Think Snow, Tweet Snow !!!

Friday, February 29, 2008

More powder for Saturday

Next week however is next week. Saturday is Saturday. The clipper responsible has more moisture at its disposal than most systems of its kind and it will strengthen considerably once it begins interacting with the Atlantic Coast. Precipitation will arrive around 7 or 8 pm Friday evening and will fall at a moderate clip for a good portion of the night. There is no doubt this snow will be powder in character and by first tracks time Saturday I think we have 4-8 inches for our skiing pleasure. Additional light snow Saturday morning is capable of bringing an additional inch or two before snow tapers off and skies clear. The warm late February sun will warm temperatures to near 30 at the base in spite of blustery conditions. Sunday's temps will be similar with less wind. If there is a snow softening, it will only be for a very brief time during the afternoon and only at the base.

Adversity strikes again early next week

Only in New England is it possible to get temperatures in the single numbers followed by rain within 24 hours. There are other regions of the world where this happens but its a regular occurrence in Vermont and is likely again Monday into Tuesday. The early March trouble spot has been documented on the SCWB and it results from the re-energized Pacific which will re-center the snow in the interior west albeit temporarily.

There are two systems in play here. The first takes an awful track deep into Canada although thankfully it lacks moisture and precipitation should be limited to a few showers Tuesday morning. The second system takes direct aim at us and arrives from the Gulf of Moisture with lots of moisture to work with. We desperately need some cold air to get involved though model guidance seems quite cynical on that idea. I think it would be pre-mature to write-off the system completely at this point since we have seen some 11th hour rescue efforts like the one we had in early February. A subsequent update will have the details all ironed out and maybe at that point I will have better news.

Better news for the weekend of the 8th/9th

The teleconnection indices aren't exactly lined up for glory later next week but we will see a western ridge build very quickly which will prove to be enough for a favorable outcome beginning March 6th. The pattern appears most amplified around the time of March 7th and March 8th which corresponds to the time when we have our best chance for more snow either from an organized weather system or instability/TIS. The ridge west/trough east regime appears to be a 4-5 day event which would stretch to March 10th. Without greater support from some of the more underlying fundamentals such as the AO or NAO I would not count on it continuing indefinitely.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

18-30 inches by Thursday morning still applies

And the snow will begin within a few hours of noon on Tuesday. For several hours, it will be of the light variety and quite possibly the wet variety at the base of the mountain as temperatures hover a few degrees below freezing. It gets interesting with the onset of darkness Tuesday as a very impressive and intense area of vertical motion envelops all of northern Vermont. The snow will intensify dramatically and much of the accumulating snow from this system will fall in an 8-hour window prior to Wednesday morning. By first tracks time Wednesday, I expect 12-18 inches of powder to play in with temperatures in the middle to upper 20's.

The snow will slacken in intensity as temperatures cool throughout the day Wednesday but will not taper off completely and should continue into Wednesday night. Atmospheric profiles during the day do not reveal an unstable environment necessarily Wednesday but they do reveal very moist conditions stretching well up into the troposphere. Even a minimal amount of atmospheric lift combined with the little help from the Green Mountains should provide for a light but steady snowfall for an extended period of time. Enough for the additional 6-12 necessary to get the snowfall into the predicted range. Most importantly, the snow should be enough to provide for another powder day Thursday. If your thinking about wind, it will pick up in intensity late Wednesday and conditions will be quite blustery throughout the day Thursday. If your thinking about temperatures, readings will drop through the 20's Wednesday and will be closer to 10 on Thursday.

The leap year Alberta Clipper is also still in line to deliver for the weekend. Snow from this should arrive Friday evening and provide at least a few inches of powder for the ski day Saturday. It looks like we got some of the best skiing of the year over the next 5 days and there is no better place to enjoy it than MRG.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Here we go !!! Big mid-week dump is now in the making !!!!

