Think Snow, Tweet Snow !!!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sunday and Monday look epic at MRG as snow totals by early next week could approach 3 feet

Thanks now to the most recent run of the European model which is back on board with the more aggressive retrogression late on Saturday and early on Sunday. This was the critical piece of information that was missing and I can now be more affirmative with a 2-3 foot storm total forecast. The forecast covers a large expanse of time starting New Years Day and ending Tuesday of next week. Yes, Tuesday which means snow from this storm could be falling for 5 successive days.

I was a little scarce on details in my last update and since I am a little more certain of details I figured it would be time to disclose them before i celebrate the incoming decade. Snow on New Years day should be on the light side and should fall as a result of the decaying clipper energy. As the coastal low bombs east of Cape Cod we should see some enhancement in the precipitation shield Friday night into early Saturday but the storm will be well to our east and snowfall rates should as a result be gentle. Saturday's first tracks should see a few inches of new snow but my guess is less than 6 but the snow will continue to fall and as Saturday progresses, the storm will make this long talked about westward wobble or "retrogression". Such a motion to a storm defies the basic laws of mid-latitude "gravity" and it takes a powerful surge of upper air support to accomplish such. And yet, we expect it and as this happens late on Saturday the snow will intensify and become modest by Saturday night into early Sunday. NWS forecasts for the area would seem to downplay the event. I am not calling them out or calling them wrong but since the storm will ultimately occlude it will be sensitive to terrain and snowfall totals in the valley areas should be substantially less than the high country. At MRG, we could see an additional foot by "first tracks" time and another 6-12 by Monday followed by additional snows Tuesday. Epic indeed !!

Happy New Year to the MRG community. Happy New Decade. Think, think think snow. What a great way to finish one decade and start a new one !!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Expected storm track shifts east but....

not that far east. Far enough perhaps so that a repeat performance of 1969 or 2001 will be a bit tough. Far enough so that the threat of sleet has all but vanished if there was any to begin with. Close enough still so that much of northern New England, especially those sitting in areas with the "oragraphic advantage" should do very well over a span of several days.

The weather map on early New Years day (Friday) should consist of a gradually weakening clipper system over the eastern Great Lakes and a strengthening storm in the Virginia tidewater. Snow from the clipper should begin falling early New Years day. Accumulations will be on the light side because the snowfall intensity will be on the light side but it may be enough to fluff up the trails a bit. As we go through time, the coastal system will bomb and swallow all the remaining energy from the clipper. Models are still at odds regarding exactly where this coastal storm tracks and our forecast still remains uncertain as a result. The last three runs of the European ECMWF have taken our coastal system farther east and are not as dramatic with this westward retrogression on Saturday and Sunday. Such a solution would still mean snow for both Saturday and Sunday (Jan 2 and Jan 3) but accumulations would be on the lighter side and snowfall totals for the weekend will be in the 8-14 inch range by Monday morning. Snowfall rates would also stay on the lighter side in such a scenario and waist deep powder at first tracks time between Saturday to Monday would be a stretch. The American GFS model continues to show a very dramatic amplification with this system. The deepening is shown to be so fierce that the westward "retrogression" mentioned above would be the result. This scenario would put us directly in the thrust of the moist conveyor of this powerful storm and would do so for multiple days. Accumulations would be on the order of 30 inches by late Monday with epic powder Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Having faced this fork in the road many times in the short history of the SCWB I have typically found faith in the European model since it has proven to catch a trend or shift prior to the American Model. This instance would be no different except that in doing so I would be disrespecting the potency of systems coming out of the southern branch and up the east coast. Most of these systems this year have been stronger and tracked farther northwest relative to the consensus of models. I will therefore cautiously predict 1-2 feet over a 4 days period and at the same time purchase the "huge margin of error" insurance policy.

There is always concern with any system with strong winds closing lifts. This has typically been a bit out of the SWCB domain since I would hate to wrongly steer people away or toward MRG as a result of a wind forecast. Wind and wind holds are always a risk and winds will be gusty through the weekend since this is an intense storm with a tight pressure gradient. I will say that in my 10 years skiing regularly at MRG, the wind holds on the single have resulted from strong easterly winds at the summit. Winds will be strong throughout the weekend but they will not be blowing from the east and will instead be much closer to north. Does this save the MRG single from wind holds ? No guarantees, but for those that requested the information, there you have it.

Garden variety cold will grip the Green Mountain chain through next week but when the dust, fluff and powder finally settle from the New Years storm the storm track will be suppressed well to our south and our snow will be the result of clipper systems and terrain enhancement. Blocking remains in the jet stream but there should be a gradual shift from a cold pattern energized by the NAO to a cold pattern supported by a positive PNA. This in the need could send bitter chill into New England sometime after January 8th.

I will try and provide updates as often as a I can but tomorrow is a holiday and my presence is needed at work so an update might not come until late New Years day or early New Years day.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Years storm 2010 is a few days closer and more certain !!

And conditions should have already recovered somewhat thanks to what should be several inches of terrain enhanced snow on Monday and Monday night. The snow will be "enhanced" by both terrain and an arctic boundary which is expected to arrive on Monday night. A short burst of heavy snow is possible with the passage of the boundary and should help to produced a 6-12 snow total by first tracks time Tuesday. Tuesday will be cold and blustery but not unbearable. Temperatures will be in the single numbers and wind chills will be below zero but I have skied at MRG in worse, much worse in fact. Visibility should improve by Wednesday and a very cold, sub zero start will give way to comfortable temperatures in the afternoon. And thus the stage will be set for perhaps the best start to a year any of us MRGers could possibly imagine.


This storm, if it comes together will be nearly a perfect nexus of southern branch moisture and a vigorous surge of upper level energy from the northern or arctic branch of the jet. The result will be a massive eastern U.S. trough with cold air stretching to the Gulf Coast and beyond next week. It is possible in fact that snow is falling on the Florida panhandle at some point next week as well as some other semi tropical locations. The storm will look a bit innocuous as it brings its disorganized area of rain into Virginia on New Years Eve. Arctic jet energy will then arrive and bring its rocket fuel into the mix. The storm will intensify very quickly as a result and the intensity of precipitation will enhance as the storm rather slowly makes its way up the coast and positions itself in the Gulf of Maine late on New Years Day.

If everything goes as advertised, snow at MRG will begin during the day on New Years day and turn heavy during the evening. What makes this situation potentially special is the ability of our eastern trough to continue digging long after snow commences. This will allow the storm to pivot and attain whats referred to as a "negative tilt" greatly elongating the period in which it snows on the mountain. There are in fact indications that the strong surface storm will retrograde from the New England coast inland as it occludes. It could result in several days of snow and epic powder and a nice payback for another rainy Christmas. Its probably a little early to get too buried in accumulation predictions but the reader should get the idea. 2010 is expected to start snowy and there are no indications of warmth or rain through the first week of the month. Enjoy it for there will surely be some adverse times this year but the next 10 days should be spectacular.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

March 2001, Valentines Day 2007 and New Years 2010 ?

And what might might all those dates have in common. For the purposes of pleasing the karma gods I will leave the answer blank. Plenty of uncertainty remains and plenty of time for the potential to unravel but the potential exists and for something big to occur it needs to start with "potential".

Rain and ice has indeed made it to northern and central Vermont and has thus humbled this prognosticator who a not more than two weeks ago declared that such a thing would not happen for the duration of 2009. This storm has obliterated portions of the northern plains with snow and wind but is hardly impressing any of us skiing enthusiasts since it lacks both moisture and cold air and we will gladly tell it to not let the door hit it on the way out. Its "out" will allow a pool of deep instability to move over the state of Vermont and this will allow snow showers to become heavy in the afternoon on Monday. The snow will continue in some earnestness overnight Monday and Tuesday should turn into the best day to ski although a cold and blustery one as arctic air resumes its grip on MRG. Snow accumulations Monday and Monday night will be hard to predict but this is a good set up for terrain enhancement and 6-10 inches of fluff is certainly realistic prior to first tracks time Tuesday. For those wondering about Monday, temperatures will be below freezing for much of the day but I don't expect snows to accumulate until the afternoon.

Snow showers will taper to flurries Tuesday but temperatures will struggle past 10 and will fall to below zero levels by Wednesday morning. Both Wednesday and Thursday should be mostly dry with the exception of a few flurries Wednesday. Winds should diminish and the cold will diminish to some extent Thursday as temperatures climb into the 20's. The storm on new years rides on the ability of the juicy southern branch of the jet phasing with the vigorous amplification of an eastern United States trough. This trough will ultimately bring cold air deep into the south as 2010 begins. Models are having a difficult time with the southern branch moisture as usual but both the European model released late on the 26th and the American GFS model released early on the 27th (GMT) show a phasing and a "bombing" south of Long Island. In addition, the deepening trough across the eastern part of the country and blocking downstream across Greenland will allow the storm to move slowly if it can successfully form. The potential thus has me very excited and referencing historic and similar type storms such as February 1969 and March 2001. Are search for the right ingredients is over its just a matter of getting the right proportions and watch things explode. Its not a done deal yet but worthy of our attention.

I should add before signing off that the timing of snow is still up in the air somewhat. Snow should it happen would arrive New Years day and potentially continue for a few days or not happen at all. Lets wait a day or two and re-assess.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 may end with a bang !!

