, VT
Winter 2022-2023 Temperature
and Precipitation Outlook

Be safe in winter weather.
Learn more about:

Snow, Ice Storms, Winter Flooding, and Preparedness
Daily Topics
Informational Videos
Climate and Outlooks Notable BTV Winter Storms

"Stay Cool, Find Shade, Don’t Over Exert and Drink Plenty of Water"


The National Weather Service categorizes a hot day when temperatures reach 90 degrees or warmer. In the North Country, we average between 6 and 10 such days a year, with some years witnessing more than 20 days. In Burlington, the most 90 degree or above days observed was 26 days in 1949. In 2013, 9 days of 90 degree or warmer temperatures were observed. An "official" heat wave is defined as three or more consecutive days with the temperature reaching or exceeding 90 degrees. The longest heat wave in Burlington was 8 days in August 1944. In 2013, there was one heat wave, a 5 day heat wave from July 15 temperatures approaching 100 degrees.

The Hazards of Excessive Heat
Although an "official" HOT DAY is classified when temperatures reach 90 degrees or warmer, heat related health effects can occur with temperatures in the 80s, combined with high humidity and prolonged sun exposure.

During extremely hot and humid weather, the body's ability to cool itself is affected. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and heat-related illnesses may develop. Heat-related illnesses can range from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to more serious heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.

Factors or conditions that can make some people more susceptible to heat-related illnesses include age (older adults and young children), obesity, fever, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, prescription drug and alcohol use, and sunburn.

Please refer to the following page for heat-related illness symptoms and first aid -

Take Action, Be Prepared

  • Slow down and reduce strenuous activities
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight
  • Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids.
  • During excessive heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places if available.
  • If you must be outside, try to lessen your exposure by seeking shade frequently and limiting your activities to the early morning or late evening.
  • NEVER leave children, disabled adults, or pets in parked vehicles. "Beat the heat, check the back seat!"

The National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont will issue Excessive Heat Watches, Heat Advisories or Excessive Heat Warnings when the Heat Index (Apparent Temperature) is expected to exceed 105°F for several hours or more. The Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.

IMPORTANT: Since heat index values were devised for shady, light wind conditions, exposure to full sunshine can increase heat index values by up to 15°F. Also, strong winds, particularly with very hot, dry air, can be extremely hazardous.

The Heat Index Chart shaded zone above 105°F (orange or red) shows a level that may cause increasingly severe heat disorders with continued exposure or physical activity.


NWS BTV Heat Awareness Video


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Other links –

NY Health Department Heat Message -

VT Department of Health -

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -

Rip Currents: Break The Grip of The Rip!®

For families that are planning a trip to the beach this summer, it is important
to realize the dangers of rip currents before swimming in the ocean.  The majority
of rip current fatalities each year are visitors from non coastal locations.
Rip currents are powerful currents of water moving away from shore and are the
leading surf hazard for all beachgoers, especially for weak or non swimmers.
According to the united states lifesaving association, 80 percent of surf beach
rescues are attributed to rip currents and more than 100 people die annually from
drowning when they are unable to escape a rip current. 

Rip currents form when waves break near the shoreline, piling up water between
the breaking waves at the beach. One of the ways this water returns to sea is to
form a rip current, a narrow jet of water that moves swiftly offshore, roughly
perpendicular to the shoreline. Under most tide and sea conditions the speeds are
relatively slow, however under certain wave, tide and beach profile conditions, 
The speeds can quickly increase to become dangerous to anyone entering the surf, 
Even the most experienced swimmers. Rip currents can be very narrow or extend in
widths to hundreds of yards. The seaward pull of rip currents varies from just
beyond the line of breaking waves to hundreds of yards offshore.

Some of the clues beachgoers can use to identify rip currents including: a channel
of churning, choppy water, an area having a notable difference in water color, 
A line of foam, seaweed or debris moving steadily seaward, or a break in the
incoming wave pattern. The above clues may or may not indicate the presence of rip
currents and rip currents are often not readily or easily identifiable to the
average beachgoer. If you are concerned about the possibilities of rip currents
occurring in the surf, it is best to ask an on duty lifeguard before entering the

If you are caught in a rip current, remain calm to conserve energy and think
clearly. Never fight against the current. Swim out of the current in a direction
parallel to the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle away from
the current and toward the shore. If you are unable to swim out of the rip
current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim toward shore.
If you are unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arms
and yelling for help. 

