Think Snow, Tweet Snow !!!

Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 arrives with rain but favorable pattern re-emerges quickly thereafter

The thaw is underway across Vermont and many thaws in Vermont end badly for the ski hounds as rain can often highlight the grand finale of any warm spell. This will be no exception as rain seems intent on making an appearance with very late New Years Day or very early on the second. Until then it will be mainly dry with temperatures New Years Day climbing into the 40's. The rain will not be overwhelming with the consensus of information indicating about a quarter of an inch by first tracks time on the 2nd. Temperatures will be on the balmy side early Sunday but gradually turn colder and fall below the freezing mark again (after a 24-hour stint above freezing) by late morning Sunday. Snow showers and flurries are expected Sunday night into Monday but layer of instability does not look impressive and terrain induced snow amounts late Sunday into Monday will be in the 1-2 inch range if that.

As mentioned in the last post, another and very similar looking blocking pattern will emerge. The first chance for a "fluff up" comes late Tuesday into Wednesday from a clipper system that will pass through the Great Lakes and into the Northeast. The clipper could bring a few inches of snow to the mountain before reinforcing the winter-like temps for later in the week. A more significant storm late in the week may have our attention or may pass innocently to our south or not come together at all. Models have been a little skiddish so far on this hypothetical event but we could certainly use a big powder event going into the weekend of the 8th and 9th. More about that on Sunday. Until then have a Happy New Year and please be safe.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Warm-up on the way but December pattern my re-emerge to my surprise

The east coast blizzard was so close but yet so far. The big snow was more or less "a ridge away" with locations in the hills west of the upper valley receiving over a foot yet MRG got less than 4. Meanwhile another New York city mayor is getting crucified over the seemingly slow clean-up in New York city. He would not be the first to suffer through political misfortune because of a blizzard. In 1969 John Lindsay, the then mayor of New York had his political career ruined because of slow clean-up efforts following a major winter storm. 10 days later MRG got one of its most historic winter storms, so we can only hope for a repeat performance although there are no indications of this as of yet.

Instead, the weather will turn mild for a few days heading into the New Years weekend. Wednesday and Thursday will feature more sun, less wind and remain winter-like with temperatures in the single numbers during the morning and upper 20's to low 30's during the afternoon. We should also have some good visibility on both days. On Friday, temperatures should warm past the freezing mark softening the existing base and on New Years Day, readings could reach the 40's. This all results from a temporary relaxation in the pattern, driven mostly by Pacific Jet energy in the west which is expected to crush Colorado with snow and some big chill for them in the last days of 2010. The good news here is that we do expect this warm-up to be of a dry variety. Some showers might be mentioned in the forecast for Saturday but most of the day will be dry and the front which will be responsible for any rain will not bring a lot of it and probably not until Saturday night or early Sunday. Temperatures will then fall back under the freezing mark by later Sunday.

In my last update, I was encouraged somewhat at the expected shift of the PNA to positive and the appeared re-positioning of the ridge-trough pattern west by early January. All this will happen for about two days and then to my surprise another monster blocking feature will form across the Davis Strait and eastern Canada. In addition to this will be the formation of another ridge in the Bering Sea. Both these features will be the most significant on the upper air map by January 5th. This is very similar to much of what we saw in December. It wasn't a bad pattern overall but right now we are remembering it for a big rain event in early December and the big miss this past weekend. It did however yield over 80 inches of early season snow to the mountain which is a good total in the early going. If we can repeat that and avoid the rain, this upcoming month will be a pretty good one. That being said there are no significant events on the horizon and additional snow (of any significance) is not likely for at least a week. Talk of a storm may resume for the weekend of the 8th and 9th but we have a long way to go yet.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Overnight models keep monster storm within 100 miles of the Cape

And the suddenly very inconsistent European model nearly had the storm on top of the Cape by Monday morning which was nearly a 200 mile shift west from its prior run. Such a scenario paints a snowier picture for Vermont Monday although the heaviest snow would still be to our south and east. The inability of our collective assortment of models to demonstrate any consistency or agreement from run to run underscores how tenuous any forecast is at this point. Much of the uncertainty at this point surrounds the rate at which the storm will deepen once it moves off shore. The lastest information is suggesting a much more rapid deepening, capable of resulting in blizzard like conditions for much of southern New England along with a paralyzing snow. A deepening of this magnitude would allow the storm to resist the eastward push it will be receiving progressing pattern.