Dry air stemming from high pressure center over Quebec will help improve visibility through Christmas. We won't see much in the way of snow through Christmas day but light winds and seasonable temperatures should provide the opportunity to loosen up the legs on the groomers. We have been watching our post-Christmas storm for more than a week and in the end it will be a disappointment. Precipitation will arrive in the form of snow late on Saturday and is likely to turn to a mix of sleet and freezing rain for a time on Sunday. The problematic layer of warmth is only indicated to be about 1-2 degrees C so the possibility of turning this to a snowier forecast remains but chances are starting to dwindle. Temperatures at the surface will struggle to get above freezing and if they do, it will hardly dent the base. This storm in the end will be a much greater concern for the Upper Midwest and its impact on the east will be forgotten about in short order.

I am much more excited looking at the possibilities for Monday. The storm as discussed will occlude across the Midwest and will ultimately bring a deep pocket of instability across New England Monday. The unstable layer could for a time be greater than 10,000 feet which would be more impressive than at any point last year. With the winds at varying levels of the lower troposphere aligning, the prospects for terrain enhanced powder look very good Monday. So good in fact that I can confidently say much of the Green Mountain chain could get a 6 inch or more shot of powder during the day Monday. Arctic cold arrives Tuesday and although snow showers should continue the chances for an accumulation drop off. The drop in temperatures will also not go unnoticed. Temperatures should hover in the low 20's with snow falling at oscillating intensities Monday. Readings will fall to the single numbers however for Tuesday and Wednesday and wind chills will be well below zero for Tuesday.

Our southern branch might be cooking up more of the good stuff around New Years day. In the coming days, I think some of the medium range models will come up with some sort of consensus that includes an east coast storm and perhaps a big one around New Years Day. There is so much jet energy along the Gulf Coast that it is proving very difficult for the models to make sense of what to do with it all. We have already seen a few occasions where model data is simply underdone on the potency of this jet energy along the Gulf Coast. You can't call the American GFS model underdone this morning as it "bombed" a storm off the New England coast New Years Day. The European shows a much weaker version. One might normally bet on the more benign of the two advertised scenarios but I would not want to fight the southern branch this year so lets be cautiously optimistic and see if this can sort itself out into a snowy forecast for us as 2009 ends and 2010 begins. Ensembles have also given us the gift of an extension on our blocking pattern which will include favorable NAO and AO teleconnection indices through the first week of January.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Models showing a cooler post Christmas storm, trend needs to continue a bit more and we are gold

Trying to combine a bit of last minute Christmas shopping and Single Chair Weather Blogging which is a bit trying. The news is mixed regarding the storm which is set to bring precipitation in the days following Christmas. Taken literally, the models are still suggesting a period of ice but this period has been minimized and the storm profile in northern and central Vermont looks cooler, enough to support snow for a period late on the 26th. This is a strange system where much of the energy will get rung out across the Midwest. A new storm system will form and strengthen along the Atlantic coast and bring precipitation into a rather stale airmass. Dry air will help keep precipitation in the form of snow for a time but it will also delay precipitation almost a day from what was expected during the last update. The snow could also be wet in nature. Whether or not it goes to a period of ice or rain is still up for debate but if it does happen, against my wishes it will not amount to anything close to the X_Mas thaw last year which was a crusher and closed MRG for weeks.

Conditions should also get a boost from terrain enhanced snow which will arrive on Sunday night into Monday and continue conservatively for 1-2 days. This snow should get an additional boost with the passing of an upper air disturbance in this time frame. I will take a closer look at snowfall potential between the 28th and 30th in an update tomorrow. We may also get a clearer view on what could be a bigger event in the days following new years.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Model data delivering a rather frustrating result for Christmas event

And although I am holding out hope, I have to respect what the consensus of data has shown over the last 48 hours. If true it would be a very humbling turn of events for me since some aggressive proclamations were made. I will stick to these prognostications for the time being but at the same time I will reveal the details of the less than ideal model simulations.

While many along the eastern seaboard are no doubt digging out from one of the more historic December noreasters that I can remember, MRG will continue to remain dry through part of Tuesday with temperatures in the teens during the day and near zero at night. A weak disturbance will rotate into the departing east coast trough Tuesday and will enhance snow shower activity for a time and may help in bringing a fresh inch or two to the mountain. After that, we wait for the storm which departs the Rockies Wednesday with vigor and tracks toward the northeast.

Although we continue to see plenty of blocking in the jet stream which will persist through the end of the month we will temporarily lose our supply of fresh cold air this week. The below normal temps early this week will gradually modify as the airmass becomes stale by Christmas Eve. At the same time, models are suggesting that our Christmas storm takes a left turn in the southern Plains and heads for the St Lawrence Valley. It is honestly hard to believe such a track given the state of the AO and NAO but models have been spitting out such a solution for consecutive days. The adverse track of the storm will be mitigated to a degree as the storm transfers its energy to the Atlantic Coast, but if the models are taken at face value, snow will arrive on Christmas day and turn to ice before ending as a period of terrain enhanced snow over the weekend. I am not throwing in the towel on this event in spite of all these details. Below normal temperatures have helped to chill the Great Lakes and much of the east is under a healthy blanket of snow. These are subtle variables but over time can act to keep the track of this storm farther south. Blocking in the jet stream can also encourage such a storm to make a quicker transfer to the Atlantic Coast thus thwarting any warm-up. I am no doubt concerned about what the models are saying but this game is hardly over, lets see how things transpire in the coming days before officially throwing in the towel.

Ensembles continue to show a "blocked" pattern through the end of the year with weakened but still favorable teleconnection indices. Model runs over the last 24 hours have been on the drier side with snow falling mainly from clippers and terrain enhancement. There remains evidence however of an active southern branch of the jet stream so one has to be somewhat cynical of a dry forecast.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Major winter storm to pummel the northeast but miss MRG

I am sure the blog has plenty of readers in the big city locations who are getting slammed with news and hype regarding the upcoming winter storm. This system was discussed Thursday in more benign details and major media outlets are now using much stronger language (no doubt to assist in the ratings war) to talk up the weekend storm. In this particular case, the storm will prove worthy of such language. It looks very similar in many respects to another historic storm in another El Nino year commonly referred to amongst us weather geeks as the "Megalopitan snowstorm of 1983". It like this one, formed in the Gulf, moved off and up the Atlantic Coast and absolutely crippled the northeast corridor with historic snow. The heaviest of this snow occurred during a Friday rush hour where the rate of snowfall increased to as much as 5 inches per hour leaving a few motorists stranded in some very unexciting locations (Like the ramp of the Lincoln Tunnel). This storm will bring similar type snows to many of the same locations and will make all sorts of headlines and may enter the record books in a few spots. At MRG, it will be just another day and a dry one at that. The snow will fail to make it to our beloved location and we will simply have to look ahead for our next opportunity.

I have received a few emails regarding the Christmas event and a few of these emails have expressed concern about recent model data. Yes, there have been hints of a less than optimal track to our Christmas storm but I will not be a "model hugger" and would rather try and see the forest for the trees. This is a little pretentious on my part and I apologize in advance but my view has been that rain or ice will have a difficult time impacting MRG for the rest of the month. We have a vigorous and very favorable blocking pattern and I think it will work its magic and prevent these adverse situations such as rain or ice. This storm is another El Nino driven product and it will advance through the southern Plains during the middle of week before becoming "occluded" somewhere in the eastern third of the country. An "occlusion" occurs when the upper level low pressure center and low level low pressure center are on top of each other or "vertically stacked". It will prevent the storm from reaching historic proportions and it will wrap some mild air into coastal areas of the northeast around Christmas time. The details are still a little hazy but I would expect some modest snows Christmas Day and some significant terrain enhanced snow for at least a day in the wake of this storm. It should prove to be a good weekend for skiing but time will tell. Storms that are vertically stacked rarely deepen but they have a favorable stability and shearing profile for terrain enhanced snow and I would expect to see that in the forecast in a few days.

The pattern will remain blocked through the new year although relatively free of extreme cold. I would expect to see the continuation of an active southern branch of the jet stream and another storm around the start of the upcoming decade !

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chilly pattern will turn snowy around Christmas, maybe sooner if we are very lucky

It will take more than luck to get a powder day Friday or Saturday. Very dry air and the low and mid levels of the troposphere combined with a rather unfavorable shearing environment will make terrain induced powder very unlikely for the re-opening of MRG. The pattern, as promised, has turned quite favorable but the fruits of mother nature's labor usually waits, sometimes up to a few weeks. I would remiss however were I not to mention the trouble lurking in the southern branch this weekend. The same branch of the jet stream responsible for the rain across the Gulf Coast and lots of it. This is a very common byproduct of El Nino and it has been very evident so far this winter. The southern branch of the jet stream will prove its worth this year on more than one occasion. One possible occasion could come late this weekend as energy in the southern branch creates a significant precipitation producer over the Carolinas and Virginia. Models suggest this system goes out to sea from here with little impact on the northeast. I think models may suggest this time and again with many systems this year and on one or two occasions these systems will turn out stronger, amplify the pattern more significantly and surprise the northeast with big time winter weather. It is unlikely this happens Sunday evening into Monday but its worth watching how models handle this system going forward.

Our next system and one certainly worth our attention arrives around the time of Christmas Eve. It is a more organized system which will exit the Rockies during the middle of the week and progress east. The track of this system will be farther south than a similar system last week. It nonetheless appears to be our best chance for significant snows. It is a bit early to prepare for a big event as many things will change as the looking glass is de-fogged. I am optimistic however for a nice little Christmas thumping. Santa still owes me for 2005 so perhaps he will deliver the goods this year.

No change to the very optimistic balance of the month outlook. Expect a few more opportunities for snow through the duration of the month and a very minimal chance for rain. Not going to say it can't happen but the chances this year are substantially less than in any other Christmas holiday blogged here at the SCWB.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Block" of gold delivers a powdery ride through the rest of 2009

And since the SWCB is funded by nobody, it allows the writer to make some politically incorrect prognostications. Like to suggest that the holiday week defined by the period between Christmas and New Years will be one of the best such periods ever perhaps similar to 2002. It is a risky proclamation to say the least but the crystal ball can look very hazy sometimes and this may be one of those times when one can make out a few things through the haze.