And after another in a long lists of February 2008 busts late last week it will be good to focus on the next few days. Hey, I have taken so many different positions on the pattern and some of the storm systems within the pattern that I am worse than a politician. Like every good forecaster though, I can always claim victory since if you say enough different things at enough different times then you are bound to be right about something. I am thinking specifically of another famed forecaster that operates in the private in the sector (who will remain nameless), but proves that it gets worse when meteorologists go corporate on us. In my case, at least I put on the brave face and admit the inherent deficiencies of forecasting. All kidding aside, this has been a somewhat trying year on the weather front and particularly on the long range front. It is also quite a contrast to last year when the season was split in half between the unfavorable start and the favorable finish.

Winter storm bash
Once again, after a somewhat challenging week for MRG, we do a 180 and prepare for an epic week as the pattern amplifies once again only this time the ampflication will have us rock'n in the free world (credit - Neil Young) rather than flooded at the basebox (don't believe there is a song written for that thank god). Flurries could start Monday as the mountain sits just to the south of a sharp arctic boundary situated over Quebec. Some of this cold over the eastern Canadian provinces will play an instrumental roll in this upcoming storm as it will become entrained into the intensifying system during the middle of the week. This exciting looking storm system will make its exit from the southern Rockies Monday and will take a path up the Ohio Valley Tuesday. As opposed to last week, this system will take a more eastward trajectory as the pattern amplification proceeds. The storm will therefore make good use the Atlantic Coast and will deliver a major winter storm to all of interior New England as it continues to intensify northeast of Cape Cod.

The details including the possibility of 3 powder days
I would not be surprised to see a small accumulation of snow early Tuesday but the snow will begin in earnest during the day. Temperatures will not be especially chilly during the ski day and the snow will be of the wet variety at some of the lower elevations. As the evening progresses the snow will intensify and temperatures will begin to cool. The big question concerns the position of the moist conveyor. Although the storm will take a favorable track, MRG is positioned at the southern edge of the zone of heaviest snow and a dry slot is likely to envelop southern areas of the state during the night. This is the biggest uncertainty at this point and if we can assume the "no dry slot" solution then we are in line for an additional foot of powder by dawn on Wednesday. Even a dry slot however won't prevent a powder day on Wednesday. It also won't prevent wrap-around and terrain-enhanced snowfall which will continue through Wednesday into Wednesday night and make for another powder day Thursday. I think it is fair to say that a 3-powder day week is epic and is also quite achievable this week particularly if we can get some accumulating snow early enough in the day Tuesday. As for accumulations this is the preliminary guess.

By Tuesday morning: Around an inch
By Tuesday evening: 2- 4 inches
By Wednesday first tracks: 8-14 inches
By Wednesday evening: 5-10 inches
By Thursday first tracks: 2-4 inches

This makes for a storm total of 18-30 inches.

More snow for the weekend ? You know it !!
We will have some colder weather and wind to deal with late in the ski day Wednesday and into Thursday including well below zero wind chill values. The window of dry weather which will begin later Thursday will be a brief one however as a weaker clipper-like system dives into the Great Lakes Friday. The track of this system is still somewhat up in the air but precipitation-type will remain snow and the only question involves how much between Friday night and Saturday. This will be followed by a quick re-enforcing shot of arctic chill which will dominate through the duration of the weekend.

Long Range
A few days ago I had mentioned the possibilities of some challenges for early March which results from the re-strengthening of the jet in the Pacific. This remains the case and both milder weather and non-snow/non frozen precipitation are possible early next week. The most consistent thing about this winter has been its inconsistency and the ensembles do show that even the re-strengthening of the jet in the Pacific will be a temporary feature and may give way to something better late in the week.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Friday's system hits the upright and deflects right so we look to next week for help

