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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Incredible December skiing was had but now we must face the adverse part of an adverse pattern

The wind was ferocious enough yesterday to add quite a bit of density to the powder Monday but it was nonetheless epic and I have some pics to prove it which i hope to post over the next few days. The "dark side of the force" is going to lash out in angry fashion over the next week or so and we will have to deal with the consequences and move on from there. The weather pattern's driving force has been a large ridge that has established itself over the northern Pacific Ocean up and through the Alaska-Russia go-between. This has helped place a serious amount of early season cold in Canada, so much so that when the month finishes out it may very well be one of the coldest months our friendly northern neighbors have seen this decade (collectively). This jet stream feature however has generally promoted snow out in the west and in the week of head we will see this type of trend become greatly amplified.

Two weather events over the next 5 days will bring mixed precip, rain and mild weather
For those looking to squeeze every drop out of this recent stretch of fantastic weather, look to grab some first tracks on Christmas Eve as it appears some snow of the overrunning variety may fall. As Wednesday progresses however the snow will give way to warmer temperatures and perhaps a bit of sleet or freezing rain. Until this happens however it won't be a bad day to ski. Temperatures will hover above the freezing mark Wednesday night and precipitation will fall as rain for a time before cold weather re-establishes itself on Christmas Day. We may see a little snow X-mas day but not enough to make for any serious powder.

My lack of enthusiasm stems mostly from the outlook for the weekend as it appears we will be unable to repel a huge surge of warmth which stems from a rapidly amplifying east coast ridge. A combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain (mostly the latter two) is likely late Friday evening. In the wake of this however will be at least a 24-hour stretch of above freezing temperatures and eventually a period of rain early Sunday. I do have some concern that temperatures could climb well into the 40's which when combined with a bit of rain could prove to be a bit of a low blow.

Improvements will be gradual going into New Years and then beyond but at least one of our important teleconnection indicators will make a shift. The North Atlantic Oscillation index which is one of the three indices to be on the more unfavorable side of zero will move into the more favorable category around New Years Day. From here the pattern will find it difficult to simply continue in its trough west/ridge east mentality and we should see our threat of big surges of warmth and rain diminish. The need for some additional new natural snow will be vital at this time and it seems as if the potential is there for a storm between the 3rd and 6th of the month. Get the pattern right and the rest takes care of itself. It appears we take some steps to do this but not until after new year.

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