NWS out of Burlington has tried to convey the snow risk by suggesting a 50-60 percent chance of snow for the region and using the headline "accumulating snow possible". This isn't a bad way to handle a rather tricky situation. We can certainly still take a big swing and a miss in regards to this system but at least we have a real fighting chance for a 6-12 inch event. Hypothetically, the snow would begin early Monday morning, several hours before first tracks time and persist through much of the day. We can certainly hope but expectations should be kept in check, it can go either way.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Post Christmas storm to track too far east for big snow

It was a question of a few hundred miles and it looks like that question will get answered in the wrong way for us powder hounds. Ideally, a low pressure center tracking between Boston and the Cape yields the best results for MRG and our surroundings. We have seen a convergence in the consensus of information over the past 24 hours and this is suggesting that the low will track at least 100 miles east of Cape Cod and the swatch of snow associated with this will be confined to eastern Massachusettes the southeast third of New Hampshire and coastal Maine. Its certainly is an unfortunate turn of events since sources of fresh powder over the next week or so appear limited.

Storms passing east of the Cape have been a recurring theme this month. The culprit for this lies in the prevailing pattern which has consisted of a mean ridge axis oscillating between the Dakotas and eastern Montana (a bit too far east for our liking). We have been saved on three consecutive weeks by the high latitude blocking to our north and east which has trapped many of these systems out over the Atlantic and moisture has been allowed to rotate its way back into the Vermont and New Hampshire high country. In this case the pattern will begin to undergo some changes and the position of this mean ridge will progres east and Pacific Jet energy will unload on the west. This "progression" in the pattern will also help move our storm out to sea at a very brisk pace and prevent moisture from this system from rotating back into the Green Mountains. In the end we may escape with a small of amount of snow Monday but our chances for epic powder are quite low at this point.

The middle part of the week will be mainly dry as I mentioned. Temperatures will be on the chilly side early in the week with readings close to zero both Monday and Tuesday morning and rising only into the teens during the day. Readings should rebound nicely Wednesday and Thursday however easily reaching the middle 20's during the afternoon and possibly approach the freezing mark. It will be very blustery early next week thanks to the strong off-shore storm but winds will subside somewhat during the middle of the week.

I scratched the surface a bit talking about some of the changes in the overall pattern and these changes will have a profound impact on the outcome for New Years weekend and beyond. Our Bering Sea block will vanish over the next 5 days or so and this opens the door for the Pacific Jet energy to unload on the west and for a big warm-up across a broad area of the eastern half of the U.S. including New England. The warm-up will be short-lived but there is a storm in here that will threaten to bring some unwanted ice and rain to the region during the first few days of the new year. We will keep some of the blocking in eastern Canada and some of this will extend back into western Canada allowing the PNA to turn positive for the first time in quite a while by early Jan. It will thus turn colder quickly in what should be an active start to the year. The pattern should consist of a active Pacific Jet, some arctic or at least Canadian air on the playing field and a few systems crossing the country over a 7-10 day period. If we get a more decisive turn in the PNA and the blocking across Canada eases somewhat it would open the door for some signficant weather systems to track in our direction but its a long way off. For now, Merry Christmas !

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Storm prospects looking up...

and after a 4-8 inch fluff-up Wednesday and Wednesday night, the focus will shift to the period following Christmas Day as the possibilities for a major, major storm in that time frame have increased over the last two days. Until then we can enjoy the pre-christmas snow mentioned above and the crisp, relatively dry and partly sunny days that follow between the Thursday and Saturday.

The storm's energy stems from the feet of snow that is falling over the Rocky Mountains from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Colorado. By early Christmas Day it won't look like too much with some rain falling along the Gulf Coast and snow across northern Alabama and eventually the mountains of north Georga, perhaps enough in those areas for an unusual white Christmas. Fortunately, for us the jet stream will be split and polar jet energy will dive south out of Canada and give this system a major infusion of upper air support as it encounters the relative warmth of the Atlantic Ocean. The result will be a rapidly deepening system either on or just off the Carolina Coast by early Sunday. I think we have figured this much out regarding this very important and quite possibly very ferocious weather system but its exact position Sunday morning and eventual track from here will be the determining variable. The American GFS model has flirted with a big east coast snow event with a few runs taking the system off shore and a few runs showing a northeast hit. A succession of European model runs however have been far more bullish and the relative consistency of this data has gotten the SCWB very excited. So long as we can track this storm reasonable close to the Atlantic Coast, there is a good chance some of the moisture can get caught under the blocking we keep talking about post after post. Although we can still get a complete miss out of this storm, the upside has become huge with more snow than I even dare mention early next week.

