Climate of Burlington, Vermont

Map of Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont, situated along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, is the state’s largest city and a vibrant cultural hub. The city’s climate is classified as a humid continental climate, characterized by four distinct seasons, including cold winters and warm summers. In this comprehensive overview, we will explore the geographical and climatic context of Burlington, its seasonal variations, temperature ranges, precipitation patterns, and the climatic factors that make this region unique.

Geographical and Climatic Context:

According to citiesplustowns, Burlington is located in the northwestern part of Vermont, nestled between the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east. Its climate is influenced by its geographical features and proximity to Lake Champlain:

  1. Lake Champlain Influence: Burlington’s location along the shores of Lake Champlain plays a significant role in shaping its climate. The lake’s moderating effect helps to mitigate temperature extremes, resulting in milder winters and cooler summers.
  2. Mountain Barriers: The presence of the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east impacts local weather patterns by trapping or redirecting air masses.
  3. Latitude: Burlington’s northern latitude contributes to a climate with distinct seasons and noticeable temperature variations.

Seasonal Variation:

  • Spring (March to May): Spring in Burlington is a season of awakening and renewal. Average high temperatures start in the 40s and gradually rise to the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (around 5-25°C) by May. Spring is marked by the melting of snow, budding trees, and blooming flowers.
  • Summer (June to August): Summers in Burlington are warm and pleasant. Average high temperatures in June range from the upper 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (around 26-30°C), while July and August often see average highs in the mid to upper 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (around 25-30°C). Humidity levels are relatively low, making for comfortable outdoor activities.
  • Autumn (September to November): Fall in Burlington is a favorite season for many residents and visitors. September still sees warm weather, with average highs in the 70s Fahrenheit (around 21-26°C). By November, the average high temperatures drop to the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit (around 4-15°C). Fall is known for its stunning foliage as the leaves on the deciduous trees change color.
  • Winter (December to February): Winters in Burlington are cold and snowy. Average high temperatures range from the 20s to 30s Fahrenheit (around -6 to -1°C). The city typically experiences a significant amount of snowfall, with snow cover common during the winter months. Cold snaps can bring temperatures well below freezing, occasionally reaching single digits or lower.

Temperature Extremes:

Burlington experiences notable temperature extremes, with cold winters and warm summers. Summer temperatures occasionally reach the upper 80s to low 90s°F (around 31-35°C), while winter temperatures can drop into the teens and occasionally even single digits or lower.

Precipitation Patterns:

Burlington experiences well-distributed precipitation throughout the year, with a combination of rain and snowfall:

  • Rainfall: The city receives an annual average of around 36 inches (91 cm) of precipitation. Rainfall is relatively consistent throughout the year, with some variation in summer. May, June, and July are typically the wettest months.
  • Snowfall: Burlington receives a significant amount of snowfall, with an annual average of around 81 inches (206 cm). Most of the snowfall occurs during the winter months, particularly in December, January, and February.

Climate Factors:

Several climatic factors influence Burlington’s weather patterns:

  • Lake Champlain Influence: The presence of Lake Champlain has a moderating effect on the city’s climate, leading to milder winters and cooler summers. It can also result in lake-effect snowfall during the winter.
  • Mountain Barriers: The Adirondack Mountains and Green Mountains play a role in trapping or redirecting air masses, influencing local weather patterns and contributing to the region’s climate diversity.
  • Northeastern Location: Burlington’s northeastern location means it can be affected by weather systems originating from Canada, the Atlantic Ocean, and the northeastern United States. This results in a climate with diverse weather conditions.

Climatic Impacts:

The climate of Burlington has various impacts on the city and its residents:

  • Recreation: Burlington’s climate provides opportunities for a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, including skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and water sports on Lake Champlain.
  • Agriculture: The climate impacts the growing season for local agriculture, with a shorter period due to the cool springs and early frosts in the fall.
  • Winter Sports: Burlington’s cold and snowy winters make it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, with nearby ski resorts and winter festivals.
  • Infrastructure and Preparedness: Burlington is prepared for winter weather, with snow removal and road maintenance. The city also takes measures to mitigate flooding during periods of heavy rainfall.

In summary, Burlington, Vermont, experiences a humid continental climate characterized by cold winters, warm summers, and a noticeable temperature range. The city’s proximity to Lake Champlain, mountainous terrain, and northeastern location contribute to a climate with distinct seasons and diverse weather conditions. While the climate can present challenges, such as a shorter growing season, it also offers a wide range of recreational opportunities and a beautiful backdrop of natural landscapes for its residents and visitors.

Map of Burlington, Vermont