This has been a rough week for MRG and a rough couple of weeks for the yours truly in terms of getting an handle on some of the madness. I had originally expected much better things from Monday's washout and was very optimistic about the TIS for Tuesday and Wednesday. We did get some but most of the action was to the south as resorts in Pennsylvania and West Virginia picked up several inches. Don't bother getting jealous though, those guys have had it very rough this winter in a region where La Nina is typically very unforgiving. I expect to see a few inches of the fresh stuff blown around the mountain Thursday but it will be a chilly and blustery day with temperatures struggling to reach the teens. We should see some clouds on Friday but the accmulating snow will be confined the the big metros like New York and Boston as the storm system responsible will fail to make any real northward progression. This storm appears as if it will remain a disorganized and broken entity but if one of the two significant pieces becomes more organized it could spread some snow in to northern Vermont even as late as Saturday. My advice though is to keep your expectations low since model guidance seems convinced across the board that this one goes wide right.

Weekend breakdown
The chance for any light snow diminishes as Saturday progresses but it does remain cold with temps in the low 20's. Sunday morning will be quite cold with temperatures below zero in the morning but warming to as high as 30 at the base during the afternoon with minimal winds. A few inches of snow Wednesday night and then an inch or two more Friday or Saturday would do wonders for what appears to be a pleasant weather weekend to be out though that projection is optimistic.

Time to focus on next week and its potential
The weekend cold modifies on Monday and the higher February sun could soften things up a bit Monday afternoon. Arctic cold will remain over central and northern Quebec and there is some serious disagreement on whether or not that gets into the mix during the middle of the week. This is a vital question as it looks like we are in line for another close call from the upcoming pattern amplification on Tuesday/Wednesday. This gets a bit technical but some of the forecast upper air charts look favorable late on Tuesday because they suggest that arctic air could envelop the interior New England prior to the approach of a developing storm system. At face value the medium range models are in their various camps saying many things as far as outcomes go. The consensus of information suggests that the storm, which will crank itself up across the central Plains, will take a less than desirable track but with enough cold air we could turn the argumentative into something very good. Terrain induced snow late Wednesday and Thursday could add to the potential good fortune. There is a long way to go and many bridges to cross before a verdict is reached as always.

Early March ???

What is more discouraging right now is early March. La Nina has been such a nuisance in the Pacific and it looks to be at it again by the first weekend of March. We are seeing a weakening of this pesky jet stream right now and it justifies some serious positive vibes for next week. By the first of the month the energy in the Pacific appears to re-consolidate and thus present more challenges for us going forward. In addition is the Arctic Oscillation. We fought so hard to get this index into the negatory but the expectation now is for the AO to go strongly positive again by late next week. Wish I had better news but it is what it is. Fortunately, the long range has been highly unpredictable this year with weeks with bad appearances turning out good and vice versa.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Flooding at the basebox ?? That is quite enough of that !!

Hopefully the staff can pull some heroics and rectify that situation quickly. In the meantime things are looking up as conditions in the lower part of our troposphere destabilize in the cooling air. The weather service has a 40 percent chance of snow showers in the forecast but for Tuesday and Wednesday it will be a question where you are in Vermont's undulating terrain. MRG of course sits in the 1800 to 3800 foot zone in the cross section of Vermont which will prove quite advantageous. Flurries should evolve into heavier snow showers on Tuesday. Subsequent to that will be the arrival of an arctic boundary, a reinforcing shot of arctic cold and more snow showers for Wednesday. It is very difficult to say how much snow the mountain can accumulate in the 48 hours ending Thursday morning but I will venture to say 5-10. Cities like Burlington or St Johnsbury are likely to see less than an inch. The best chance to catch the fresh powder still appears to be Wednesday morning following a likely couple of inches late Tuesday and Tuesday night. Thursday will be the coldest day of the week with temperatures below zero in the morning and struggling to warm to 10 during the afternoon.