Any snow Monday and Tuesday will be followed by a dry and relatively tranquil period in the days prior to new years. Temperatures in the wake of a storm, or no storm will be chilly diving below the zero degree mark on one or two mornings and rising only in the teens. The early week chill will be accompanied by strong winds but both the chill and the winds will subside by later in the week making the late week skiing pristine if our above storm comes to fruition. For now we can at least be optimistic.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Midweek snow will help but nothing spreads more holiday cheer than a Christmas storm, but we can only hope at this point

No major update is really required for the upcoming week but we do have a huge holiday week approaching and the last post didn't dive that period in too much depth. For the third consecutive week, we expect moisture from the a storm well out over the Atlantic to get sucked back into the high country of interior New England and deposit some snow for MRG and other places. As mentioned, it all results from the upper air block across eastern Canada which is more or less trapping this moisture over the Canadian Maritimes and allowing it to rotate back and around so it can be put to good use. As of this morning, the snow, which should fall in the late Tuesday to early Thursday time frame will be in the 4-8 inch range and although weather conditions might be a little windy, temperatures will be seasonable with 20's for high's and single digits or teens for lows.

Most of Thursday into Christmas Eve will be dry but the talk of the week will be a significant weather system that is expected to exit the central Rockies on the 23rd and progress west to east across the country on the 24th. Given its timing, the storm will garner some huge news headlines as it promises to be a major travel head-ache in a period where many like to travel. In addition the storm has the potential to impact a huge swath of metropolitan areas from the Midwest to Mid-Atlantic to northeast. This potential weather-maker has been very visible on a succession of model runs since last Friday but the consensus indication is that this storm will move off over the Atlantic before dealing MRG any huge powder. The upper air "block" over eastern Canada will largely be to blame if such an outcome occurs since although it can provide some needed protection from the ice and rain it can also encourage systems to track well to our south in a February 2010 style. Still it will not take much for our expectations to change. A slight shift in the track northward or an earlier northward turn would allow this storm to bring its moisture our way. Or, we could see this storm, like the previous three, get tangled in the blocking as it tracks off shore thus allowing its moisture to again rotate back in our direction.

Storm or no storm, cold and blustery weather will make a return in the days after Christmas and I am hoping some additional snows accompany this transition. I am becoming more and more confident that the threat of ice or rain in the period between the 24th and New Years Day is very low but after Christmas Day there are no real indications of a major weather system of any kind. We will more or less have to rely on weaker disturbances or passing clipper systems for additional powder. Overall though you can't complain since December skiing in New England has in some years been declared a total loss and is certainly not such this year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

5 days since the last post and not much has changed

Yesterday afternoon's European model run again allowed a major storm to "bomb" along the east coast and subsequently get caught under the high latitude block in eastern Quebec, dumping major snow's across Vermont and the rest of interior New England. The several pieces of model data released since yesterday afternoon have all suggested otherwise, keeping the storm well off shore and keeping the region very dry with the exception of a few flurries over the high country. This system is worth keeping an eye on but I am about ready to write this weather system off at this point. Unlike last weekend we will avoid the rain and continue to collect a dividend payment from a weather pattern fully energized by a very negative Arctic Oscillation. Two blocking mechanisms in this pattern are more or less conducting the orchestra; one I mentioned over eastern Canada and another over the Bering Sea. The Eastern Canada block has been so remarkable in its ability to draw incredibly mild temperatures deep into northern Canada. Temperatures on the east side of the Hudson Bay were all above freezing Thursday and Friday and the ice which had been expanding, actually receded a touch. The Hudson Bay has been slow to freeze this year and although Northern Hemisphere snow cover remains above average, open water on the Hudson Bay is not a particularly positive feedback for allowing cold to pool in eastern Canada and ultimately descend into northern New England. We will be alright for the time being but the aforementioned observation could come back to haunt us later.

Our next realistic chance for snow comes during the middle of the upcoming week. Again it will the blocked pattern which yieid another serving of mid-week powder. One weather system will move west to east rather quickly Tuesday and manage easily avoid the region passing well to the south. In the meantime energy in the North Atlantic will get sucked back under the block in eastern Canada and deposit some moisture across MRG and the rest of the Vermont high country during the middle of the week in the form of snow. Results similar to what the mountain saw the last few days are completely in the realm of reasonable expectations and a repeat of this should be enough to get the season started finally.

Another system should depart the mountain west just prior to Christmas and cross the country rather quickly. It will be difficult for these types of systems to make enough of a northward push to produce a major snowfall at MRG simply because the block in eastern Canada will exert some "downward" pressure on all such weather systems. Still, the pattern remains very favorable with a stretch of below freezing temperatures and at least some new snow for this week and a negative AO which should ensure more of the same (at the very least) for Christmas week. Even if we don't get a big storm, we can do a lot worse and have in the past had some horrendous holiday periods. Enjoy the weekend and don't just think snow, think "additional snow"!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another setback but another big week for new snow

43 degree dewpoints, heavy rain and a tarnished MRG base is not exactly putting me in the Christmas spirit early this week. The Sunday/Monday storm turned into a fiasco and a major setback to what was a promising start to December. In truth, this resembles much of what was expected this winter, a roller coaster ride of weather results and in this case it was 30 inches of snow followed by over an inch of rain. The proverbial "silver lining" does exist and the high terrain of northern Vermont should make a rapid and an eventual full recovery.

