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Sunday, April 27, 2008

The 2008 sign-off

I will start the finale by apologizing. I have been a bit MIA due to some extraneous events and a ridiculous amount of travel and I therefore was not able to report on the extended period of spring skiing during the first half of April. The blog wouldn't be complete however without a proper farewell and so I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy spring and summer.

The winter of 2007-2008 took many of us prognosticaters by surprise. At the surface it would seem that perhaps there was no surprise. Temperatures came in above average over a broad area of the eastern seaboard and most of the major metropolitan areas saw below average snowfall and in some cases well below average. Meanwhile the configuration of weather was consistent with that of a La Nina. All of those midwestern cities that have received so little snowfall year after year this decade suddenly saw a big seasonal total. So will I take the credit for getting all of this right ? No, I will not. In my seasonal prognostication, I drew way too many analogies to 2005-2006 and this winter deviated quite significantly from that forgettable catastrophe.

Even as temperatures averaged above the 30 year mean we call normal, a closer look at the behavior of actual weather reveals a somewhat different story. Let me put it simply by just saying that "the cold would not go down without a fight". It would in fact take more than one hand to count the amount of times that this want-to-be genius was selling the cold at a discount only to find that its actual worth was much greater. The warm forecast can be attributed to the snow cover in autumn (over a standard deviation below normal in the northern hemisphere). The cold weather could very well be attributed to the same variable - snow cover, which was close to a 30-year high in January (it took 3 months to completely reverse).

The cold came in handy on a number of occasions, providing us with the necessary ingredients for snow. It certainly was vital since the storm track was aimed right over interior New England as it often is during stronger La Nina winters. South of this storm track performed horribly this winter while north of this track performed quite well. Take a look at these snowfall totals for some selected cites.

Montreal, Quebec - 142 inches (169 % of average)
Burlington, VT - 100 inches (131 % of average)
Boston, MA - 51 inches (113 % of average)
Philadephia, PA - 6 inches (25 % of average)

In the the language of anomalies that is quite a contrast. In other words, some pain and suffering had to be endured by skiers/riders who stayed at Seven Springs or Snowshoe WV this year. Latitidude was key at we had it at MRG and this proved to save our season.

See everyone next winter !

Josh

4 comments:

Cliff Ageloff said...

Thanks Josh always a pleasure for us amateurs. Enjoy your summer

Prosen said...

Hey Nostradamus, can we get some thoughts on 08?

matt said...

josh, i hope you keep your blog up this season. It's a big help and very entertaining.

blink said...

Hey josh,
where is the 08/09 prognostication.
The snow is flyin and my skis are waxxed.
Whats up
David