A brief mild break in the weather will end Tuesday with a few inches of wet snow. Much colder air will bring another inch or two of fluff Wednesday but the end of the week will be remembered for the coldest weather of the season so far with temperatures in the single numbers during the day Wednesday and Thursday and below zero temperatures at night. The polar vortex responsible for the cold will more or less get forced under the blocking in the jet stream this weekend and although the cold will modify slightly, some below zero wind chills will remain. We won't be talking about any organized weather systems this weekend although there will be weaker disturbances rotating around this upper air vortex and will likely deposit a few inches of terrain induced powder.

The pattern will turn active beginning around the time of December 22. It may take a few more days for such a change to manifest into actual big snows for the mountains but if systems in the southern branch remain out of our reach, we should still be on the receiving end of a barrage of clipper systems. The combined forces of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oscillation should allow for even bigger things however such as a more profound jet stream amplification and a major east coast system. There shouldn't be a shortage of systems passing through the Rockies and moving across the southern half of the country the last 10 days of 2009. We would just need one of these to systems to catch an injection of energy from the Polar Jet and away we go.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pattern delivers an early MRG opening !

The oragraphically enhanced snow that was missing for a good part of last year has arrived early and brought the kind of fluff that can provide those "soundless" turns. Its one of the best feelings one can have and I live for those early powder turns and there should be a good amount of that as MRG officially kicks off the season. Some additonal powder can be expected through Saturday afternoon as the atmosphere undergoes a very gradual stabilization. I would not be surprised to see an additional 5-10 inches prior to the 10 AM commencement ceremonies. Saturday will continue to be blustery and cold with temperatures in the single digits and teens. Sunday will turn into a nice one, with some early sunshine afternoon clouds, light winds and afternoon temperatures which climb to the freezing mark.

Why not continue to rave about the upcoming few weeks since the eastern ski resorts and Mad River Glen in particular can certainly salivate over what appears to be one of the best weather patterns one can hope for as far as good December skiing is concerned. We have seen plenty of inconsistency in December, a month which can deliver plenty of cold but plenty of rain. Such will not be the case this December. A furious blocking pattern has emerged, sending the North Atlantic Oscillation plummating deep into the negative category. I am trying to remember if I ever remember the index itself at -3 and it may approach that in the next 10 days or so. The oscillation itself is indirectly driven by massive block in the Jet Stream over Greenland that is expected to extend across much of high latitude North America or the Nunavut region of Canada. After a brief reprieve the cold weather early next week, temperatures will plummet on Wednesday and will remain slightly below normal through the Christmas holiday.

As far as specifics on storms or new snow, there is not much on the immediate horizon as far as major snows. Some wet snow is possible Monday (the one time frame where temperatures may warm to above freezing. Additional snows are then possible Tuesday into Wednesday in association with the incoming arctic air. This system has a slight chance exploding off the Atlantic coast and providing more than the 2-5 inches that I might guess would fall at the moment. A clipper system late in the week could then bring another light accumulation of snow before which should be a chilly weekend before Christmas.

Big storms, the ones which are really good for SCWB ratings are unlikely until Christmas week but the pattern is certainly capable of producing such an event between the 20th and 25th of the month. Considering how "blocked" the pattern has become, major weather systems will find some resistance as they proceed up the Atlantic Coast (if one becomes organized enough to do that). It will thus ultimately be a question of whether the pattern allows for a major weather event to track far enough north for major snows. I would guess though that we get at least one major event before the new year. The pattern will turn ripe for it and we should be ready and have our ski's tuned up for the occasion !!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

6-8 inches of snow/sleet/ice followed by some early winter chill

And for those who are lucky enough to have a day off Wednesday, there will be some morning powder across the northern half of Vermont as it appears snow will fall in earnest through early afternoon. Temperatures and more importantly, wet bulb temperatures (the lowest temperature that can be reached through the evaporation of water)are such that Wednesday's event will indeed consist of several hours of powder before precipitation goes to sleet and a very brief period of freezing rain later this evening. The storm is far from epic but will, as promised, prove to be a good primer for a base which should steadily build over the next several weeks.

Snow of the terrain induced variety will return by Thursday morning and continue in at varying but mostly light intensities through a good part of the day Friday. The unstable layer providing support for the snow Thursday and Friday is relatively shallow as it often is when arctic air invades the state. Nonetheless, we should see additional accumulations of 4-8 inches before it dries out over the weekend.

There is no need for any lenghthy addendum's on what still is a very optimistic outlook through the middle of the month and perhaps now through the holidays. The pattern will be driven and driven quite hard by a ferociously negative NAO and AO over the next several weeks. This will keep temperatures on the cold side and most impotantly will keep the rain out. The American GFS model showed the second coming of March 13th, 1993 on one of its runs yesterday but it lacks support from other model data including subsequent runs of the GFS. There is a potential for snow in the early to middle part of next week. This is an east coast system that will try and intensify at the last second or pass us by in benign fashion. Next week will then finsh similarly to this week with some terrain induced powder and cold temperatures. More on the long range this Friday.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hopes for epic powder on Wednesday fade but favorable pattern remains

And although it would seem as if we have made it through a long stretch of unseasonably mild weather we have yet in fact to reach categorical below normal temperatures and may not really do so until later this week. It is however cold enough so that the little that did fall Saturday will remain in place as the next very closely watched system approaches late Tuesday. This system has potential but its track has become problematic and each run of the very trusted European model seems to confirm that our prospects for big powder from this storm are fading. This system can still do a lot of good as far as priming the base for future events.

The system in question is poised to clobber the interior west from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the continental divide in Colorado. It will then tap into moisture from the Gulf and move northeastward. It should prove to be quite an event for portions of the Upper Midwest but its track as it continues to push toward New England will allow warm air to invade critical layers of the atmosphere. This movie has been played out before many times and often warmth from the Atlantic can get pinched off as energy gets transferred to the coast. I expect this to happen to a degree but the event will nonetheless consist of snow to start followed by a change to sleet before ending as a few days of terrain induced powder late this week. I think the uncertainty at this point revolves around precipitation type and the particulars regarding how much snow verses sleet verses freezing rain verses dare I say rain. Sleet would be the ideal primer and we should receive a healthy dose of that Wednesday but hopefully we can keep the freezing rain and rain out. The European model would suggest that this could be a challenge while the American model says sleet will likely be the primary precipitation type Wednesday. I would say around 5 inches of snow and sleet is a good initial guess on this event. Remember however that sleet is exponentially more dense than snow and that a few inches of sleet has tremendous staying power were it to fall. With powder seemingly becoming more far fetched I am pulling for a "sleety" outcome as it will be this which will get MRG open the quickest in my opinion.

Much colder temperatures will advance into Vermont Thursday in the wake of this storm and preliminary indications suggest two days of a cold and not entirely dry westerly fetch of air. Such a setup should provide a shallow layer of instability and terrain induced snow leading up to the weekend. More details on that later in the week.

I am becoming more impressed with the "sustaining" power of our new high latitude blocking pattern. It may have started with the "Omega Block" across Alaska but will evolve over time into a combined negative AO-NAO fueled jet stream configuration. This should be one where the jet stream is forced southward and where rain events and even thaws will be tough to come by. I am going out on a limb here and will suggest that all precipitation after Wednesday's event and up into the time of Christmas will be snow. Hopefully we won't let the opportunity to build an early season base pass us by. My guess is that we will not and should go into late December with my kind of holiday cheer !!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Storm talk speculation ? Let the games begin !!!

The cold air has made its long awaited arrival and the snow is on its way, proving once again that El Nino's can "put out" and often do so in quantities. The southern branch can also never be underestimated and its up to old tricks this weekend, energizing another system in the gulf states and sending it northeastward. I didn't give this system much of a chance to be quite honest and quite recently sent an email to a loyal SCWB follower to essentially squash his hope. This is a system that will in the end track a bit too far east for a big hit but I do expect the precipitation shield to reach much of Vermont and deposit a few inches of snow to the Green Mountain chain late Saturday before it makes its way into the Canadian Maritimes. Big snows can be expected across the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, which is a region of New England that is often overlooked as far as exciting weather goes. Its close enough to the coast to get the effects of some intense noreasters yet high enough in altitude so that many would-be rain events turn into big snows. This is one of those situations where the Monadnock region can see a foot or more of snow while locations along the coast get rain and the likes of Jay Peak struggle to see an inch.

The global long pattern has indeed become "blocked-up" as expected and the results came very quickly with snow falling at some unusual latitudes such as Texas. The blocking catylist however is situated across Alaska which can create some competing negative impacts on our weather pattern going forward. The most important of these potentially "adverse" impacts is the energy that is expected to dive under the block and into the open waters of the Pacific. It will surely help to create an onslaught of storminess on the west coast (California as opposed to British Columbia) and I would expect some unbelievable snowfall totals from Tahoe and other portions of the interior west over the course of the next two weeks. Farther east however the effects of the energy in the Pacific can be a force for the creation of a mid-continent or southeast ridge. This ridge will be or won't be an issue next week as a major system sweeps across the country. It is expected to evolve into a major winter storm for the upper Midwest and perhaps even a blizzard and then continue toward the northeast United States. The track of this system during the middle of next week is, as you probably guessed, the 64 thousand dollar question.

