Vermont has a humid continental type of climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with warm and muggy summers and cold and snowy winters. New Hampshire in the east, Massachusetts in the south, New York in the west and the Canadian province of Quebec in the north, border the state. Vermont is cold barring the summer months like the rest of the New England region in the northeastern part of the United States. The Green Mountains extend in the north-south direction and stretch up to the middle of the state - Lake Champlain lies in the west, while the Connecticut River Valley occupies the east of the mountains.
Vermont, the Maple state, has temperate broadleaf and mixed forests with a large cover of maple trees. New England-Acadian forests that consist of northern hardwood and conifers form a majority of the forests, while the northeastern coastal coasts that are of mixed oak adorn the southwest part of the state. Lowland forests of the Eastern Great Lakes constitute the western frontiers of Vermont. The mountains are alpine and have high peaks, and much of the terrain is a combination of mountains, highlands, rivers, and river valleys.
Vermont has warm and humid summers with average high temperatures of 75°F (23.9°C) to 82°F (27.8°C) in the peak of July. Summer nights are mild with average low temperatures of 55°F (12.8°C) to 60°F (15.6°C). Winters are extremely cold and snowy, and average low temperatures during January are in the cold 2°F (-16.7°C) to 12°F (-11.1°C) range across the different regions in the state. Winters are sometimes too cold to receive either snow or rain. Spring is a little muddy in April, while the autumn is colorful with mild temperatures. Although it rains throughout the year, spring and early summer tend to receive more rainfall. The annual precipitation averages 50" (1270mm), and the average snowfall easily registers between 80" (2032mm) to 100" (2540mm) during the winter. Humidity rises to 70% during the summer. Sunshine in January is short of 5 hours a day, while the average annual sunshine is 2295 hours.
Vermont experiences many thunderstorms during late spring and early summer. Snowstorms are frequent during the winter - the intensity of these storms varies, but many are strong enough to deposit large quantities of snow and often create deep snow packs. Vernon recorded Vermont's highest ever temperature of 105°F (40.6°C) on July 4, 1911, while Bloomfield recorded the coldest temperature of -50°F (-45.6°C) on December 30, 1933.
The best time to visit Vermont
The best time to visit Vermont is from late spring to mid-autumn, particularly from May to mid-October. Spring in April is wet and muddy, while the autumn sees a drop in temperatures by late October. May has moderately warm sunshine and sees rain and cloud cover now and then. Summers are mostly warm with 75°F (23.9°C) to 80°F (26.7°C) days, but a few touch up to 90°F (32.2°C) or higher. Early fall season sees pleasant temperatures, particularly in September, while October displays beautiful colors in the high country. Summer sees a significant influx of tourists, especially in the Green Mountains and state parks.
The worst time to visit Vermont
The worst time to visit Vermont is the winter season, from December to February as the extreme cold weather descends from the Canadian North. Vast amounts of snow accumulate in the mountains, and many highlands register more than 120" (3048mm). Vermont experiences icy conditions with numerous days when the sun is barely above the horizon. The season is generally slow for tourists, but many ski-resorts are open during the winter and see enthusiastic visitors. Weather-wise, it is a time to avoid Vermont as the temperatures seldom rise above freezing and are not comfortable to anybody except to those people who are accustomed to it.
Vermont is prone to thunderstorms, in spring and early summer. They take the form of lightning and rain and can take severe form in the highlands and mountains. Snowstorms and blizzards are frequent during the winter. These take violent turns in a few cases, last for a, while and create icy conditions, large snow deposits, and a severe drop in visibility. Many times visibility restricts to a few meters, and it is extremely difficult to maneuver through the snowy roads. Vermont has few large cities, and the capital at Montpelier is the least populous of all state capitals in the United States - so the stall due to the storms is not as huge as in some of the other cities of America.
Weather in January
January is the snowiest and the coldest month of the year in Vermont. The New Year alternates between a few hours of daily sunshine, gloomy skies, and inclement weather. Temperatures drop even below -10°F (-23.3°C) in many places, while the average temperatures are between 2°F (-16.7°C) to 31°F (-0.6°C). Montpelier, the capital in Central Vermont, averages in the 7°F (-13.9°C) to 26°F (-3.3°C), while Newport in the north is in the cold 3°F (-16.1°C) to 23°F (-5°C). Mountain peaks receive heavy snow in the 40" (1016mm) to 50" (1270mm) range, while the rest of the state registers 18" (457.2mm) to 20" (508mm). Snowstorms are frequent in January, and the roads and highways need regular snow removal measures such as cleaning and salting. Blizzards may cause even interstate highways to close down in many places! It is an excellent idea to change to snow tires on vehicles during the winter, and mountain roads may even need tire chains for safe driving on the slippery ice. Overall, out-of-state tourists with families avoid a visit to Vermont in January.