If you see someone in trouble, don't become a victim yourself, many people drown
while trying to save someone else from a rip current. Get help from a lifeguard, or
f one is unavailable, have someone call 9 1 1. Throw the rip current victim something
that floats such as a life jacket, cooler or inflatable ball. Yell instructions on
how to escape. 

It is important to note that under any conditions rip currents can occur and beachgoers
should know how to swim and to heed the advice of beach patrol before entering the surf. 

For more information about rip currents, please visit
or if you are at the beach, ask a lifeguard.

Rip Current Social Media Graphics
Look for these and other messages on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, then "Share"/"Retweet"!

Click on the titles for a direct link to the corresponding Facebook post.

What Weather-Ready Looks Like: Beach

Shallow Water

Wave Safe Video Series

What are Rip Currents?

Break the Grip of the Rip!

Survive a Rip Current

Beach Dangers

Stay Dry When Waves are High

Survivor Story: Rip Current

Only Swim at a Beach with Lifeguards

Air Quality Awareness Week
April 29 - May 3, 2019

The National Weather Service and EPA have designated April 29 - May 3, 2019 as Air Quality Awareness Week in the United States. This week was established to remind persons of the importance air quality and air quality forecasts can play in their daily lives. This year's theme is Check the AQI and Get Outside!

There are two kinds of pollutants commonly found in our area. The first is ozone, which is formed when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds are heated by the sun. As a result, ozone levels are usually highest in the summer. The second pollutant is particle pollution, which consists of microscopic particles in the air. Not only is particle pollution a problem in the summer, it is also found in the winter due to wood smoke from stoves and furnaces.

Ozone- and particle-forming pollutants come from a wide variety of sources, including cars, buses, power plants, and industries. Natural sources such as wildfires and dust storms contribute to particle pollution. Trees and other vegetation also emit organic compounds that contribute to particle and ozone pollution.

A perfect example of particle pollution occurred on Memorial Day 2010. Smoke from wildfires in Quebec spread south into Vermont and Northern New York resulting in poor air quality across much of the North Country. For a detailed explanation of the 2010 Memorial Day Smoke Out visit

Weather plays a big role in the levels of ozone and particle pollution. Sunlight and heat promote ozone formation. Light winds and temperature inversions can keep pollution concentrated near the ground. The wind can bring in more pollution, sometimes from hundreds of miles away. Geography can affect pollution levels, too. Mountain ranges can prevent pollution from dispersing, with the pollutants settling in the surrounding valleys. 

Exposure to high levels of ozone and particle pollution is linked with a number of significant health problems. Children, people with lung disease, older adults, and people with heart disease tend to be more vulnerable. When pollution reaches high enough levels, the air can be unhealthy for everyone, especially those who are active outdoors.

Use the Air Quality Index (AQI) and daily air quality forecasts to help you determine when pollutant levels are high and what steps you should take to protect yourself. The AQI is a color-coded scale that tells you who will be most affected by current or forecast pollution levels. Local air quality forecasts and the AQI can be found at and you can subscribe to the daily AQI forecast at

You can help reduce pollution by following these steps:

  • Carpool or use public transportation
  • Delay using lawn mowers and other gasoline-powered lawn equipment until later in the day
  • Avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials
  • Keep your car in good operating condition and get regular tune ups.
For more information, visit