Rain becomes light snow by Monday evening as temperatures slowly make a return to the freezing mark. We will then watch the sequel to last week and hope the sequel is as good as the original. Sunday's big rain-maker will get caught underneath all the high latitude jet stream blocking and a second piece of energy with a fresh supply of Atlantic Ocean moisture will migrate northwestward toward interior Quebec. Moisture from this system will arrive Wednesday and this should occur after an initial few inches of backlash snows Monday night into Tuesday. Snow totals between Monday night and Thursday will be in the 8-14 inch range and the high elevation areas will have a big edge.

Heavier snow showers will taper to flurries later Thursday and continue into Friday. Much of the country will have experienced some well below normal temperatures this week but readings in Vermont will be very ordinary ranging between the teens and low 20's. By this weekend, a weather system will be tracking into the Tennessee Valley and will bring both rain and snow to the Ohio Valley. Most of the model runs have taken this system well out over the Atlantic Ocean but we did get a European run this afternoon which allowed this system to develop into a major coastal storm and a big snow producer for most of New England. Its worth watching for sure but we should wait for more evidence before getting our hopes too elevated.

Even should any hypothetical late weekend storm turn into a "non-event" we should remain optimistic as the pattern remains anchored by a very negative Arctic Oscillation. The negative AO will peak in the next 7-10 days as a massive block covers the Baffin Bay and much of the southern Arctic Ocean. Another weaker block will remain in place across the Bering Sea. Much of the U.S. will thus remain in the firm grip of below normal temperatures as a result of all this. Temperatures across Vermont will remain close to normal but smaller disturbances should allow for powder possibilities through the Christmas holiday. Stay dry this Monday, new snow and a return to winter is not far away.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Storm Sunday/Monday to bring rain than snow....

but the pattern will be generally favorable through the time of the winter solstice and this sets the mountain up rather well for the holidays. The storm in question is a "BC bruiser", and a rather innocent looking one it will be as it crosses into southern Alberta and dives southeastward from there. The storm will get turbo charged by a huge injection of polar jet energy which will more or less bomb the system out before it even interacts with the Atlantic Ocean. This is a bit problematic for interior New England since surface pressure's associated with this weather system will be so low before it even crosses the Appalachian Mountains thus making it difficult for a successful transformation off the Atlantic Coast. Many storms that track in this fashion lay flatter and are initially weaker but this one will be quite strong and will be standing quite upright and thus envelop warm Atlantic Ocean marine air across New England. The result will be a widespread rain event across southern New England and a mixed precipitation to some rain type of event across northern Vermont. Since the mountain has yet to open, it isn't the end of the world but it be good if we can keep dewpoints close to the freezing mark and keep the wind down. Both are huge factors relating to the rate at which snow can melt. The former appears better than the latter as I would guess dewpoints remain in the 30's but the wind gets whipped up pretty good by early Monday morning.

This storm, like the prior event will also get caught underneath the mammoth block over Greenland and as temperatures rapidly turn colder late Monday, moisture from the trapped system will rotate back over New England and deposit some additional snows across the region between late Monday and Wednesday. Snow totals in this period could approach a foot but its a bit early to tell for sure. With a solidified base and some additional snow next week, the mountain could be in good enough shape for an opening on MRG's target date but much will depend on the damages done Monday morning.

Teleconnection indices remain rather favorable as I mentioned above let mostly by the Arctic Oscillation which will remain very negative. The block over Greenland will migrate into eastern Canada a bit and will limit the region's access to any fresh supply of cold air after Tuesday even though it is not expected to be extremely mild (just above normal). The prevailing storm track however should be good enough to allow for the chances for additional snow from another storm toward the weekend of the 18th and 19th. More on that in a subsequent post Sunday.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snow totals adding up, big storm to watch Sunday/Monday

Light to moderate snow will continue through Tuesday before tapering to flurries Wednesday. With 10-plus inches of new snow the mountain will have a powdery finish and an appealing look but the base will remain shallow and appropriate only for your pair of rock ski's you would have otherwise advertised on Craigslist for $20. We do have a weather pattern anchored by a nasty Greenland Block and negative NAO and this will allow for the continuation of below freezing temperatures and is certainly setting the stage for an early season big storm and we will get our chance on the 12th or 13th of the month.