Weather in February
February is cold and icy in Vermont as the state experiences an average of 15" (381mm) to 18" (457.2mm) of snowfall. Bitterly cold nights see average temperatures in the 5°F (-15°C) to 15°F (-9.4°C), while the days have mostly freezing temperatures. The presence of wind makes the conditions feel chillier than the actual temperatures. Sunshine is not at its strongest, and the February sun finds it hard to break the cloud cover. Rain averages 2" (50.8mm) to 3" (76.2mm) and resembles more of ice than water drops. Rutland, along state highway 4 in Southern Vermont has average temperatures in the 9°F (-12.8°C) to 32°F (0°C), while Burlington in Northern Vermont averages between 13°F (-10.6°C) to 31°F (-0.6°C). Lake Champlain, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States, is stiffly frozen and the rivers have a majority of ice covering. The Appalachian Trail and most of the other mountain trails remain closed in February. Ski-season draws a few visitors, and few resorts remain open to cater to the sports enthusiasts.
Weather in March
March is a cold month as the spring season tries to gain a footing in Vermont. The average high temperatures are 30°F (-1.1°C) to 40°F (4.4°C), while average low temperatures are in the cold range of 15°F (-9.4°C) to 25°F (-3.9°C). It is icy and cold along with a degree of dampness, as rain registers 3" (76.2mm) in the state - Southern Vermont is a little rainier than the northern part. Snow is plenty in March as the state records 15" (381mm) to 17" (431.8mm) in the majority of its regions. However, the snowpack is not as thick as during the winter months, and by mid-spring, the snow starts to melt everywhere. Saint Johnsbury in the north, on the junction of state highways 2 and 5, averages between 19°F (-7.2°C) to 41°F (5°C), while Readsboro in the extreme south is between 21°F (-6.1°C) to 40°F (4.4°C) - Vermont is a small state, which has temperature variations based on altitude rather than location. March is mostly like the tail of winter rather than the arrival of spring.
Weather in April
April lies during the spring season and has warm but wet conditions. The weather is unpredictable with sunny days in between cloudy skies as an occasional snowstorm manages to slip by during the spring. Temperatures during the day are between 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), while the nights are sometimes freezing but usually in the 35°F (1.7°C) to 40°F (4.4°C). Rain is significant and accumulates to the tune of 5" (127mm) in April. The snowfall decreases and mostly converts into the rain. It is an excellent opportunity for fishing as the lakes and rivers meltdown providing abundant freshwater. Late season skiers make to the legendary mountain slopes of Vermont for one last chance to enjoy the descent before the end of the ski season. Although it is warmer than the winter, April becomes muddy as the cold conditions recede and the snow thaws - avoid a visit to Vermont if possible during the month as black flies are almost everywhere.
Weather in May
May is a wonderful spring month with many sunny days in Vermont as the landscape blossoms with beautiful flowers and bathes in greenery. Late spring is delightfully warm as the average high temperatures are in the 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C) and the average low temperatures are in the 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C). Rain is to the tune of 3" (76.2mm) to 4" (101.6mm), but the conditions lean more towards the sunny side than cloudy ones as the daylight extends to 9 p.m. Humidity levels are relatively lesser compared to the peak months of summer. The aromatic fresh air of spring brings Vermont to life with festivals, farmer's markets, biking, trailing, fishing, and many more activities. The land bubbles with flora and fauna. Late spring is an excellent time to visit Vermont with plenty of sunshine, the smell of fresh air, water and soil and lots of maple syrup. Be sure to carry rain protection, as the weather is unpredictable and the rain catches people unaware many times!
Weather in June
June is summer in Vermont with moderately warm temperatures, a little rain and mostly sunny days. Rain is to the tune of 4" (101.6mm) to 5" (127mm) in the state and showers are unpredictable like the New England weather. Day temperatures are more on the warm than the hot side and usually range in the 65°F (18.3°C) to 75°F (23.9°C). Nights are comfortable and short during the summer, while temperatures are between 50°F (10°C) to 55°F (12.8°C). Rochester in Central Vermont averages a pleasant 50°F (10°C) to 75°F (23.9°C) in the early summer. Vermont follows Eastern Standard Time in late spring and summer when the clocks run one hour faster compared to late fall and winter to take advantage of the long spring and summer days. Summer draws tourists to the Green Mountains, state and national parks, mountain trails, historic sites of the state and is an ideal time for vacations - it is also the only period when weather permits to wear light clothes like sweatshirts, t-shirts, and shorts in Vermont!
Weather in July
July is easily the hottest month of the year in Vermont as the average high temperatures are up to 81°F (27.2°C). It is hot and humid with many days crossing 90°F (32.2°C), while the nights are pleasantly warm in the 55°F (12.8°C) to 60°F (15.6°C) range. While the rest of the state is hot like 56°F (13.3°C) to 81°F (27.2°C) in Woodstock, South Vermont, the mountains offer cool weather with Mount Mansfield between a temperate 52°F (11.1°C) to 65°F (18.3°C). It is a fantastic time for camping, biking, kayaking, and fishing among other activities - be aware of the rain, as it rains 5" (127mm) to 6" (152.4mm) in July. Do not expect discounts as it is the peak tourist season and there are crowds everywhere - It is profitable to visit at the boundary of the tourist season for budget travelers to get excellent discounts and more space. The humidity often rises to 70% in July and rain is unpredictable and intermittent rather than heavy. Thunderstorms are frequent, especially in the mountains, and it is a good idea to keep an eye on the weather.
