New England's north country has been the focus of the latest U.S. outbreak of cold. By the end of the month, many places across Vermont which saw temperatures average 12 degrees above normal for the first half of January will finish only 3-5 above normal thanks the to the late month cold rally. We also have some much needed momentum heading into the all important skiing month of February, a month which appears will start in a big way and hopefully continue. This update will contain a quick and detailed look at the weekend and a glimpse into the next two weeks which will contain some important fundamental changes as we head toward the first weekend of February.
In the last post we discussed the weekend Alberta Clipper system which at this juncture is still on the radar screen. It will dive out of Canada as a powerful jet impulse but will lose some potentcy by the time its effects are felt over Vermont. The system will spread clouds into the Green Mountain chain during the day Saturday and light snow will develop during the afternoon. The many forecasts I have seen up here are saying a 50 percent chance of snow showers or a "few snow showers" but I expect a significant period of light snow out of this system in spite of its weakening. By Sunday morning the mountain itself should squeeze at least 2-5 inches out of the limited available moisture but check the local NWS forecasts for updates Saturday morning. There is the concern of course about the intense cold weather but this should peak across all of New England Friday with a temperature moderation for the weekend; in fact, both days should top out in the teens and with less wind relative to Friday.
Slight pattern shift and meaningful results
The pattern from the perspective of the wide-angle-lens will change little over the next 10-14 days but there is a subtle and important shift next week involving the position of jet stream features which will impact MRG greatly by the first weekend of February. The focus of the cold which determined by the mean position of the trough will shift from New England late this weekend and early next week to the Midwest by the first of February. The pattern will on the overall still be dominated by cold over a broad area of eastern North America but the extreme cold will focus on the upper Midwest while below normal temperatures are more "garden-variety-like" across New England. The shifting of the mean position of the trough will better make use of the baraclinicity created by the Atlantic Ocean which is a better way of saying that approaching storms will pull Atlantic Ocean moisture deep into New England more effectively. The end result ? Well, I think there will be one to two significant weather systems leading to snow which will prove worthy of discussion in the next update. The first will occur leading up the weekend as the initial Midwest trough amplification occurs around February 1st. Subsequent to that will be another chance for a significant storm system around the 4th or 5th. I am obviously getting a bit ahead of myself but its exciting to watch the pattern engineer what I hope will be a historic comeback for us.
The Quick Summary
Light snow leading to an accumulation this weekend and then a subtle shifting in the pattern should bring the chance for much bigger things in early February.