Temperatures will climb to above average levels Saturday but will stay below the freezing mark. Light winds and limited sunshine will make conditions feel balmy relative to Thursday however where temperatures struggled to get into the single digits. By Sunday, afternoon sunshine will allow temperatures to soar to 40 degrees but we successfully avoid the rain for another weekend giving us the chance to enjoy the depth of our base which I consider quite a blessing especially when compared to the first January weekend of 2007 when we were dialing 9-1-1 for help.
Record breaking warmth and rain for Wednesday
The "R" word first enters the forecast Monday as a warm front marking the leading edge of the record breaking warmth hovers near the region. The front will allow clouds to cover much of the northern half of Vermont Monday there are indications of a period of light rain late in the day. The chances of such an occurance are still less than 50 percent and the threat should end on Tuesday although an update may be required to clarify the timing. Once the aforementioned warm front pushes into the Saint Lawrence Valley Tuesday we will feel the full force of the January thaw. It is a fairly powerful Bermuda High Pressue Center which will be working to pump some very warm air into the region. Forecasts are suggesting 40's for both Tuesday and Wednesday but I expect temperatures to touch 55 on one or both of these days. And then we feel the impact of a more organized system Wednesday. Amazingly, this particular system will track over the southern edge of the Hudson Bay (thats an unheard of lattitude for January), which, ironically enough, will prevent an all out monsoon. In the end, think the mountain gets less than a half an inch of rain from the system Wednesday but the extreme warmth combined with some strong southerly winds will do some damage to the base. Temperatures on Thursday and Friday will return to a modest 10 degrees above normal (It will be almost 30 above normal Wednesday) and it should stay mainly dry.
More Rain for the 12th/13th?
The question for the weekend of the 12th/13th is whether or not the rain train will have passed us by. The American Model is suggesting that perhaps that is the case but European suggests that the mountain may have to endure some serious pain (from some serious rain). I would love to be a fountain of optimism here but the prevailing pattern (trough west/ridge east) strongly endorses the idea that it will be very difficult for any storm system to pass south and east of MRG. The ensembles provide the concrete data advocating the above conclusion. There is a glimmer of hope and it will be worthwhile to check back in a few days but my loyal audience knows the faith I have in the European model. It is a bit early for a detailed guess but if if the rainy scenario does indeed playout then Sunday is the most likely day for the wash-out.
It is the American Model providing the ray of hope for the 12th/13th and it is the American Ensembles which provide a light at the end of the tunnel beyond the 13th. As discussed in earlier posts, we do expect changes in the northeast Pacific Ocean with a ridge replacing the persistent trough in the Gulf of Alaska. This will end the snow onslaught for a ski area like Whistler-Blackcomb and it will also allow some polar air to sneak back into the United States. If the ridge were to remain in the Gulf of Alaska, the cold and unsettled weather would be favored in the eastern Rocky Mountains. The American Model suggests that this ridge migrates eastward (turning the PNA positive) which would thus allow more seasonable temperatures to re-emerge in the northeast perhaps around the 15th of the month. Such a scenario would put my forecast of 10 degrees above over a 3 week period in jeopardy of busting and leaving us much happier by the end of January. It is again the European Ensembles saying "not so fast my friend" by insisting that the milder/less snow regime would continue through January 24th. I freely admit the love affair I have with the European but in this case I am encouraged by the AO and specifically its move into negative territory by late next week. If we can sneak back toward even a semi-normal regime by January 20th, my forecast of 200 inches of snow for the season would be toast. It is an up for grabs situation as of now but one which has hope.