So its on to Friday and another forecast challenge as subtropical moisture works itself into the cold airmass. This appears to be a classic overrunning front-runner and one that is capable of treating New England quite well. As for MRG it is a question of track, track and more track. The developing low has been forecast by the models to track anywhere from over the Adirondacks to over southern New Jersey and thus the results are still up for debate. A consensus of indications is for some snow during the day on Friday (a few inches worth anyway) and a potential powder day for Saturday but the range of possibilities includes everything from dry weather on Friday/Friday night to a snow to sleet outcome. We should see below normal temperatures linger on Saturday before readings moderate Sunday .


I am still somewhat encouraged by the early to middle part of next week but it appears as if another major jet amplification will put a big stamp on the Monday to Wednesday time frame. Ultimately, I think that new snow will be the result during the middle part of next week but a more organized system during the early part of the week could be seen as a friend or foe depending on the track it decides to take. Stay tuned on this one because we could see anything from a repeat of this past Monday to a bit tiem powder producer.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Next shot of powder comes during the middle of next week

Though we came out of Friday quite well off thanks to the squalls associated with the passing arctic boundary. We also came out of Friday quite cold but as us veterans of New England weather already know, cold weather doesn't guarantee you anything as far as getting all snow out of the next weather system. I can in fact remember a storm in the late 90's where temperatures plummated to -30 F in a few places only to rise 65 degrees in less than 36 hours as snow changed to a heartbreaking rain. This is not the kind of New England weather drama that pushes my buttons but we will have to deal with it unfortunately as our President's Day system is set to track from near Corpus Christi Texas to Flint Michigan. The coastal redevelopment of this low pressure center does not appear as it will happen either and as a result, any snow on Sunday evening will change to freezing rain and ultimately rain early Monday morning. Temperatures will climb to as high as 40 during the day Monday and southerly winds will do some damage to the base. Precipitation will then end later Monday and sinking motion in the immediate wake of the storm will probably keep MRG snow-free Monday night.

Wednesday & Thursday have promise
That gets us through the hard part and although Tuesday does not look like a powder day, the white stuff should be in the air by the afternoon. As discussed in the last update, the pattern amplification allows for a pocket of instability which should begin impacting the mountain later Tuesday. The result will be TIS and the snow showers should accumulate to at least a few inches by Wednesday morning. Even more encouraging is the appraoching disturbance or clipper system later Wednesday which could enhance the snow and provide additional accumulations for the mountain by Thursday. So as bad as Monday appears, we still could be in line for back to back powder days on Wednesday and Thursday if everything goes according to my idealogical plan.

Next Weekend and beyond
Along with some fresh powder, Thursday will also bring another reinforcing shot of arctic cold thus making it the coldest day of the week. And as if on cue, another mild push of air will arrive on its heels as a storm system in the plains moves northeast. The track of this next organized system is still somewhat uncertain but it apppears as if some snow can be provided during the day on Friday. The outcome later Friday and into the weekend still needs to be sorted out over the next few days. We could just be optimists and say the weekend has potential but the pattern next weekend will consist of a trough in the western states and a ridge in the east which means we are already facing a stiff headwind. After the weekend, the pattern still appears to take a turn for the much better thanks largely to the indications of several different areas of high latitude blocking and a potential splitting of our pesky Pacific Jet Stream.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A shift in expectations for Presidents Day

All the significant news relates to Monday's storm and until then there are no significant changes to report. An arctic boundary arrives during the middle of the day tomorrow and there is a weak weather system which is associated with this front that passes to the north. Mad River will not receive much in the way of moisture from this storm but snow showers late on Friday could dust the mountain with upwards of an inch or two. Very cold weather then arrives on northwest winds on Friday night. Winds will gradually diminish by later in the day Saturday but temperatures will struggle to get past zero on the mountain. Sunday will be more comfortable with temperatures reaching the 20's and light winds as sunshine in the morning yields to a high overcast.