There will be two jet stream disturbances that will move quickly eastward out of the Pacific Northwest late this week and the weekend. The first, can be described as an alberta clipper which will spread light snow across the Great Lakes and ultimately interior New England early Saturday. This first feature can be compared to trying to start your lawn mower for the first time in two weeks. It will pull hard but the mower won't start and the moisture and upper air support will be lacking and so will the snowfall. We will hardly notice its presence in the end and will instead be focused on the second feature which will dig and dig hard as it progresses into the middle of the country. The amplification with this second feature (originating from the BC coast) will be very rapid and occur very quickly. Too quick for comfort perhaps as the surface low pressure center will gather steam in the Ohio Valley and like many storms during La Nina winters, head into New York state and interior New England. It will be a track that promises to bring the threat of all types of precipitation and although we have a chance for a major snow storm, precipitation could change to a sleet/freezing rain mixture and perhaps even rain. Hopefully this system can make an important jump to the coast before tracking up toward the St Lawrence Valley. Many storms which encounter a mammoth Greenland block such as this one will make this jump and we will need it here to make this event a big success.

Colder weather and snow showers will follow for early next week and with the negative NAO dominating the field of play, below freezing temperatures and continuous chances for snowfall will continue through 17th-18th of December.

Friday, December 3, 2010

2010-11 season to start with a huge bang

Thanks largely to a well established upper-air block in the jet stream across Greenland and the very negative NAO which is a direct result. This is the very same feature which dominated the weather pattern last year, a year where the blocking was so severe and the southern branch so powerful that a succession of storms tracked well to the region's south. A similar pattern this year will yield much more fruitful results as the upcoming week will prove. Our live look at the MRG base might not show much in the way of snow at the moment but the view will be very different in a week's time and discussions of a very grand opening will pick up in earnest !!

Colder weather, which is dominating much of the central part of North America has been a little sluggish in its eastward progression leaving much of interior New England "above normal" though readings have fallen below the critical freezing mark across higher terrain. This will remain the case over the next few days as we witness the Midwest and deep south get a surge of chill by the 5th of the month. As the cold moves south, a storm will take shape across the Gulf of Maine and intensify very quickly. I alluded to this feature in the last post as a possible snow maker and it should prove to be of much greater significance than originally thought. As we progress into early next week, this storm will get caught under the all important Greenland block and retrograde into Quebec. As it does so, a moist conveyor will rotate into the northern Green Mountains and snow will begin to accumulate across much of northern Vermont although the high country will receive the biggest benefits. Between Monday and Wednesday snowfall totals could range in the 1-2 foot category.

The upper trough axis will shift east later in the week and temperatures should fall dramatically by Wednesday. Snowfall late in the week will largely depend on the available low level instability because the Champlain powder machine should be open for business (with the lake being unfrozen). It is tough to tell this early how deep that layer of instability will be but a subsequent post can fine tune that forecast.

Of more significance could be a more potent weather system which should exit the Rockies late next week and have a bit more moisture to work with as it proceeds east toward the region. This storm will be a product of a more consolidated jet stream this year and like many systems this year, the question will be its ultimate track and its ability to gather moisture from the Gulf Mexico since many such weather systems can struggle somewhat in this regard. Even at this early juncture I feel relatively confident for additional snows next weekend and this will make for a fantastic 7-10 days of early season skiing across northern New England. The even better news is the recent indication from the European Ensemble package which suggests a continuation of a blocked up and negative NAO dominated pattern through the 15th to 17th of the month. This will really limit the chances for any significant thaw or rain through the middle of December.

Lastly, I wanted to expand on this whole "favorability index" theme which will be a more objective measure of the three teleconnection indices that the SCWB keeps an eye on. The index is a cumulative measure of the NAO, PNA and AO over the next two weeks with the signs of the NAO and AO flipped. More importantly, a favorability rating of over "2" is excellent while anything under -2 is rather unfavorable. Hopefully this will keep me honest and perhaps keep me out of trouble !! Enjoy the early season turns.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Big block over Greenland will ensure cold and some snow after Dec 1

A large upper air "block" has certainly established itself across Greenland over the past week. It has tag teamed with another high latitude blocking feature centered over the Bering Sea to allow arctic air to flood the country and will ensure a generally favorable early season pattern for the beginning of December. The benefits of the negative NAO will unfortunately not be felt until after the 2nd or 3rd of the month. The Bering Sea block has allowed a large trough to form across the inter-mountain west and this in turn will allow a large fetch of mild southerly to flow to establish itself across the east and this will flood the region with mild air very quickly on Tuesday. The rain will soon follow and rain it will to the tune of 1-2 inches. We might as well get this out of the way now because an event like this would have a devastating impact on skiing were it to come prior to the Christmas holiday.

So speaking from the standpoint of the MRG "base" we will be starting from scratch on December 2nd but a sustained period of cold weather will begin on that day. Temperatures will be seasonable through the upcoming weekend and by the looks of it, we will not have the instability for a big terrain induced snow event. There will be a lingering "baraclinic" area (you could say front) in the Gulf of Maine and this has the chance to stir up a bit of snow though the chances for accumulations will be best over coastal regions though much is left to be determined. The combination of better instability and even weak weather systems should result in some new snow early next week and hopefully by then we can start discussing a opening day party.