The playing field next week appears similar in some respects to late December 2002 when a system of similar potential crossed the country and questions regarding the strength of a southeast ridge loomed large. In the end, the El Nino, of a similar strength to this year beat the southeast ridge to a pulp and the storm pulverized interior New England and brought some of the best X-Mas skiing to Vermont ever. I have faith that this El Nino can perform up to 2002's standards especially when combined with a very negative NAO. I therefore am cautiously expecting a big event beginning early Wednesday and persisting into Thursday. I am currently watching the latest and just released information from the European model which suggests a snow to sleet then back to snow type of progression. Such a result would be a great base-building" type of event and if the storm tracks 200 miles further south the results could be more incredible with snow in feet and some epic early season powder.

Beyond the storm late next week, appears to be a pattern marked by a very negative AO and NAO. The pipeline of viciously cold arctic air appears a bit closed off so I would expect temperatures that are more or less seasonable but with a minimal threat for rain and a very little in the way of above freezing temperatures. We should therefore be able to gradually add to whatever base gets laid down next week and should be in good shape as we approach the winter solstice. Information from the American model suggested a big storm around the middle of the month this morning but the ensembles are indicating a pattern which might be free of storminess during this middle of the month period. Its tough to predict such weather during an El Nino but it is at least a possibility. At the very least, I am happy to report generally favorable weather beyond the middle of the month thanks mostly to the favorable teleconnections indices of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscilation.

I just bought a cheap DVD, the Grateful Dead's "Dead Ahead" for $9.99 which is a recording of a performance of a 1980 show at Radio City music hall. What a band they were and what great value that DVD is if you can find it at that price. Wow, great to watch and do a blog entry !!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cold air ready to make a southward push but we need to be patient with the snow

The most effective way to get cold air in high quantities down into the United States and more importantly into New England is to have a high latitude "Omega Block" in the jet stream. One is expected to develop over the course of the next week. It will be closer to 145 degrees west, or over Alaska and one would prefer it to be situated closer to 120 west. It will thus take some time I think to enjoy the fruits of such labor if you can call it that. We will need to be patient and remember that December can be very discrepant about delivering the goods even when cold air seems to be prevailing. Such will be the case perhaps over the next two weeks but by mid-December, I think much progress will be made as far as getting the season off to a positive start.

It has been awhile since we have had any intrusion of widespread cold in the United States. This will change later this week and as it does so, the southern branch will produce its first in what should be many major weather systems. Model guidance from both the American (GFS) and the European (ECMWF) suggest that the storm will track too far inland and that the supply of cold air in front of the system will be limited at best. It is thus appearing very likely that we will see mostly rain from precipitation that should fall through much of the day this Thursday. Both cold air and some instability will arrive in the wake of this rain for the weekend and this should some light accumulations of snow to the Vermont high country but it will not be enough to open MRG.

The "probable" rain on Thursday is one of the consequences of the "Omega Block" in the jet stream located at 145 instead of 120 west. There is a chance that the positioning of critical features such as this "Omega Block" will improve and ensembles indicate that teleconnections will become more favorable as time progresses. I am not entirely sure of this however and would offer the possibility that another system similar to Thursday's could bring mixed precipitation as opposed to all snow to the region sometime around December 7th-8th. Thereafter, however, I think much colder air will maintain control of New England for at least a week through mid December. With this will also mean a chance for meaningful snow between December 8th through the 15th.

Thats all I have for now, we can dive into details as they come more relavant to skiing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

El Nino battles a rapid expanse of snow/ice for control of our 09-10 winter

The amount of emails I have received would either indicate either an unusually high outbreak of the "winter itch" or simply a friendly nudge to commence the bloggings. Well, commencement time is here and ski season at MRG is likely only a few weeks away. The winter forecast has by no means been sorted out (Let's not kid ourselves here it never is !!) but expectations for this winter have been interesting to say the least. Off the heels of the coldest "North American" winter this decade there has been hype and then more hype for the upcoming winter. Much of it no doubt generated from those hungry for a bit of publicity and print. What seems lost in all this is the strengthening El Nino which in recent weeks has indicated it intends to be worthy variable this winter and one certainly that will earn plenty of mention in our annual pre-season post.

El Nino Comes Alive
To recap, the last two winters have been free of any El Nino. 2007-2008 featured a moderate La Nina, 2008-2009 was a weaker version of '07-'08. Both winters fit nicely in to the New England winter stereotype which included some big highlights, some forgettable lowlights and a few deep freezes. Sea surface temperature patterns in the tropical pacific have undergone a rapid transition over the last several months and by autumn, an El Nino event has been born. This ENSO event has more recently turned into a more significant event as sea surface temperatures in the critical regions of the tropcial pacific have warmed to 1.7 C above what is considered normal. Typically I deem a significant ENSO event to be anything 1.5 above (El Nino) or 1.5 below (La Nina). If your interested in learning more bout El Nino or La Nina then hit up Wikipedia for anwers. For the blog, and the winter forecast, we are more interested in actual impacts as opposed to definitions. Historically El Nino's of a moderate to strong variety produce a lot of mild weather centered mostly over the mid-continent and mostly over the higher latitudes. The central provinces of Canada for example such as Manitoba and Saskatchewan typically see the warmest temperatures relative (in North America) to normal in a moderate to strong El Nino. Across interior New England the impacts of mild weather are felt to a lesser extent but one would find it tough in the last half a century to find a moderate or strong El Nino that would produce a colder than average winter. It is therefore, statistically a bad bet to expect a winter like last in terms of cold. In terms of snow however it is a entirely different story. The jet stream in a typical El Nino behaves very distinctly and brings very moist systems across the southern tier of the country. Flooding across the south is very common and the storms eventually tend to interact with the highly baraclinic Atlantic Coast and evolve into big time precipitation producers across both coastal and interior areas of the northeast. The lack of cold can be a recurring problem for coastal areas as far as the receiving of natural new snow but is less so for interior areas and even less for interior areas with the advantage of favorable oragraphy. It is for this reason that El Nino can get me very excited. With even a limited supply of cold air, El Nino is capable fo producing some fantastic results for the interior northeast and snowy winters such as 06-07, 02-03, 92-93 and 69-70 are in play again. Preferrably I would like to see El Nino weaken a touch as the heart of winter approaches and the supply of cold air is always going to be a concern but so long as we have access to cold, the snow will not be far behind.

PDO
Moving on to another favorite variable the PDO, we have watched this make its long awaited decadal switch in the last few years. This will allow La Nina events to occur more frequently than El Nino events over the course of a few decades but this yeah appears to be one of the exceptions with the development of an El Nino and the slightly positive PDO. The biggest months of snow and cold in Vermont tend to occur when the PDO is more positive as opposed to negative although this didn't stop some of the good periods of snow and cold that we got the last two years when the PDO was negative. Generally though, to achieve a sustainable period of rain-free, lots of powder, lots of cold one would want a positive PDO and I am thus happy to see it slightly above zero.

Snow and Ice expansion
And we go to the expanse of ice and snow that earned itself a headline in the headline. I have been indeed very impressed this year with the increases in snow and ice this autumn. In October the total area of snow and ice across the Northern Hemisphere was over 20 millions of square km. This has only happened a handful of times since this data has been recorded in the early 70's. The Rutgers snow lab also tracks this on a weekly basis and the most recent week ranked 6th of 42 in total area of Northern Hemisphere snow/ice coverage. We saw some similar readings in another semi El Nino winter of 06-07 and similar results in the El Nino winter of 02-03. Both winters saw good snow although 06-07 was the one winter of the top 6 which saw above normal temperatures. The other 5 can be categorized as normal or below normal. The impacts of snow and ice on the outcome of winter has been debated amongst forecasters although I maintain that although its effects are very indirect they are still quite profound. Cold air pools more efficiently over snow and ice and thus cold air in a cold pattern can be amplified and a warm pattern mitigated. The winter of 07-08 featured a relatively normal expanse of snow and ice but by January, the extent of snow and ice had grown to a seasonal record and helped turn what looked to be a mild February into a relatively normal one in the eastern U.S. and a very cold one in the central United States. If the snow continues to expand as it has so far this winter it will be just the medicine we need to combat the mild forces of El Nino.

In my circles, there has been talk and references to the QBO or the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation. This in short measures the direction of the stratospheric wind in the tropical pacific. I tried to do some homework on this and found some good work on its relationship to tropical activity in the Pacific and Atlantic. I also found it to have some relationship to ENSO. I had a tough time being convinced of its effects on a mid latitude winter. I therefore am not using it but it has been referenced as a justification for a cold and snowy forecast in 2009-2010. Look it up on Wikipedia if you would like to learn more.

I have not yet been in advanced discussion with the folks at MRG about a joint blog-mountain sponsorship campaign. If however you have a local business (lodge, restaurant, retail) and would like a way to get the word out to the MRG demographic than send me an email. I would imagine money going to some MRG project and space to the right of the blog dedicated to your business. I have been slightly hesitant about doing this but I think it might have the effect of ensuring that I get off my lazy rear-end and post a few updates. More on this to follow if there continues to be interest.