President's Day

The news for Monday isn't good. As expected, the pattern will become highly amplified with a ridge in the jet stream stretching from the West Coast up through the Yukon and a developing trough in the middle of the country. Highly amplified patterns however are good for some and bad for others and although it is quite typical that the amplifications are favorable for east coast locations it isn't always the case. As for Monday, the ridge/trough axis will develop too far to the west and will thus force this once promising looking storm system to track from the Gulf of Mexico, west of the Appalachian Mountains and into the Great Lakes. In terms of actual weather, this translates to snow late on Sunday which quickly changes to sleet and then freezing rain and possibly rain for Monday. One thing that is rather surprising or alarming to me about this situation is that models are currently suggesting nothing in the way of coastal redevelopment. Northward progressing warm air is often nipped in the bud but such an occurrence and we did see indications of this a few days ago but much less so now. I am holding out hope because an unabated move toward milder temperatures in storm systems such as these is the exception rather than the norm. At the very least however, snow or ice is going to be difficult to avoid on Monday and the possibility of rain does exist.

Mid-Week
We are set up better for Tuesday as the low pressure center responsible for our potentially difficult situation on Monday strengthens over Quebec leaving a pool of much colder and unstable air in its wake across both New York and New England. We should see snow showers throughout the day as a result and although it is quite uncertain as to amounts, at least some accumulations are possible. A weak clipper system on Wednesday may also bring some additional lighter snows to northern Vermont and this will be followed by colder temperatures again on Thursday.

Long Range
The southeast ridge shows life again toward the weekend of the 23rd and 24th and will mean a northward push of mild temperatures. I know it doesn't sound thrilling but the warm advection associated with this push may mean some additional snow for Friday and it remains to be seen whether the mild weather will ever gain a foothold in Northern New England during the weekend. Toward the end of the month the ensembles are showing much more in the way of blocking at high latitudes and action in the mid-latitudes but its difficult at to pinpoint exactly when such a trend would translate into actual results for the mountain and it might not be until after the 24th.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Snow is piling up and so is the potential going into the Presidents Day holiday !!!

Over the course of this winter, arctic air has proven to be formidable ally for us and I bring it up because I gave it no credit going into the winter. I cited the snow cover area for the northern hemisphere and I could technically claim that the relationship held up since temperatures have averaged above normal. In reality though the arctic cold has proved to be a force and has saved MRG from a few big predicaments the biggest of which was last week. The mainly positive AO and the unusually strong Pacific Jet could have resulted in many catastrophes but I think its fair to say that those have been minimized. This week is another example. There was a huge buildup of cold across Canada during much of the past week and it has overwhelmed a marginal pattern.

Powder for your Wednesday

It will be dry during the day Tuesday and all will be calm in advance of an approaching storm system. I wouldn't describe the jet stream as having split necessarily but as we move toward the later part of the winter season we are seeing multiple currents in the jet stream. Energy within this southern current will tap the Gulf and the Atlantic and thus will bring a significant area of moisture northward into Vermont. The storm will not take the dream track and it looked for a time that precipitation might go from snow to freezing rain but not so anymore. This is now an all snow situation (just barely) and the snow should begin during the evening Tuesday and continue for a good portion of the night and into first tracks time Wednesday morning. How much powder will you be dancing in while waiting for the single chair to open ? 7-10 inches but an additional few inches are likely by mid morning before snow tapers off. The Weather Service is suggesting a chance for lighter snows throughout the day but I will also say that I think a dry slot could cut the snow off fairly abruptly during the morning.

Weekend appears quite cold
Thursday will be a touch on the windy side seasonable below freezing temps will keep the fresh powder in place. Meanwhile, lots of jet energy is gathering and conspiring in the southern part of the Rockies and will prove to be a big player in our weather going forward into the weekend. The system will in fact split with a piece heading our way Friday and bringing a period of light snow and perhaps a few inches. Behind this initial and more benign low pressure area will come a direct attack of cold from the arctic. As it turns out, this cold will be the strongest of the season since it will not take the scenic, south of the Great Lakes" route but will instead arrive straight out of Quebec. Be prepared for temps to be below zero throughout the day Saturday along with wind which are conditions ripe for the cold wax. Sunday morning will be bitterly cold but winds will have diminished and readings should reach the teens in the afternoon which to be honest is quite comfortable when you pounded in the MRG bumps.

