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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Storm will disappoint but plenty of new snow will fall anyway

The single chair blog has a new background (thanks for the feedback), a new picture (thanks to the google image search) and now all we need is new snow. We did find a little of that Wednesday Night to freshen things up but I have set the bar high for the weekend and we would like it to deliver. A storm is gathering strength in the southeast and is preparing to take a take its moisture up the coast. Snow enthusiasts had high hopes for this storm but in spite of its rich moisture, it is weak dynamically and will fail to make much of a dent in the overwhelming strength of the polar jet gripping the country. This storm is like me taking my canoe across a flooded and raging river. I might make to the other side but by the time I do I will be way downstream. Fortunately for us, we have other important factors working in our favor which should make up what was lost with this storm and most importantly conspire to create a fantastic ski weekend.

Winter Storm update
The aforementioned storm is actually not a total loss. It will provide many of the east coast cities with a quick hit of snow, ice or rain Thursday Night into Friday before exploding in the Canadian Maritimes. Although Central and Northern Vermont will stay out of the way of the deep moisture, computer guidance does suggest that the precipitation shield will expand into the region for a time beginning either during the late morning or early afternoon Friday. The last National Weather Service forecast for the region suggested as much predicting snow for Friday afternoon (accumulation around an inch). On the mountain itself it is still reasonable to expect a few inches, lets say 2-4, by late Friday evening.

Weekend new snow update
Whatever snow does fall Friday will be followed by a break in activity associated with an area of subsidence which I eluded to in the last post. Forecast soundings suggest that this occurs Saturday morning and would therefore mean that the few inches which falls Friday and Friday evening will account for any re-freshening by first tracks time on Saturday morning. It will quickly get interesting though as the day progresses. As the polar vortex drops south toward the Great Lakes, the relative warmth of the lakes will induce or maintain a very slow moving low pressure center. This feature will help align the winds for what should be a fun terrain induced snow event beginning during the day Saturday and lasting through most of the day Sunday. There will be heavier bursts of snow as meso-scale surface waves swing through the north country. By Sunday evening, the three-day snow total could still very well exceed 10 inches. I would be inclined to be a bit bolder on the snow totals except the winds will be west-southwesterly this weekend which takes the Champlain enhanced stuff up toward Jay Peak. MRG also gets shadowed somewhat by the Adirondack mountains although Lake Ontario and even Lake Erie moisture has been known to re-emerge over Stark Mountain after missing the Champlain valley. Temps by the way will be in the teens Saturday and single numbers Sunday. In spite of the cold and the wind on Sunday, I think it will be the best ski day of the year.

Next Week: Cold but will snow showers continue
Next week will be dominated by cold weather not only in Vermont but across much of the eastern two thirds of the country. High temperatures on the mountain during the Monday through Thursday period will struggle to climb above zero and there will be wind to deal with all of the days. No organized storm system is expected to impact the region in this aforementioned period but snow showers may or may not be a factor through a good part of next week. The question relates back to what I refer to as the Lake Ontario cold axis which often divides New England during severe cold waves. Cold weather can enter Vermont either from a region south of or over the Great Lakes. This type of cold weather contains more moisture more instability and is rarely record-breaking. The cold which pushes in from eastern Canada is more stable and can be record breaking. The former usually is accompanied by terrain induced snow showers the latter is a dry and stable cold. Models at this time suggest the former and a continuation of snow showers through the first half of next week. I remain skeptical and think snow showers shut off for a time after Monday. I'll have an answer by late this weekend for sure.

Longer view relatively unchanged
The longer range involves the weekend of the 10th/11th and beyond. Much below normal temperatures are still likely to prevail through at least February 12th thus taking us through next weekend. Although arctic air masses will continue to drill deep into the U.S. the relaxing of the polar jet, which will begin late next week may allow for another shot at an organized storm system in the next weekend time frame. Whether it be from a garden variety Alberta Clipper or something else, it will at the very least, produce another long-winded weather discussion by yours truly. This so-called Polar Jet relaxing will continue in to the middle part of February but some key teleconnection indicators, such as the AO, remain favorable and have me of the opinion that we stay out of any adversity through Presidents Day although its is very, very early.

The Quick Summary
New snow mainly from terrain effects and not the storm will create a great weekend of skiing, possibly the best day of the year Sunday. Very cold weather still on the horizon for next week.