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 !