The big storm potential on Presidents Day

Yes there are big things potentially in the works for Presidents Day. The second and more significant piece of the aforementioned storm system will back the trucks into the Gulf of Mexico and transport some serious moisture northeastward toward us. Bring it on indeed but the indication is that the storm is not too convicted as to whether it wants to track east or west of the Appalachian Mountain spine. This is a very important question but to say this storm has potential is almost an understatement since it arrives in a very amplifying pattern. Yes, the Pacific Jet is dead or at least temporarily wounded next week and it will be our turn to get the bulk of the action. At the very least there will be snow accumulations late Sunday or early Monday and some additional TIS accumulations Monday night or Tuesday. What happens in between are the details that are still being fought over. At this time I think a period of sleet or a dry slot is about the worst we could see but stay tuned because a change in the systems expected track could alter expectations quite dramatically.

Jupiter and beyond the infinite ?? Actually its more like the rest of next week

So a few days ago I had left Presidents Week as a big ??? But we now have huge ridge west/trough east situation which will keep us out of harms way through at least Thursday I think. Monday is our storm potential anything after that will be from TIS or a passing clipper. I would also expect below normal temperatures and some wind on at least two of the days next week which means high temperatures between 5-15 and low temperatures below zero. The weekend of the 23rd and 24th might consist of more moderate temperatures and what appears to be an absence of big storms but a passing clipper could bring some additional snow. Its early though so clarifications and changes are likely.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sunday's powder prospects, some storm potential for next week - things are looking up at MRG

The Saturday/Sunday skinny on the powder is as follows. A weather system will race east through Canada and strengthen thanks to a deepening east coast trough and a southward plunge of arctic air. The system appears somewhat like an Alberta Clipper although it originated over the Northwest Pacific and has been responsible for some epic snow conditions in the Canadian Rockies. MRG will share in the good fortune however. In spite of the limited available moisture, we will see snow begin close to midday on Saturday with a light accumulation possible before lift closing. The passing of the storm will allow conditions to become quite unstable over the Green Mountains and certainly ripe for a period of TIS (upslope snow). The period of deepest instability is limited and the incoming arctic cold on Sunday will act to suppress some of the snow showers by later Sunday afternoon. Nonetheless, we should see 6-10 new inches of snow for first tracks time Sunday and a few inches during the day will bring the weekend total to 8-12. Temps will be in the 20's with limited wind on Saturday. On Sunday temperatures will begin the day in the high teens and drop from there. The wind on Sunday will become a factor. I do not want to get into the business of predicting wind holds but wind chills will be below zero.

Controversy/confusion during the middle of next week
It will be quite chilly Monday and Tuesday although not record breaking since the arctic chill will be modified somewhat by the unfrozen Great Lakes. Look for high temperatures in the teens with low temps below zero Monday and Tuesday. Then comes the controversy as the European and Canadian models indicate some serious snow potential Wednesday and Thursday while the American model shows some light snow Tuesday but with the main avenue of moisture remaining south of MRG during the middle of the week. This marks another in a rather crazy transition from the thinking a few days ago where it looked as if we could be in for trouble. The ensembles in fact are yielding a warm signal for the period Wednesday to Friday but as was the case this week, arctic air is proving to be a formidable ally this year (much more than I expected). The cold hasn't been enough to send temperatures below normal but the cold which has prevailed across much of Canada the past two weeks is strong enough to throw the expected pattern into Chaos and turn a would be rain storm into powder (realize that it was 70 degrees in NYC with dewpoints of 55 so the danger was very real). In concluding, I am obviously somewhat uncertain but always love to go with the European when such disagreements arise so the storm potential is real and more powder is a possibility particularly on either Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