Summary and a final and very fearless forecast for 2009-2010
The post must include a short summary and this must include an actual forecast so the details are as follows. El Nino tilts the range of possible temperature scenarios to the warm side but within this range I think temperatures will be on the cold side (did I say that right ??) thanks to the rapid expanse of snow cover. Temperatures will thus fall in the normal to perhaps slightly above normal range. Snowfall on the other hand will be outstanding and I am going to predict the snowiest winter since the blog began and will include one lone epic period similar to what happened in February of 2007 and Christmas/New Years 2002-2003. Snowfall in the end will exceed 300 inches. I have gotten a few emails about the weekend which looks stormy through early Saturday. The storm will develop in the Ohio Valley and intensify upon interaction with the Atlantic Coast. Rain will turn to a wet snow Friday evening and Friday night and accumulate significantly at the high elevations while somewhat more insignificantly in the valley's. It will surely not be enough to open MRG since mild weather is on its heels. I will post more on the next two weeks this upcoming weekend but I typically don't overextend my blogging until the mountain opens and this remains a few weeks away.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A season recapped and other thoughts

A season which turned into the coldest statistically since winters have been blogged at the SCWB had some big highlights and some bare spots wedged in between. La Nina was prominent although not nearly as strong as the 2007-2008 version and the weather behaved as such with the southeast ridge making a few unwanted appearances but not quite as many as the year prior. The PDO has some Meteorologists talking, since for the second straight year it was substantially negative (http://www.esr.org/pdo_index.html) perhaps marking the decadal turn into negative territory that many have been anticipating. I have not ventured too much global warming/climate change talk but I will say that there is some statistical evidence that the warming we have experienced in the last century has actually cyclically slowed to a halt during the periods when the PDO is negative. If this occurs again it will be just the excuse many of the would-be experts are looking to get on Fox News and bash the real scientific community on all of their wasted and politically motivated efforts to understand an issue that has little statistical merit (lots of sarcasm in there in case it wasn't noticed). I actually don't consider myself a scientific expert on climate change and my research on the issue is limited to a few courses in college and the Internet. I can say though that the real scientific community has certainly been proven wrong and could be proven wrong here but there work is hardly politically motivated. Many in fact are totally indifferent to politics and just because Al Gore has become the face for global warming does not mean there is a global conspiracy by scientists to whip us into a frenzy about a phantom environmental threat. And its embarrassing that our news media has sunk to a point where the weather at Al Gore's speech venues seems to have more statistical significance than what is happening at the Wilkens Ice Shelf in Antarctica which as of April 5th officially splintered. My rant is not meant to be political, I only wish that our society could more easily separate the scientific community from the politics and accept the fact that scientists have been and will continue to be wrong for reasons that have nothing to do with the political.

Getting back to our most recent winter, there was a corridor stretching from the northern Plains to the upper Midwest and eastward into southern New England which saw over 150 percent of normal snowfall. In many of these areas snowfall this past winter exceeded that of a year ago. We were not fortunate enough for such a result and were on the northern edge of a lot of big snows. We also had a glaring lack of elevation induced snows and the evidence of this can be gathered easily by looking at seasonal snowfall at Burlington which had a positive deviation from normal while MRG had a slight negative deviation. Our thaws were very short-lived but at times they were crippling. Christmas week was New England weather at its most infamous. We had two incredible storms on the 19th and 22nd of December which brought 3 feet of incredible powder to the Green Mountain chain but was followed closely by a thaw which wiped almost everything out and effectively closed MRG for a week. We made a gradual and ultimately glorious comeback by the middle of January but this was followed by a long dry spell for 3 weeks in February prior to the epic final weekend of the month. March was very disappointing. We had some cold early in the month but could do very little with the airmass in terms of elevation snow and did virtually nothing from the passing storm systems during the middle of the month. It was, overall a good year that collapsed a bit early for my liking but a perfect winter is hard to find and I will take this one over so many others.

I did receive lots of emails requesting continuous updates through April. I do very much appreciate the feedback and particularly the interest but I have historically kept my updates coordinated around MRG's ski season. I did some thinking however and perhaps I need some further motivation to provide updates through a broader portion of the ski season. I have thought about opening the blog to sponsors as a way of raising money for some sort of charity. I will consider this over the summer adn then perhaps in autumn, if there is interest I can start blogging for powder and for charity. Have a good summer.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lack of snow in March ended a good season a bit early

Temperatures did not stray from normal that dramatically with the exception of a few days. The lack of snow however in a month that is traditionally quite snowy in Vermont was a bit startling. In the end less than 15 inches of snow fell if my math is correct and the one big storm early in the month slalomed around the state for the most part hitting coastal cities as opposed to the interior. Interestingly, March of 2007 had some warm weather in the back half of the month but two big storms, a couple of feet of terrain enhanced snow and a nice stretch of spring skiing is a striking contrast to the last 30 days. There is more warm weather and more rain on the way for this week, a byproduct of the pattern which is causing massive problems in the northern plains which began as flooding and is now evolving into an epic late-winter week with one blizzard set for March 31st and another huge snow event during the upcoming weekend. Both systems will produce rain at MRG as both storms track well into Quebec.

As far as you back country and Tuckerman's enthusiasts are concerned I would act fast and dodge the rain drops if you want to ski down to the base. The upper part of Tucks will be fine and should get a burst of winter during the middle part of April as the pattern appears as if it will turn both unstable and a bit on the chilly side. I will do one more final wrap on the season but if this is your last SCWB read then have a good summer and stay safe !!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Winter has been undergoing a slow fizzle but may crash altogether next week

We have experienced an amazing stretch of early spring weather. Lots of sunshiny days, lots of dry weather, lots of days where temps are above the all important 32-mark. There has been plenty of mud also on the dirt roads as the snow pack very slowly erodes over the Vermont high country. It has been a slow erosion since the pattern is still supporting some relative cold. It hasn't amounted to winter-like cold but it has, for the most part, served to provide for some cool nights. The cold will be reenforced Sunday and it will be done via the side door as a front crashes southward out of Quebec. There will be some snow that falls as this occurs although most of it will be farther east and the instability will not be strong enough to support a sizable terrain-induced accumulation. Flurries and snow showers will continue sporadically from late in the day Sunday through early Tuesday but accumulations will be minimal.

Temperatures will climb above the freezing Saturday afternoon and perhaps for a short time Sunday before remaining below freezing through most of Tuesday. After that, temperatures will turn mild and will do so very decisively. The pattern by late next week be driven by the PNA which will turn negative and favor a more active and cool scenario in the west. Mild weather will flood the northeast and should provide some great spring skiing while the snow lasts. I am not sure if we can survive the milder temperatures however and in spite some cooler weather that might follow during the last few days of the month it might be too little too late.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A week later, a lot of spring later, still some cold to come but little snow

Recent days have not been nearly as cold as I would have expected but overall it has been brilliant. An amazing stretch of sunshine and warm afternoons that is really quite rare around these parts in March and I am told quite favorable for the maple syrup trade. The skiing is great also particularly in the afternoons in the high spring sun softened snow.

Following the rain showers Wednesday, colder weather will again re-emerge across the Vermont high country Thursday on blustery northwest winds. The upper trough responsible for the return to cold will become situated off the Atlantic Coast and the northwest flow in the jet stream is typically a stable scenario for the state where terrain induced snow will be tough to come by. Friday will be a relatively chilly day with temperatures struggling to exceed the freezing mark and we could see some light snow on Saturday as the second in the series of off-shore jet amplifications occurs. In the end though the new snow will amount to very little. Sunday will simply be a chilly and blustery day by March standards with temperatures up around freezing in the afternoon and well below freezing at night. Snowfall for the weekend will amount to 2-3 inches at best and a trace at worst.

Temperatures will modify quite rapidly as the often do in March early next week. The region will start to lose the support of the favorable winter teleconnections and by the middle of the week spring weather will dominate the playing field again and snow cover will continue to gradually erode. It is quite rare to see the first 18 days of March go by with less than 5 inches of snow and it has been years since I have seen such tranquillity in a normally volatile month but there is simply not that much fight in winter right now aside for a few chilly days.

The end of next week should feature another rain event and a bit of uncertainty thereafter regarding the nature of the airmass that follows. The american model suggests a return to seasonable or even below normal temps while the european argues for a continuation of relative warmth.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cold weather returns but snowfall through the weekend will be a struggle

The remnants of a what was once a viciously cold arctic air mass in western Canada will make its long expected arrival Thursday but stability parameters are too high right now to support much measurable snow. Tomorrow marks the beginning of what negative NAO has produced in terms of a weather pattern. The trough in the jet stream will re-position itself in the east through the weekend, weaken slightly, and then strengthen significantly into next week as all three major teleconnection indices briefly fall into the favorable category before turning mixed again by the 18th of the month. The cold however will be of the dry variety and will be accompanied by healthy amounts of sun on Thursday, Friday and at least part of Saturday. Afternoon temperatures on Saturday should finally respond nicely to the sunshine and will creep above the freezing mark during the afternoon and will thus soften the base a bit.

The re-amplification of the trough in the east will begin to occur Sunday as an impulse in the jet drops due south out of eastern Canada. This will be the first of two powerful March jet impulses in a span of a few days. These types of disturbances are very common in March and can often stir things up rather efficiently and produce some big snows. This system unfortunately will drop southeast in a trajectory that will make it nearly impossible for a big storm to develop. We can expect a flurries and snow showers Saturday night and Sunday evening but a light accumulation is about the most that can be expected. The above freezing temps from Saturday will turn to temps of the below freezing variety Sunday.

Chilly but not uncomfortable temps will continue to grip much of New England through Monday as the second of the aforementioned jet disturbances dives south out of the western Great Lakes. This upper air system brings with it more potential as far as big snow is concerned as it will carve a very deep trough along the east coast by the middle to later part of next week. There is all sorts of disagreement on specifics but the potential for an east coast storm is there for now. Good chance it also goes out to sea but this folks is what March madness is about. I am sure we will see a few interesting twists and turns regarding next week. We do now it will stay relatively chilly through most of the week and we shouldn't lose much of the base that remains.