Weather in August
August lies in the peak tourist season of Vermont when the temperatures are hot and humid with a sprinkling of wet conditions. The mercury is in the average high range of 70°F (21.1°C) to 80°F (26.7°C) during the day, while it drops to the pleasant 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C) range in the night. Sunny days often alternate with rainy conditions in between as August registers 4" (101.6mm) of rain across the state. The Ball Mountain Lake territory in Northern Vermont has pleasant weather in the 52°F (11.1°C) to 78°F (25.6°C) range with cool mornings and calm evenings. Mountain slopes and lakes provide refreshingly colder conditions compared to the lowlands. It is an ideal time to climb Vermont's highest peaks such as Mount Mansfield, Killington Peak, Camel's Hump and Mount Abraham or to enjoy the serene water of the lakes and rivers. August is generally the last month when the weather permits to wear light clothes.
Weather in September
September is the gateway to the colorful autumn season of Vermont with moderately warm temperatures and a touch of rain. Early fall has average high temperatures in the warm 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the mild 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C) zone. The skies are cloudy at times with humid weather that alternate with sunny conditions. Fall foliage is between early to peak colors in September, and it is a pleasant experience to drive through the scenic byways. The wilderness invites tourists in hordes to the mountains and a splash of wet weather to go along with it satiates the travel itch. Autumn is a fantastic time to visit Vermont with pleasant weather, comfortable days, and cozy nights. It is better to wear full sleeve clothing as the temperatures drop with the progress of the autumn and the rain is always on the doorstep. Check out the best fall foliage colors and places information, while planning a Vermont vacation in September!
Weather in October
October is usually the peak time of the fall foliage in Vermont. Temperate broadleaf, mixed forests, and conifers provide spectacular shades of colors during the autumn. The mountains provide a scenic backdrop while driving on the byways and roads during the autumn as the trees display orange, yellow, red, and golden colors. The average high temperatures tend to be comfortable in the day in the 55°F (12.8°C) to 60°F (15.6°C) range but the nights are cold in October, and the average low temperatures are between 30°F (-1.1°C) to 40°F (4.4°C). Cavendish in Southern Vermont averages between 32°F (0°C) to 59°F (15°C), while Newport in the north is between 35°F (1.7°C) to 54°F (12.2°C). The weather tends to be cloudy and wet, and rainfall is to the tune of 4" (101.6mm) to 5" (127mm). October sees the first snowflakes in the mountains, but it also has many sunny days. Vermont has many hunting grounds and wildlife for the purpose, and the autumn weather is perfect for hunting!
Weather in November
November is a transitional month from the autumn to the cold weather in Vermont that sees low temperatures in the state. Average low temperatures are in the 20°F (-6.7°C) to 30°F (-1.1°C), while the average high temperatures are between 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C). Saint Albans in the north averages 29°F (-1.7°C) to 44°F (6.7°C); Montpelier in the center is between 27°F (-2.8°C) to 44°F (6.7°C), while Bennington in the south averages a cold 30°F (-1.1°C) to 48°F (8.9°C). Rain is prevalent in most of the state and registers 3" (76.2mm) to 4" (101.6mm). The first snow accumulates in the lowlands and is usually to the tune of 5" (127mm) to 6" (152.4mm). The skies are cloudy most of the time with periodic patches of dry weather amid reduced sunshine and short days. November is an off-season for tourists as the weather is cold, the summer crowds have dispersed, and the shallow snowpacks in the mountains delay the start of the ski season. Additionally, the end of autumn is prone to cold fronts from the north, and it is not surprising to encounter an occasional snowstorm.
Weather in December
December is cold in Vermont with the average temperatures in the 14°F (-10°C) to 36°F (2.2°C) range. Rain is to the tune of 3" (76.2mm) to 4" (101.6mm) in the majority of the state with short days and limited sunshine. Snowfall is heavy and averages 15" (381mm) to 20" (508mm). Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain in Vermont, receives a massive 42" (1066.8mm) of snow and 6.8" (172.7mm) of rain in December. The weather conditions vary with altitude, but they are almost similar in the northern, central, and southern parts of the state. The ski-season starts with the first snow of the winter and December is usually white with snow in much of the state. Vermont needs very insulated winter clothes in the cold season - a few minutes of exposure of the skin to the severe cold can cause numbness of the skin. Winter has enjoyable activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snow tubing, among others, but it is only for a few brave souls. [Resources]
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