Presidents Week Speculation (I don't have much for you here, sorry)
The other nice thing about late next week is that the AO is expected to go slightly negative thus encouraging a southward movement of arctic air into the mid-latitudes. We will see the positive results of this late next week into the weekend. After that there are no real strong signals for Presidents Week. The indices appear neutral. The Pacific appears more active than I would like (but it has all year). The indication according to the ensembles is that there are no signals of below or above normal temperatures. So the moral of the story is that we should be happy that we are making out so well in the short term and will continue to do so (it appears) through next week thus setting us up nicely for February 16th and 17th.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Storm totals could reach as high as 16-24 inches by late tomorrow

The moisture plume is colliding nicely with the northern half of the Green Mountains and now that temperatures have cooled, powder should be in abundance by first tracks tomorrow. Take a day because because much of the mountain will have over a foot unskied snow tomorrow morning and with light to moderate snow continuing for much the day the storm totals could approach 2 feet by late tomorrow. No changes for the weekend as snow still seems likely from late in the day Saturday through Sunday.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Huge turnaround as MRG now to get two significant events prior to the end of this weekend !!!

First let me apologize for the incomplete status of the last update. As it turns out we need another update to do the Wednesday/Thursday time frame some justice. And this situation continues to evolve faster than us prognosticators can issue updates from airports.

We pulled an Indiana Jones !!!
As for Wednesday and Thursday. It continues to change and in a way that greatly benefits MRG. We indeed pulled a big time Indiana Jones ! A low level push of cold air has taken hold of much of the northern half of the state Wednesday night and will bring readings to below freezing levels by morning. It will take a bit longer for below freezing temperatures to prevail at all levels of the atmosphere but this is expected to occur during the day Wednesday. The result is an incredible shift in the forecast compared to that of 4 days ago. Precipitation will re-develop as a snow/sleet mixture during the morning before going to all snow and accumulating during the afternoon. Extrapolating the areas of moisture from one place to another would suggest that most of the snow will fall during the late afternoon, evening and then through much of Thursday. This means that Thursday is the big winner with colder temps continued snowfall and lots of powder already on the ground. We should get a few inches of snow by late Wednesday afternoon but I would not expect any by first tracks time tomorrow. The total snowfall by late in the day Thursday will range between 7-14 inches and much will depend on how much sleet mixes with the precipitation during the day Wednesday. The shift in the track of the storm was vital in the forecast change. It not only allowed much of northern Vermont to sit favorably on the northern flank of the surface low pressure area but it also allowed some low level arctic cold in Quebec to re-patriate itself in New England (no pun intended).

The weekend is now full of 1-2 foot potential !!
Amazingly, the news is even better for the weekend and is going to turn the upcoming 6 days into one of the best ski periods of the season. We knew fairly early that an east coast trough amplification of some variety and of some intensity brought promise to the weekend of the 9th and 10th. What we now know is that winter will bring the full gamut of its most famous music including arctic air, snow, wind and cold. The results appear very promising indeed. There is a potent piece of jet energy in the Gulf of Alaska which will move east rapidly and act as the catalyst for the energizing pattern. It will also cause low pressure to develop rapidly in the interior Northeast and later evolve into a full-blown coastal storm in the Gulf of Maine. New snow from this system should begin falling during the day Saturday but the best part of this situation involves the TIS (Terrain induced snow) setup in the wake of this storm. It is early but the possibilities of 1-2 feet of snow exist for the weekend and the prospects of an epic Sunday are very real so stay tuned.

Model/Ensemble and teleconnection indices all point to another possible time frame of trouble late next week. After that there are some real positive signs starting to show up and resulting from a drop in the AO index. With the help of the next 6-days and a bit more tap dancing late next week we may go into Presidents week with a full head of steam and snow in the forecast. Lets hope.