Much of the key features in the long wave pattern will be pushed eastward, again the result of a slight re-arranging of our teleconnection indices. A good chunk of the country will warm by March 20th but whether or not this warmth reaches New England and eliminates our chances for new snow remains a question. There remains a chance with the continued downstream blocking in the jet stream, that conditions remain cold across the northeast.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Some wet snow for Monday, rain on Wednesday and then winter regains control of Vermont

The National Weather Service has a headline today talking about the "weakening La Nina". We did see sea surface temperatures throughout the winter drift into the La Nina category for a time but it was about half the strength of the La Nina in 2007-2008. Not inferring anything about the National Weather Service but headlines can be subjective and I like to include the quantitative part as a way of providing the proper context. Vermont is losing snow pack but is managing relatively well in a very adverse longwave pattern. MRG will have to endure some rain Sunday night but it may not amount to much. Furthermore, dewpoint temperatures are falling as drier and cooler temperatures build across the region. Drier air in particular has the impact of lowering the wet bulb temperature or the temperature at which 100 % humidity can be achieved. By early in the day Monday, precipitation at most elevations will be snow. Valley locations up through the MRG base can expect mostly a wet snow Monday but higher elevations could see a bit of powder which is a pleasant and somewhat surprising development since we are still in the middle innings of a relative thaw. Accumulations will vary based on elevation ranging from 4-6 inches at the summits to a wet inch or two on the valley floors.

Rain and ice Tuesday night into Wednesday
Monday's snow will be followed by a dry and seasonable March day. Since temperatures will climb above the freezing mark and winds will be light, skiing or any other outdoor activities will actually be rather pleasant. The tranquil conditions will not last however. The NAO is turning sharply negative and a strong cold front stretching southward from an advancing storm system will approach the region Tuesday night. Precipitation may begin as a some ice but is likely to change to a period of rain Wednesday before colder temperatures arrive.

Powder, when can we get some ?
To make use of this upcoming chilly change we will need the powder and Thursday and Friday both appear powder free unfortunately. By Saturday a jet impulse responsible for providing some cold air reinforcement may bring a light accumulation of snow but a big weekend accumulation is unlikely. Though the pattern will turn colder the mean position of the trough axis will actually be off the east coast. This makes it tough on storms as they are not given the chance to strengthen along the coastline before they are swept out to see. Precipitation is thus confined to terrain-induced events and the random bomber, clipper or mauler that might sweep southeastward with limited moisture. March however is an unstable month. You can do a lot with a little. The strong winter winter jet stream is still present in March but surface temperatures are warmer thus reducing stability. Little and often very benign looking events can turn noteworthy and we will have to keep our eyes open for that beginning this weekend and persisting into next week.

Looking way out in the 10-14 day time frame, the ensembles show evidence of a split flow scenario with energy flowing through the southern rockies, advancing east across the plains and eventually into some of the colder temperatures along the east coast. This is our next chance of something sizable but it woudn't occur until sometime in between the 18th and 23rd of the month.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rain and warm temps in the short term but winter's return is less than a week away

It is not a very exciting short term forecast and hardly worthy of another update. Friday's milder weather would be nice if we can get in on the sunshine but that may not happen until later in the day. Over the weekend, the real spring-thaw will be confined to the mid-atlantic and southeastern United States while Vermont will be in no-man's land, or stuck in the middle of a broad south to north temperature gradiant. The winter-like cold will have retreated deep into Canada and as moisture arrives from the southwest it will fall as rain. Steady precipitation is probably not going to begin until after the ski day Saturday (although we may get a shower early). This particular weather system has an elongated zone of overrunning that will extend across half of the country Saturday night. This will mean light rain into Sunday morning before the area of moisture sags south and seasonable temperatures settle into the region.

Rain Saturday, more rain/snow possible Monday and perhaps another next week
Saturday nights rain will mark the first of three occasions where precipitation will impact central and northern Vermont during this stretch of mild temps. The first two chances at precipitation are from more or less one interconnected system, which, after a dry period Sunday will threaten to bring more precipitation on Monday. Again temperatures will be a shade above freezing although in Monday's case we could see some snowfall on the upper part of the mountains. If you have been lucky enough to distract yourself from some of the dismal economic news and have tuned into what has happened weatherwise across the country you might have noticed the big snowfall totals in the Sierra Nevada mountains and other locations across the west. The unsettled weather has certainly focused itself out there for now and it means a series of west to east moving storm systems, the strongest of which approaches Vermont Wednesday. There are strong indications that this system, like its predecessor will bring a mild air northward as it tracks into Quebec and the result will be another round of rain or perhaps some ice. Fortunately this system will be a quick mover and its passage will mark the return of winter.


Winter's return

The ensemble information from our friends at the ECMWF (Europe) has really amplified on some of the ideas proposed in the last post. There are now overwhelming indications that the NAO will move decisively negative by the weekend of the 15th. When the NAO turns severely negative, an "Omega-block" often forms in the jet stream across Greenland and there is growing evidence in the forecast of such a feature. The feature may in fact become so strong that will extend to the poles and will thus turn two teleconnection indices to the pro-winter side of the spectrum. The weather as a result will swing back to the colder side of normal across New England and a few days between the 13th and 20th of March could very well be much below normal. There is yet to be any glaring signs for a big storm and in the next update perhaps we can identify a few opportunities for powder, but it would to early to venture down that road. For now however it would be fair to assume that winter will make a return and the powder days should join the party.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spring-like temps for the next week to ten days but winter isn't done

And the most deceiving thing about March can be that initial blast of mild temperatures. They can arrive very abrubtly, can last a week and sometimes beyond, and seem to always give the inclination that winter has had its final encore. But rarely is the latter the case. Winter usually makes a comeback and indications are it will again.

The forecast warms
The forecast in the short term however has warmed quite considerably. The pattern appears more amplified than it did a few days ago and the cold and snow will be isolated to the western United States while a strong upper level ridge brings warmth to a huge part of eastern North America. Over the next week temperatures will reach the 70's across many of the same locations that just saw the biggest snowfall of the season Monday. Vermont is unlikely to see temperatures that warm, but high temperatures in the 50's should occur on multiple occasions through the end of next week and this means corned-up spring conditions even at the summits.

Some rain or ice late this weekend and perhaps more rain next week
As far as specifics go, we sould see the cold weather maintain its grip on the region through Thursday. At that time the warm front marking the swing toward the milder temperatures will help induce a period of snow, perhaps enough for a light accumulation. Whatever falls however will be forgotten by Friday as temperatures make a run at 50 with the help of some sunshine. Saturday's temps will start mild but clouds and the possibility of rain late in the day could dampen the spring fever. Saturday's late day rain marks the approach of what appears to be the most organized weather system of the upcoming 10-day period. It will track out of the southern Rockies and into the St Lawrence Valley of Quebec. This storm will be working with very little cold air and it may take more than a change in track to save us from a round of rain or freezing rain either Monday or Tuesday.

Winter makes a return around mid-month ??
Sunday's rain or ice event is likely not the last of the spring intrusion. More mild weather and more rain is likely at some point later in the week. Whatever days turn out to be rain-free and sunny will be the real winners. As the mild weather continues to prevail through next week the NAO index will drop and turn significantly negative. This should utimately lead to another twist in the pattern and a return to winter prior to the St Patty's day. Even the PNA, which will itself turn very negative over the next few days will eventually erode and may turn postive sometime around the middle of the month. History, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, would also suggest that mild periods in March rarely mark the end of winter's demise. My guess is that it returns in a big way for at least a week during the last half of March and yields a few powder days in the process.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

5-10 inches of snow for the first Monday in March

The mountains in Georgia might beat this go round but we got to let them have a few and keep them in the game. Even cities like Atlanta are experiencing some heavy snow and should see an impressive accumulation before it tapers off Sunday evening.

Fine Tuned Details
Heavy snow will fall along and east of the Blue Ridge mountains stretching from the Carolinas north through Virginia as the storm moves off the Atlantic Coast and travels north-north east on a trajectory that will take it just east of Cape Cod and the eastern tip of Maine. Such a track will mean that much of the state of Maine will, for the second time in 10 days, be a storm sweet spot. Vermont will be situated on the western edge of some of the heaviest snow. If the storm could attain some additional strength it would enhance and broaden the zone of frontogentic forcing and mean an extended period of heavy snow across the state. As is, much of the will be of the light or moderate variety and should begin within a few hours of daybreak Monday. The snow should continue through the day and into the evening totaling 5-10 inches. Gusty north winds will blow down the spine of the Green Mountains and this will continue into Tuesday as precipitation becomes snow showers. Temperatures will be chilly throughout holding in the teens Monday and remain closer to 10 on Tuesday.

Temperatures will warm by the end of the week and we may get some wet snow leading into the weekend. Enjoy !!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Storm is nothing spectacular but good enough for a powder day Monday or Tuesday

And about the best thing that can happen when a 6-foot base is topped with 2 inches of crust is the addition of more powder. We will have to wait until Monday for such medicine but it looks like it will arrive and be quite welcome to the March Madness crowd. This storm in many ways is a classic late-winter early-spring type of event. It also is like the lawn mower that woudn't start on the first try. The upper level energy has been slow to position itself as the storms catylist. A low pressure center will actually try and form Saturday evening along the Carolina coast but will never take flight (No pun intended at the Wright Brothers who actually did take flight on the Carolina coast). Instead, a slow moving and moist storm system currently churning away in the deep south will inhale this infusion of jet energy and produce some big time snow across the southern Appalachians and perhaps as far south as Atlanta. The storm will then gather some strength offshore and head north-northeast.