DANGERS of Inland Flooding
Although Vermont is far inland and is usually spared a direct hit by most hurricanes, remnants of tropical systems from as far away as the Gulf of Mexico can reach Vermont and cause significant problems in the form of heavy rainfall and inland flooding.
Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 was an example of the potential dangers of inland flooding due to a more direct landfall in New England. The devastating flooding left by Irene reshaped Vermont’s landscape and severely damaged infrastructure, including roads, bridges and railroad tracks. Hundreds of homes and businesses suffered great losses with property damage in the hundreds of millions of dollars as well as the loss of human life.
In September 1999, Tropical Storm Floyd made landfall across southern New England, yet delivered damaging winds in excess of 50 mph as well as heavy, flooding rains to much of Vermont. One fatality and millions of dollars of property damage occurred with this storm. 
In August 1995, Tropical Storm Dean made landfall across Texas, yet the remnants of that storm reached Vermont and deposited 5 to 8 inches of rainfall. Devastating flooding occurred within the Lamoille River Valley.
Since the 1970s, inland flooding has been responsible for more than half of the deaths associated with tropical cyclones in the United States. The losses suffered from Irene in 2011 demonstrate the importance for the need of advanced planning by every one of us, to minimize impacts in the future.
1. Determine if you live in a potential flood zone, and if so, seek flood insurance.
2. Develop a flood emergency action plan, including potential evacuation routes over higher ground.
3. Develop a disaster supply kit for this or any other threat. Kits generally include food and water, battery powered radio, medications, flashlights, extra atteries, and many more life sustaining items.
4. When you hear of a tropical system forecast to affect the Northeastern United States, check the latest forecasts from any weather sources, including the National Weather Service to better understand the what impacts are expected.
5. Heed all National Weather Service flood watches and warnings.
6. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately utilizing pre-determined best evacuation routes. 
7. If you do encounter a road that is flooded, NEVER attempt to drive across the flood waters; “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”. More than half of all flood-related drowning’s occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. 
The official NOAA/National Hurricane Center 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook is forecasting a near-normal or below-normal 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. 
Although there is no direct link between the number of Tropical Cyclones and impacts across Vermont…conventional wisdom would say “the more storms, the greater the chances” of being impacted. However, it ONLY takes one. Basically, be vigilant and be prepared EVERY hurricane season.
For more information and forecasts - visit us at
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You can find more information at the following web sites:
NOAA’s Hurricane Preparedness -
Turn Around Don’t Drown -
NOAA/National Hurricane Center –
FEMA’s Hurricane Preparedness -
National Flood Safety -
VT Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security -
The Hazard of Cold Water Boating

Particular caution is necessary early in the boating season across the North Country

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Burlington, Vermont urges extreme caution when boating, canoeing, or kayaking during the spring, when water temperatures typically remain dangerously cold in the event of a capsize.

After a long North Country winter, thoughts naturally turn toward warm weather recreational activities. The first warm days of spring often attract boaters and other recreational enthusiasts to the many beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams across Vermont and northern New York.

Those venturing out on area lakes and rivers need to be aware of the dangers posed by cold water temperatures. On pleasantly warm and dry days in April and May, it is easy to overlook the fact that the temperature of the water is much slower to respond to the change of season and warms much more slowly than the air temperature. Rivers are often still affected by runoff from melting snow from mountain summits. Lakes continue to up-well cold water from below until a temperature of 39°F, and then increase in temperature slowly based on amount and days of sunshine, near surface air temperature, and the size of the body of water. On Lake Champlain, climate records indicate that surface water temperatures are typically in the upper 30s in late April, and only rise into the 40s during May.

Immersion in cold water can become life threatening very quickly. Should your craft capsize, hypothermia in waters with temperatures in the upper 30s and 40s can occur in just a matter of minutes. Since water conducts body heat away up to 26 times faster than air of the same temperature, the cold water rapidly causes extremities to become numb, weakening the ability of muscles to work effectively. Tragically, several individuals have lost their lives on North Country rivers and lakes in recent years, drowning in the very low water temperatures of early May.

The NWS urges the following safety measures to protect yourself and maximize your enjoyment of area waterways:

  • Consider postponing small craft boating activities until water temperatures become warmer in late spring and summer.
  • If you do choose to boat, canoe, or kayak in April or May, wear a dry suit appropriate for water temperatures in the high 30s and 40s.
  • Wear all recommended protective gear to guard against the cold water in the event of an accident or capsize.

Remember, no matter the season, when you are on the water, always wear your life jacket.

Safe boating is no accident! Please take the time to think safety first and plan appropriately for weather and water conditions before heading out on lakes, rivers, and streams.

Supplemental Links: