To put it bluntly, the forecast for the week ahead is god awful. What is worse for me however is being forced to watch a bad movie twice. The movie I am referring to is January of 2006. Going up to Waitsfield in early February of that year and witnessing the snow completely liquidated in the valley was nothing short of traumatic and the necessary therapy didn't arrive until February 2007. I might be accused by some of having "January of 2006 phobia" since a few weeks ago I had some legitimate concerns of a repeat. It was for good reason since there were some glaring and very scary looking fundamentals working against us. The pattern going forward however appears quite different than what it did both in early January of 2006 or in early December of the same year. In spite of having to endure some serious pain this week from two rain events, the pattern going forward after January 13th appears more promising and if nothing else will make some of the proclamations made by yours truly to ring false.
Rain Event #1
There are very few changes to make concerning the next few days. There are a few areas of rain which may at times accompany the above freezing temperatures on Monday. Most of the rain will be out of the picture for Tuesday and limited amounts of sunshine will allow temperatures to reach 50 degrees, at least at the base. Winds will increase out of the south Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and temperatures will remain very mild and perhaps turn even milder Wednesday morning. And then the rain arrives. It will total a half inch or less and last for 6 hours or less. Temperatures will turn colder by the evening which is to say that we will see readings return to below freezing levels Wednesday night which is a far cry from normal. We may also see an inch or two of snow by Thursday morning.
Rain Event #2
The second rain event will stem from a system which will track from the plains on Thursday to the St Lawrence valley by late Friday. With this system, most of central and northern Vermont will stay out of the storms warm sector. It won't prevent rain from falling but it should ensure that readings to stay out of the 40's for an extended period of time. We may actually see a period of freezing rain during the initial hours of precipitation time during the day Friday. Although Saturday's weather will feature colder temperatures and perhaps a minimal accumulation of snow I can assure you that it will follow another quarter to three-quarters of an inch of rain.
Sunday will mark the end of our troubles at least for the time being. The teleconnection indices are all neutral in the period from the 13th to the 20th of the month and there indications of a slight ridge west/trough east jet stream configuration. This is far from the ideal but January of 2006 it is not. There are no indications of high latitude blocking which is a necessary ingredient for prolonged cold weather but with a mean trough in the eastern or central part of the U.S. we can at least be exposed to some winter weather and a few powder days. The first such powder could arrive as early as Monday (Jan 14th) according to the medium range model guidance. Clipper systems later in the week add some serious sex appeal to the weekend of the 19th and 20th.
The last 10 days of January appears very much up in the air. With out any blocking in the jet stream and a relatively strong Pacific Jet (which remains the indication even on the 20th of January) it will be a serious challenge for below normal temperatures to sustain for more than a few days at a time. Keeping the mean trough position out of the west however (which is the case currently) would keep us out of the way of any more rain.