There is evidence that the block over Greenland will begin to break down around December 10th but our Bering Sea blocking feature will remain. The pattern will thus turn more variable but we should begin to churn out a few weather systems as we approach the middle of the month. There are a few additions or side features which should help to provide more of a numerical summary. Included will be seasonanal and 7-day snowfall totals at MRG and expected snowfall over the upcoming 7-day period. I will also include a favorability index. This will be a very generic, cumulative measure of the three teleconnection indices: the Arctic Oscillation (AO) the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Pacific-North American (PNA index. The AO and NAO index is favorable when negative while the PNA is favorable when positive. Thus for the purposes of the "favorability index", the signs of the AO and NAO will be flipped and added to the PNA index for a final total. This approach has weaknesses but it will be a simple non-subjective and numerical way of looking at the next two weeks since our newly devised "FI" will be calculated at 7 and 14 days.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Winter 2010-2011: The revenge of La Nina !!!

It is the middle of November and the weather has been excruciatingly mild so it must be time to kick off the seventh season of Single Chair Weather Blogging. Preseason forecasts can be a mess to evaluate in hindsight for their inexactitudes, inaccuracies and unquantifiable subjectivities. It can generate some excitement an for me induce a sudden craving for Magic Hat's Single Chair ale, which seems to be in short supply during Vermont's stick season (someone will have to clue me in on where to find some out of season SCA).

The emails I have gotten, which can now be sent to josh.aaron.fox@gmail.com (as opposed to yahoo) suggest that the SCWB reader continues is getting more and more weather literate asking the tough questions months ahead of the time when they usually get answered. We have an impressive audience of "in the closet" and "out of the closet" weather geeks and this helps to make running the SCWB a lot more fun. The talk this year has mostly revolved around La Nina and rightly so. It has blossomed quickly, decisively and promises to be a dominating force throughout the winter months. Its development also underscores how sharply the upcoming winter promises to deviate from the outcome last winter which featured a moderate El Nino, a vigorous and very moist southern branch of the jet stream and a season that I will now referred to as "the great inversion of 2009-2010" for its tendency to provide snow and cold to our friends down south and agony due to the lack of snow in Vermont. Preseason forecasts may be mostly famous for vagueness (I confess to share the guilt on this) but I can stress, even in mid November that the upcoming winter will be a striking contrast to the last and will quickly display a very different personality. If nothing else, it will keep the prognosticators on our toes, since frequent updates will be required to what should be a rapidly changing and volatile weather pattern. It will prove to be fun and challenging if nothing else.

La Nina's return
The ENSO conversation is typically the easiest part of the preseason discussion. Its associations and relationships are known and a ENSO event is easily quantifiable. This years La Nina has already received a ton of discussion and for good reason. As an aggregate measure, the current La Nina in September-October (-1.59 SST anomaly)is the strongest since 1955. I was somewhat surprised that we didn't blow right through the tropical storm alphabet since La Nina's of such ferocity usually are associated with very active hurricane seasons (this year's actually was but we did not see any major land falling storms in the U.S. and we didn't blow through the alphabet, at least not yet). Two other La Nina event that comes close developed in 1988 a winter we would just assume forget and 2007 a winter where I was pleasantly surprised. The winter of 1970-71 also featured a strong La Nina (although one that developed very late) and this winter turned out like a dream with incredible snowfall amounts across northern Vermont. This may seem like a pointless range of possibilities to discuss (since the range includes seemingly everything) but La Nina winters have a distinct personality that ties them together as opposed to specific snowfall amounts. Two features that seem most persistent and most influential tend to be a large and potent ridge across the Gulf of Alaska and a persistent ridge across the southeastern United States. This often dreaded southeast ridge can make winter's non-existent in our southern mid-latitudes below 38-40 north. Ski areas that received the high snowfall amounts last year like Seven Springs in PA or Snowshoe in West Virginia will not be so lucky this year. It is a different ball game up north however. Storm systems, and many of them, get deflected up through the Ohio or Mississippi Valleys toward the eastern Great Lakes and then often proceed to split New England into pieces in terms of the weather that results including heavy snow across northern areas, ice, ice and more ice across southern interior areas and rain along the coasts. This line of rain to ice to snow is by no means a constant and tends to fluctuate from north to south based on the storm track or readily available fresh supply of cold air. During some winters, MRG is on the favorable side of all the uncertainty (70-71), some they are not and most fall in between. This means some weeks turn out very snowy but there are several where ice and rain can greatly damage our skiing enjoyment. It is often unfortunate because there is not much even a little elevation can do to stop surges of mid-level warmth that often become so prevalent during these type of winters. Latitude does greatly help however and we do have that working for us (44 north thank you very much !!

