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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 ( 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.


dan1 said...

Hi Josh- First, thank you for all your great work over the years, I'm a big fan.

On the topic of your considering 'broadening' the scope of your blog, I'm a southern VT skiier (Magic/Stratton, in that order)... being a Magic skiier, there is a kindered spirit w/MRG folks, as we make very little snow here, so the weather is critically important to the enjoyment of our sport. We have come to rely on your analysis, even though your concentration is on a different part of the state. There is currently no other content which does the same job you do on the web.

So I hope you will consider broadening your scope, to perhaps statewide/ full season (nov-apr) coverage. I promise to support whatever charity you choose!

j said...

Josh. I echo the previous commenter's sentiment. Thank you the invaluable in depth analysis and forecasting. I don't know what motivates you, but I greatly appreciate and happily reap the rewards of your diligence.

I also ski southern VT (mostly Okemo) where the multiple thaws were even more devastating than Northern VT. It feels like a lot of the goods were even south of Ludlow this year. I drove through a few storms from CT only to find the pow absent north of Springfield. Okemo may make plenty of snow, but powder days are all I count.
Thank's again.

HowieT2 said...

I just wanted to thank you for your hard work. Your posts keep hope alive during some dark days in the office waiting for the weekend up in the MRV. If you ever make it on over to Sugarbush, I'd be honored to buy you a beer.

arthendrix said...

Well Josh, It's now into Sept. and summer is almost by us on the calendar.

Since late June, my chat message in the office has been "the days are getting shorter, and I hope it snows soon", which many at work chide me for with great disdain.

While I have certainly enjoyed this recent week of dry sunny days, I couldn't help but think that the rainy periods we had in June, July, AND August could have been so much snow. I wonder if that's an indication of the El Nino developing, and will it reappear when the cold returns, or if it has nothing to do with the weather headed our way in the coming Winter months.

I came across a hornet's nest in the woods the other day (and got stung a few times for being too close) and it was pretty high off the ground. I suppose this is another one of my old wives tales I have shared, but I haven't seen a wooly caterpillar up close yet.

I'm going to be bold and predict a better than average winter for snowfall (there's got to be some hidden benefit for having been stung), and hope that the El Nino doesn't affect us in the wrong ways too much. You never know about when and how hard the thaws will hit (except they always seem to land right around the turn of the calendar year) so that could wipe the expectations clean without warning as they did last year.

Do you have any comments or insight yet? Been thinking about weather very much, or just enjoying your summer?

We all hope to hear from you soon with a wild pre-season prediction of some sort.

Have a great fall everyone!

Soch said...

Hey Josh-Thanks so much for your work. Myself and a few others live for your updates and share your enthusiasm for the region. Keep em coming! Can't wait to expand my vocabulary once again this season.
Think snow.

ml242 said...

I think the blame for this indian summer falls squarely on Josh for not delivering the winter forecast.

Josh, please make amends!

j/k hope all is well.