The snow is starting to pile up as the new jet stream regime is firmly entrenched across North America. The how and the when regarding the new snow remains a question and it got me to thinking about offensive philosophy's of various NFL football teams. Its a borderline ridiculous analogy but I am a victim of my own thought process. Many times in recent years, the Mad River Valley plays the west coast offense which relies on "dink and dunk" 3-6 inch snows during favorable patterns instead of getting the big play or 2 feet of powder all at once. Since we are playing from behind and its getting close to halftime we are in need of a big play to even the score or at least to ensure that my rock ski's remain in the basement where they belong. It has been a decadal phenomenon, or so it seems. In the 90's, much of interior Pennsylvania, New York and interior New England were the focus of the heaviest snow yet for much of this decade, the big storms have hit coastal areas harder while in many cases missing the interior locations thus forcing us to play the west coast offense. I was hoping that the juicy southern branch El Nino-fueled systems might reverse this recent trend but in the case of this year there hasn't been any trend because there hasn't been much in the way of storms.
The newly established ridge west/trough east scenario with arctic air on the playing field in an El Nino year is like pitching to David Ortiz in the 9th inning and throwing him all fast balls. At some point we got to connect ! The first opportunity comes Friday as an incoming Alberta Clipper system collides with a wave of low pressure moving up the coast. Models suggest that any phasing here occurs too late and that our new snow Friday will come from the more moisture-starved Clipper system. Once the phasing does occur, the storm will strengthen into quite a snow-producer across the Canadian Maritimes. One result of this will be that moisture gets wrapped around back into the St Lawrence Valley and down the northern half of the Green Mountain chain. Jay Peak often does very well off this type of set-up but areas farther south can also pick up a fair share fresh powder as well. Between Friday and Saturday, the mountain could easily pick-up 3-6 new inches of powder and no, there won't be any sleet mixing in. If the phasing can occur a bit sooner on Friday, our prospects for more snow would improve.
Still lots of potential with the early/middle part of next week
I have had my eyes on the early to middle part of next week for some time and for good reason. The southern branch is poised to spit a moisture-rich system out of the Rockies while at the same time, the polar jet is poised to re-amplify across the eastern United States. These two items may not be timed in perfect coordination but the ingredients for a major east coast system are in the mixing bowl. To further make the case for such an event would be to show how terribly the medium range models have dealt with the strength of the southern branch. The ice-storm in Texas, which is the major event of the winter so far was for the most part not on the medium range model radar screen at least not for 3 days in duration. It would be therefore easy to suggest that any southern branch system next week will also be mis-handled by guidance both in terms of strength and intensity. At this point the best way to look at the Monday-Wednesday time frame next week is in the form of best case/worst case. Best case being big storm and worst case being another Alberta clipper and a light accumulation. Hey, its another fast ball and another chance to hit one out.
Beyond the middle part of next week there are not any changes to discuss. The medium range models have oscillated on the intensity of the pattern but the ensembles which can act to filter out some of the statistical noise in the long range have remained consistent that the pattern remains golden at least through the rest of the month. Embedded within this period will be additional chances for storms but its difficult for me to speculate on what and when considering how much trouble we are having nailing this all down within a week. I always like to say, get the pattern right first and the rest takes care of itself and it certainly applies here.
The Quick Summary
New pattern to produce plenty of new snow, at least in small increments but the question remains can we hit one out and soon ?