Even as we get into the late innings of forecasting this sucker, some critical items concerning the storms intensity and track remain uncertain. We do have some model agreement that the storm will track just off the east coast and pass just east of Cape Cod. In addition, models seem to agree that the storm, although strong enough to produce a widespread accumulating snow, will never deepen to sub-1000 mb and will thus fall short of the extroadinary. None of this is completely etched in stone however and a stronger storm or one that tracks a bit closer to the Atlantic Coast could change the outcome.

Storm Details
As it stands now, snow will arrive Monday morning and continue at a light to moderate rate through the evening. Even if the storm fails to attain "super" strength it remains flanked by a strong area of high pressure and the gradient will be enough to produce a blustery north wind throughout the afternoon as temperatures hold steady in the teens. Snow accumulations will be within a few inches of "6" I am guessing. Tuesday is the best bet for the powder day although Monday could finish very strong depending on when the snow begins.

First Week in March
Blustery and cold conditions will be with us through Tuesday and the sub-freezing cold will continue through the day Wednesday although the wind should subside a bit. Thursday's temps which a few days ago looked "balmy" now appear to be seasonable with readings maybe approaching the freezing mark as another west to east moving system approaches. By this point much of the country will see a move toward milder temperatures but the NAO will make another big push into negative territory and this will prevent spring-like warmth from making the full intrusion into Vermont. Instead it looks as if the region is on the fence and could see a variety of winter weather or a snow event some time around Friday of next week.

Long Range
The remainder of the first half of March is indicated to have a similar theme as the one discussed in the above paragraph. The warmth in the plains may become more exaggerated and above normal temperatures are likely across a big part of the center third of the nation. Most of the unsettled weather, meanwhile, will be focused on the west. Some of the warmth will make a few tries at reaching Vermont and may occasionally get there but should get beat back by seasonable temps and a few of the smaller type winter weather events.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Car wash Friday, but more new snow is on the horizon along with an improved long range outlook

Temperatures will rise above the freezing mark for the first time in a week but we should avoid most of the precipitation Thursday with the exception of a little snow in the morning and perhaps a blanket of thick fog in the afternoon. Friday will be unavoidable I am sorry to say. Temperatures will climb into the 40's supported by a stiff southerly wind and the rain will arrive sometime during the midday hours. We could see a few hours of rather heavy rain but it will all be over quick enough late in the evening with precipitation ending as a bit of snow prior to Saturday morning's first tracks.

Split flow phasing and some big storm potential
Things then get rather complicated and a bit interesting as the weather pattern throws us a bit of a curveball. It really did look as if, with all teleconnections moving into the unfavorable category, that a stretch of mild weather and lack of snow could sustain for a week if not more. This no longer appears to be the case; instead the jet will remain split and will phase early next week causing a serious jet amplification and a major east coast storm. There are timing, phasing, tracking and intensity questions and the possibilities remain a bit vast. The ingredients, amazingly, are there for the taking. There is a southern branch storm, a feature left behind by Friday's rain event and a northern jet upper air kicker, the kind that can start a fire without lighter fluid. The cold air's hold on Vermont will remain a bit tenuous and the storm will need to track close enough to MRG to bring its moisture but not too close as to erode the cold. Phasing of a storm such as this can also be a very delicate process and small changes in the timing of seemingly inconsequential weather parameters can make a big difference. The event could bring precipitation, ideally snow, to MRG Sunday and provide a big time powder day Monday. Be prepared for some changes as the uncertainty barometer remains quite high.

A longer range which looks much improved
The possibility of new snow for early next week was actually discussed in the previous post but I had given a rather gloomy outlook when discussing the end of the first full week in March. This forecast now appears much improved for you winter weather enthusiasts. The NAO, which has turned positive, will not stay so for long. Within a week it will be negative again supported by the return of the same feature which ruled the throne for the the last half of February. The longer range ensembles have adjusted somewhat and have kept most of the mild weather in the plains and have suggested a more wintry scenario including more new snow for MRG between the 4th and 8th of March. This is a striking turnabout but a welcomed one for those of us that would like to see the deep bases preserved for few more weeks before the warmth of spring emerges. With the specifics remaining so clouded 4 days from now it would be silly for me to spell out details later next week but 1 or 2 powder days is very realistic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

MRG can bask in victory for a few days but more turbulent pattern is ahead

Thanks to everyone for the compliments over the past few days (encouraged of course by Eric at MRG) . The weather gods have been a bit kinder to me this year than they were in 2008 but errors have still been made and Sunday's storm actually came together a bit slower than expected and thus accumulations were a bit less than expected with more snowfall in Maine than in Vermont. So we settled for the 50-60 inches in 5 days and a few days remain to enjoy the fruits of our good fortune because New England weather can giveth and can taketh away and can do so both quickly and efficiently.

Snowmelt over the next two weeks will actually occur slowly and much of the base will get retained well into March. But starting this week we will have to fight off the adverse effects of teleconnections which have now turned against us, in some cases decisively so. Blustery conditions will continue Tuesday into Tuesday night and it will remain chilly. Wednesday however will be be sunny and calm and that will make it feel substantially warmer. Wednesday will also be the last full day where snow conditions stay on the powdery side. Thursday will be a good day to ski but the snow will soften as temperatures eclipse the freezing mark under a mix of warm late-February sun and some increasing clouds.

The pattern has now evolved into one where the active weather is situated in the Pacific Northwest. With the trough situated in western North America and the protection of the negative NAO now gone we will have to deal with ice and rain perhaps on multiple occasions. There are a few individual skirmishes where we can score a victory but it is not likely to come late Thursday into Friday. This is a storm which will barrel into the Great Lakes from the central Rockies and proceed northeastward deep into Ontario and Quebec. Cold weather, and plenty of it will be situated on the western side of this storm and the cold across New England will erode very quickly Thursday night. Precipitation may begin as some sleet or freezing rain but will eventually turn to plain rain Friday as temperatures climb toward the 40's. Colder weather and a minimal amount of snow will displace the mild weather and rain for the weekend but big accumulations should not be expected.

Early part of next week has promise but negative turning PNA spells trouble
The first week in March will be a turbulent one and will live up to the traditions established by many other terbulent New England March's of years past. The period Sunday through Wednesday will be wintry as the return to colder weather this upcoming weekend will get reenforced early next week by a temporary re-positioning of the ridge/trough set up in North America. In March, you can open a small window of opportunity for winter weather and can get some big powder. So yes, an east coast storm is possible and has been indicated in a few of the cycle of recent model runs but is far from a certainty and is still more on the unlikely side. At the very least we should see snow from a "clipper" or a "mauler", or "bomber" and this will provide at least one powder day. The later part of next week however is likely to see a re-emergence of warmer temperatures and perhaps another rain event. This again being the result of the adverse teleconnections; in this case, a PNA which will turn very negative by March 4th or 6th and stay that way for a period of at least 5 days.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mauler set to slam MRG with upwards of 2 feet of snow - "Epicality" alert set to high !!!

And for your all English teachers, the Single Chair Weather Blog wishes not to re-invent the English language but to instead make a positive contribution. I have already emailed the good people of Merriam-Websters dictionary and have informed them that the "Epicality index" is used in the extreme instances where MRG manages to get 40 inches of snow in half a week's time. Its just another teleconnection index !!!

Mauler gone wild
Referencing a post from around February 10th, the upcoming event Sunday would be storm #3. This is the "Manitoba Mauler" which has already made quite a dent in an already amplified jet stream. And this one like so many of the other big snow makers this year was indicated, for a time, to take a track where the big impacts would be felt by our southern neighbors. We are now just a day away and suddenly the expectations have shifted and the northern half of the Green Mountain spine is situated in a strategically perfect area for another big powder-fest. This is a storm that is already doing quite a lot of snowing with very little moisture and this is a demonstration of its dynamic prowess. When this storm interacts with the warmer Atlantic Ocean waters, it will deepens very rapidly and its moist conveyor will expand. Most importantly, the storm will take on a negative tilt and the process of doing so involves establishing a pivot point which in this case will be near the small strip of coastal New Hampshire. The area 100-200 miles northwest of this pivot point stands to get some V.I.P. treatment since it will dramatically extend the period of heavy snow.

Some timing and accumulation details
The details are as follows. Snow on Sunday will begin just prior to first tracks time and for a few hours will fall at a lighter intensity. An early guess is that the mountain only gets an inch or two by noon but the action picks up in the afternoon and it will clearly be one of those days where the last run of the day will be the most powdery. By evening I expect it to be dumping and with cold temperatures up and down the middle and lower troposphere, accumulations will be quite efficient and snowfall rates could be up around 3 inches per hour. By morning snowfall rates might slacken somewhat but not until after an impressive overnight accumulation of well over a foot. Some additional terrain induced snow Monday could bring totals close to 2 feet depending on the density/fluff factor. It will be a blustery and chilly day Monday with temperatures in the teens but you can not afford to miss this day after all the ongoings of the past week.

Save the bad news for last
The cold weather will persist through Wednesday morning but concern is rapidly increasing for a big ice to rain event late in the week. This event may not be the last in what appears to be a rather adverse week of weather beginning around February 26th. This is the result of all three teleconnection indices turning unfavorable thanks to the break down of the negative NAO. That is why I would take while the taken's good on Monday because we may have to wait until well into March to see another round of weather even half as comparable

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Storm has hardly been a thing of beauty

And the snow has fallen in fits and starts and has hardly been continuous. Still we will have the powder to ski in Thursday morning as promised although temperatures through the early afternoon will be close to the freezing mark at the base and some of the snow may turn wet for a time. The middle and upper troposphere will cool as the day progresses and this will cause critical layers of the atmosphere to destabilize and set the stage for roughly 36 hours of terrain induced snow. Colder temperatures and the convective nature of the precipitation will ensure a fluffy nature to the snow and will help boost snow totals. There is no huge reason to change the 1-2 foot expectations by Saturday morning but I am not particularly impressed with the initial conveyor of moisture and this may hurt our chances of exceeding the upper range but such is life (put a gun to my head right now and my total would be 10-20).