2007-2008 winter forecast got suffocated much to our delight !!
The discussion about the current La Nina should also include a look at the 2007-2008 winter. That season was predicted to be a poor one since it was thought that the La Nina strength combined with the slow autumn buildup of northern hemisphere snow cover would be tough to overcome. That forecast was terrible but in retrospect revealing. For one, it is another in an invariable string of reminders of how inaccurate these forecasts can be. Secondly, it did provide a bit of inspiration for some preseason research. The results are interesting in a study that involved looking at strong ENSO events (strong La Nina's or strong El Nino's) and snowfall and temperatures across northern New England. The temperature results are not surprising. The strong El Nino events are dominated by milder temperatures and strong La Nina events feature above normal temperatures of a lesser degree. Snowfall in winters featuring significant ENSO events was a bit suprising. Both strong La Nina's and El Nino's featured above normal snow which to some might seem like a counter-intuituve result. It would be healthy to maintain a bit of cynicism regarding the results since the sample size which spanned 60 years and 21 qualifying winters is rather small. Still it is fair to suggest that the winter forecast made in 2007-2008 was a bit too pessimistic. The premises were right and many of those premises will remain this year.

The build up of snow and a further look at other strong La Nina winters
Looking at the buildup of snow across the northern hemisphere is our empirical method for assessing the hypothetical magnitude of cold airmasses through the upcoming winter. It is very inexact and can change over the course of the season. Snow cover area however often proves to be an important thermal feedback especially when trying to predict the sign of temperature. It helps cold air pool more efficiently especially early in the season when large expanses of high latitude land can either be covered in snow or snowless. The 10 most recent strong La Nina winters featured the following coverage of snow (in millions of square km) across the northern hemisphere during October and November. The end result of each winter is included on the right.

Year Snow Result
1970-71 28.6 Very cold, much above normal snow
1973-74 27.6 Slightly mild and above normal snow
1975-76 23.8 Slightly cold and above normal snow
1984-85 25.4 Slightly cold and above normal snow
1988-89 22.1 Slightly mild, way below normal snow
1998-99 26.6 Very mild, normal snow
1999-00 25.5 Very mild, below normal snow
2007-08 24.4 Mild, much above normal snow
2010-11 ~25.3 ??

The average snow cover area for the northern hemisphere during this period is 25.3. The period ending this November 30th will come in just at or slightly over that number. It is interesting that that the year with the highest autumn snow cover turned out to be the best and the year with the lowest (1988) turned into the worst as far as skiing goes. Somewhat circumstantial perhaps but probably not entirely so. This winter has seen a healthy buildup of snow and a rapid expansion in the last week or two across the North America but its not much better than average over a two month period so therefore difficult to draw any conclusions.

Our friend the PDO
The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is another variable we have factored in to the preseason forecasts. The PDO refers to the configuration of temperatures across the mid-lattitude Pacific Ocean as opposed to the ENSO which refers to the equatorial Pacific. A positive or warm phase is often but not always teamed up with an El Nino and tends to feature a long-wave or jet stream pattern consisting of a trough in eastern North America and a ridge in western North America. A negative phase of the PDO is often prevalent during a La Nina and has the opposite effect. Data in recent years suggests that we have moved into a prevailing negative PNA and that last years strong El Nino was tag teamed with a very weak positive PDO. This year the PDO has swung back to negative and it appears it will remain there through the winter. This comes as no surprise and supports a pattern we are already expecting given the strength of the current La Nina.

The Quasi-Biennial Oscillation
Just like with the PDO, 10 years ago, there has been work and increased discussion over the last several years regarding the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation and its relationship to the behavior of weather patterns in the northern hemisphere winter. I hope to keep most of the in-season discussions focused on more benign terminology but I did learn enough from emails and other discussions to provide a brief blurb. The QBO refers to the oscillation of the equatorial zonal wind in the stratosphere and is measured as an westerly or easterly index with westerly having a positive index and easterly negative. Some work has been done to establish a relationship between the phase of the QBO and Sudden Stratospheric Warming Events (another lengthy term). The SSWE have their own lengthy description and definition but they are associated with mid latitude jet stream blocks that are often the cause of sustained periods of cold weather. The easterly phase of the QBO for instance last year was said to encourage the persistent negative NAO. It has since moved to westerly perhaps suggesting less frequent negative NAO events and a more zonal pattern. None of this really contradicts anything that we might expect in a strong La Nina year such as this.