Monday, February 4, 2008

18-1

And for those that don't like those numbers as much as I do then I have better news for you on the weather front. The weather system we are fighting this week has become more confusing by the day but as its disorganization works somewhat to our benefit and I will explain why in a minute. First of all we can still expect a few inches of snow in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday. This snow will precede lift opening and by the ceremonial first tracks time precipitation will be a sleet/freezing rain mixture if it is falling at all. Most of the day Tuesday will consist of low clouds and fog along with temperatures which are just above freezing. On Tuesday night, the second piece of this weather system approaches and precpitation will re-develop, this time as rain.

The last update I had some very valid concerns of 50 degree temperatures, 50 degree dewpoints and strong winds. Such conditions are an unmitigated disaster for skiing since they can work together to eat away at the base with dangerous efficiency. Fortunately, we no longer have to worry about any of these three things. What did I call it in the last post, an Indiana Jones ? Well we pulled one of those tricks with this system and will limit the damage as a result. We will get rain however which should begin in some earnest Tuesday night and persist into Wednesday with lighter winds and temperatures in the 30's. As the day progresses though the system will again split thanks largely to a disconnect which is occurring in the Jet Stream between the northern and southern half of the once consolidated Pacific Jet. The result of this will be the gradual infiltration of more cold air. And as a consequence of that will be a change over to sleet Wednesday evening followed by a change over to snow Thursday morning. The snow will be heavy enough to accumulate Thursday as powder and may amount to several inches (4-8 is my guess right now) before ending around midday.

As it turns out it will be a busy time for the mountain weather wise. A clipper system will bring more snow to the mountain Friday and then arctic air makes a big return for Sunday bringing with it both the cold and the snow. I will finish the update when I get off my plane (as I am at the airport now).

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Wednesday is a fiasco but we may rise from the ashes on Friday

I had also teased about a possible snow scenario for Monday night leading into Tuesday morning. Clouds will gather on Monday and precipitation should arrive in the form of snow either late in the evening or early Tuesday morning. The latest model cross sections however are showing a lot of warm air arriving very quickly and thus there is a real risk for precipitation going to freezing rain by Tuesday's first tracks time even if there is some new snow. Its another game of timing where the amount of new snow will depend heavily on the amount of moisture that arrives prior to this change-over time. Its still early to pin-point an exact change-over time but a range is 5 and 11 am on Tuesday.

Wednesday
The first wave of precipitation will consist of snow, sleet and freezing rain which will give way to drizzle and fog Tuesday afternoon or evening. At that point there are strong indications that the push of warm air will simply be too great to hold back and temperatures will become uniformly above freezing from the surface to several thousand feet into the atmosphere. This sets the stage for our second wave of precipitation and big time trouble. The rain is nearly a certainty during the day Wednesday for a period but we are also running a risk of high winds combined with high dewpoint temperatures which is a recipe for some serious base-eating. We could still pull an Indiana Jones and hop our way past a few of these land mines but we must face the rain on Wednesday like the true East Coast skiers we are.

Friday potential
There is much better news for Friday and in to the weekend. I had discussed the east coast trough amplification that seemed likely a few days ago and is now more certain. We arn't so certain about the new snow potential and a lot will depend on the eventual strength of a weak disturbance embedded within the southern portion of the Pacific Jet. The storm is shown to intensify quickly as it interacts with the Atlantic Coast and our hope is that it moves our way as opposed to moving too far out in to the Atlantic. There is also a clipper system looking to align itself with its southern counterpart and should at the very least bring us a few inches of new snow by Saturday. After Wednesday's rain we are obviously hoping and are owed much more. There is some potential here but we need a bit more potentcy from this system for us to really score big.

A long range tease - More on Monday
I'll detail the longer range more on Monday but it I think we will need to jump one more big hurdle around the 12th or 13th of the month before we have real hope for a pattern change. At that point I am seeing a shift in the AO and more sustainable good weather could be the result by the President's Day holiday.