There is more welcomed news regarding our Manitoba Mauler. Its forecasted track has shifted north and although its interaction with the Atlantic Ocean might be more limited than previously thought, it is still supported by a potent disturbance which will have a more direct impact on interior New England. Most importantly for you weekend warriors is that the new snowfall may commence Saturday evening and continue through Sunday morning. The result will be several new inches of snow for Sunday the 22nd. So yes, the idea of 4 consecutive powder days is realistic.

4-6 inches for Thursday morning
4-8 inches Friday morning
2-4 inches Saturday morning
4-8 Sunday morning from the "Mauler"

More on the long range in a day or two but for now enjoy the powder !

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Storm won't be a home run ball but rather a double, a few well timed singles and a suicide squeeze

And those kind of rallies in baseball are good for several runs or in MRG speak a few powder days. Valentines Day 2007 it will not be since the storm is tracking too far north and too far inland for that type of event. The track of the low pressure center will pass over lower Michigan, proceed east-northeast and into the St Lawrence Valley before translating some energy to the Atlantic coast just in the nick of time. I say "nick of time" since the warm air's attempts to reach MRG will get thwarted and precipitation will remain as snow. What I like most about this event however is the terrain enhancement potential or terrain induced snow. Those words have eluded this blog far too much this winter but the pool of instability associated with this very deep and dynamic storm center will allow for an extended period of this typically very fluffy, ski friendly snow.

1-2 feet with the first inches being dense and the last being fluff
Snow from this long-talked about storm will begin Wednesday evening in between 5 and 9 PM. There has been some disagreement concerning at which time the snow will be heaviest. There is some loose agreement as of Tuesday afternoon to place the heaviest snow in this initial period during the early morning hours Thursday just prior to first tracks time. This will ensure a healthy accumulation of 5-10 inches for you Thursday skiers. Since this storm is passing so close to the mountain, there will be an area of sinking motion that could potentially end the snowfall for a time Thursday or at least reduce the intensity for a while. Such areas of sinking motion tend to transition through in time and this will be no exception. The pool of instability mentioned in the opening paragraph will create the welcomed situation where snow showers congregate around the mountain and this should begin late in the day Thursday and persist through much of the day Friday and into early Saturday. So on top of the relatively dense 6-12 inches of powder that falls prior to Thursday morning, we can expect an additional 4-8 of snow Thursday night into Friday and an additional 2-4 inches by Saturday morning. Terrain induced snow means that prognostications are subject to big errors in snow totals but the math adds up to a range of 1 to 2 feet and I will stick to that as a guess for now.

The "Manitoba Mauler"
Accumulating snow showers may taper to flurries Saturday for a period but by then we will have our eyes on another potent disturbance. This is the Manitoba Mauler discussed in the previous post and it will dive south from its appropriately named source region late on Saturday. The east coast can be described as a "tinder box" as the storm reaches the Atlantic Coast since the amplified trough will by then be well established and will set the foreground for a rapidly intensifying noreaster on Sunday. The timing, strength, track and eventual impact are all a question mark; in fact, there is a good chance that the impact on central and northern Vermont is limited but its a storm worth watching and its potential will get lots of color from the news media since an impact on major metro's is a possibility. The timing on such an event is most likely to be Monday as of now but stay tuned. We can say for certain that it will be blustery and chilly along with those flurries on Saturday and the cold weather will persist through early next week before giving way to a few mild days in the middle to later part of the week.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Track of late week storm continues to trend north

This trend has been a consistent one for a few days now and a storm that looked at one point to be taking aim at the Virginia Tidewater is now taking aim at MRG. The ideal winter storms do not track right at MRG as some of you know and we would prefer they track toward Boston leaving the spine of Green Mountains safely on the snowy flank. This storm still has a few days to make up its mind but a track toward MRG would limit the upside potential for powder and would mean a snowfall range of 12-18 as opposed to 18-36. If the storm tracks further south then our snowfall potential would again rise. Such a result may seem unlikely considering the trend but with a high latitude block fighting on our behalf we could certainly see expectations change in our favor at the last second.

Storm and all its details
In the meantime all will stay quiet. Flurries Monday will not amount to much and Tuesday should feature plenty of sunshine which will accompany this latest round of chilly temperatures. It will not be until Wednesday when clouds and eventually snowfall arrives from an already intense approaching storm system. If the storm tracks according to current expectations, it will deepen to 990 mb by the time it cruises through southern Michigan late Wednesday. It will continue to strengthen as it tracks toward Vermont and snow will overspread MRG late Wednesday. Snow will become very intense Wednesday night as the storm efficiently makes use of the available moisture from the warmer Atlantic Ocean waters. Because the low pressure center is tracking so close to the mountain, there are some inherent concerns. 1) Any storm passing this close is likely to bring a dry slot which will mean a period Thursday when no precipitation is falling or falling very lightly. 2) A storm passing this close can bring mid level warmth, that if strong enough, can cause a change to sleet or freezing rain. I am not overly concerned about the latter and the former isn't really that big of a deal. Snow will be heavy enough Wednesday night to accumulate 8-12 inches by first tracks time Thursday and a dry slot might at least make travel a bit safer and easier even if it does mean less powder. The pool of instability which will move over the mountain in the wake of the passage of this powerful system looks impressive. It will be enough, I think, to cause significant terrain induced snow beginning later Thursday and persisting into Friday. The three day snow total ending Friday may surpass 20 as a result but that should be a best case scenario only at this point.

Yes there is still another system to watch
There is then the question of the next system which will impact portions of the east coast between Sunday the 22nd and Tuesday the 24th. This is a system that will be spawned by a vigorous piece of jet energy diving southeast out of Canada. This is the "Manitoba Mauler" and may prove to be a memorable one for some location along the east coast but the question is where. The storm will ensure that the upper trough along the east coast is reinforced and it is possible that the system and its energy will be too far south to mean additional snows at MRG or we could again see a northward trend, another sequel to a movie that has repeated itself more than a few times this winter.

Milder weather very late in the month
The last item of note relates to the long range. After the round of chilly weather beginning on the 21st and ending around the 25th there are new signs of a stretch of milder temperatures. A few days ago it looked as though the negative NAO would hold through the balance of the month and would ultimately cause a big stretch of cold and sometimes powdery weather for us on the mountain. It now looks like the blocking negative NAO will break down somewhat and be replaced by a trough west/ridge east scenario that could then lead to an late February thaw. It would be very late in February though with no threat of extreme warmth or any rain until the 25th of the month at least.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 19th has everyone's attention

And it seems like even the most casual followers of the blog have been sending me a few cents about next week and what could be. Thanks to Art Hendrix who was nice enough to comment about the present and a few inches of snow which has fallen at MRG on the backside of what turned into a mostly rain event. These few inches will help as will some colder weather. Storm #1 however will not provide any assistance. This is a system that will be a victim of this monstrocity of a blocking pattern and as it spreads precipitation across the midwest and takes aim at the northeast, it will get forced southward taking much of its energy and moisture with it. A negative NAO such as this with blocking such as this can have some very positive uses as well and as predicted we will earn our dividends with a little patience.

Our Feb 19th "hypothetical storm" will have some tranquility in the foreground. Flurries and snow showers on Friday and Saturday will amount to a light and very fluffy accumulation but I think the depth of instability is not deep enough for a big terrain induced accumulation. These flurries may continue off and on with some intermittent sunshine both on Sunday and Monday. We will also see a brisk wind with temperatures in the 20's during the days and 5-10 at night. Tuesday may be a bit colder but with less wind.

Feb 19th - The ingredients that make a storm
As the cold weather stabilizes over interior New England the forces of mother nature will conspire and do so very early in the ball game. Pacific energy from the rockies will combine forces with jet energy diving south from Alberta. This combination will occur in the plains and thus the intensification of this storm system will occur early and cause heavy snow and rain across the Midwest. This storm has a lot of people talking as a result since major metropolitan areas from the Midwest to the Northeast has the potential to see an impact. Sponsors that were nice enough to support The Weather Channel are licking their chops as big ratings are sure to come.

Us skiers have other thoughts however like images of this --> http://wintercenter.homestead.com/photo1969b.html

For those old enough to remember, the 100 hour New England snowstorm of late February 1969 was a skiers paradise with upwards of 6 feet of snow in parts of the Northeast Kingdom or at least according to the folklore. It came on the heels of the famous Lindsay snowstorm which got its name from the NYC politician it claimed (not literally but politically if you get my meaning).

No time for a history lesson however since we need to lay out what we know. The storm will already be quite a force as it approaches late on Wednesday. As this already well established low pressure center interacts with the forces of the Atlantic Ocean, the intensification will continue and blizzard-like conditions are very possible over portions of New England Thursday and into Friday. Heavy snow across interior New England and the spine of the Green Mountains to be specific and MRG to be more specific seems to be a predictable by-product but lets not give this storm an early KISS OF DEATH. Thursday and Friday could be Valentine's day 2007 re-incarnated or it could be something less or it could be not at all.

In all honesty and with all the kidding aside, the storm next week is probably going to be a bit more than "not at all". Its just a matter of details and those still need to be ironed out and we will do so in the coming days. There is another storm also in its wake that will need a an injection of clarity. This storm may is showing up a bit later than it did a few days ago but February 19th is hogging a lot of press and its impact may span more days than just Feb 19.

Enjoy the presidents day holiday fellow MRGers and updates will continue to flow !!