A summary and a prediction
So in summary, La Nina will win the day and win it decisively. It will mean that temperatures will average above normal but not as much as they did last winter - lets call it 1-2 degrees above for the ski season. Many places south of 40 degrees north latitude will experience a winter dramatically milder than last and dramatically less snow. We will get outbreaks of some severe cold but they will be interrupted and very abruptly by intrusions of milder weather. The milder weather will in many cases be accompanied by rain or ice which will at times be damaging. On the flip side there will be many other storm systems that bring snow and we should see a few epic periods. The southern branch of the jet stream will not be as influential and we will instead see a consolidated west to east jet stream send storm systems in our direction and few should miss. This should be enough to allow snowfall to come in above average - lets say 290 inches. This is around 110 percent of average at the mountain. The winter will require our full attention since many of the best periods will be simply wet or icy along the coast and conditions will change very quickly. Enjoy the thanksgiving holiday and think snow.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Warm weather ends an uneven season

Uneven would be a generous way of putting it, disappointing might be the blunt way. There were some high expectations going into the year as it appeared we would have the right mix of high octane jet energy in the south and cold weather from the north to produce some big things. In fact, that is exactly what we saw, but all the fun was well to Vermont's south. The snow would have been more welcomed in our neck of the woods since it caused unprecedented disruptions in air traffic and costly clean-up projects in our major U.S. cities.

It is funny to look at the compiled data and how it illustrates how 2007-2008 got turned upside down thanks largely to a flip in the ENSO from La Nina to El Nino. Take a look at how we left 2007-2008 at the SCWB.

"Montreal, Quebec - 142 inches (169 % of average)
Burlington, VT - 100 inches (131 % of average)
Boston, MA - 51 inches (113 % of average)
Philadelphia, PA - 6 inches (25 % of average)

In the language of anomalies that is quite a contrast. In other words, some pain and suffering had to be endured by skiers/riders who stayed at Seven Springs or Snowshoe WV this year. Lattitude was key at we had it at MRG and this proved to save our season."


Pain and suffering is not the word to describe the season at Seven Springs or Snowshoe this past winter. Both mountains received over 200 inches of snow which in the case of Seven Springs was a record. Most importantly, the conditions were epic for the first three weeks of February in all of those locations as record snow was combined with consistent cold.

At Mad River Glen, we did not have a winter as futile as 2005-2006 or 2001-2002. We were pleasantly surprised early in the season as several storms pronged to move well to our south took an 11th hour turn northward to yield some powder. The mountain missed the Megalopitan storm "I" but did get a multi-day powder fest on New Years as a storm retrograted westward out of the Gulf of Maine. This was arguably the best event of the season for the mountain and was meteorologically fascinating since the event caused Champlain induced powder to fall over Burlington to the tune of 3 feet.

There was much anticipation after a quiet end to January since the pattern in early February looked as stormy as any I have ever seen in winter. The pattern was fueled by a plethora of blocking mechanisms across the high latitudes and an extremely energetic southern branch of the jet stream. The blocking was so ferocious that the storm track was forced unusually far to our south. Interestingly, so was the cold weather. Florida was not the place to visit during the winter as frequent outbreaks of intense cold resulted in the coldest winter in over 30 years. At Mad River glen, the cold weather never reached a level we would consider "intense" and although the winter was free of large scale "thaws" temperatures averaged above normal for the season. It was an unusual combination of circumstances to say the least but one that caused back to back major storms across the Mid-Atlantic States in early February. The seasonal snowfalls in cities like Baltimore, MD and Philadelphia climbed to 400 % of normal but much of Vermont continued to be plagued with a snow drought. Not only did MRG miss both Megalopitan events in February, but terrain induced events were non-existent as northern branch jet energy was locked up across Canada and southern branch energy was causing unprecedented snow farther south.

The big event of the winter at MRG occurred late in February. It was a very convoluted system flush with moisture but initially disorganized and ultimately quite mighty but very occluded. The initial burst of snow resulted in a swath of 50 inch totals up the spine of the Berkshires and Green Mountains but as the storm matured, it brought a conveyor of warmth into interior New England while cold advanced east into areas like Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. There were several hours during this event where you could've driven south on the New York State Thruway and the weather would have transitioned from heavy rain to heavy snow. In many ways it underscored the personality of the entire winter as an imaginary line within a few degrees of 40 north seemed to divide areas that received record snow from areas that consistently seemed to receive little snow. The storm in late February was a great one for MRG and would have been epic were it not for that warm intrusion which made conditions very changeable as you moved down the mountain.

In the end an El Nino of moderate strength such as the one that was present for much of the season, combined with the consistent presence of mid latitude cold are certainly the ingredients necessary for a winter such as the one we received. My conventional wisdom was perhaps wish casting for a winter more similar to 1992-1993 or 1977-1978 but the winter turned out to be a more exaggerated version of 1986-1987 or 1987-1988. The year perhaps most similar was 1957-1958. In that winter, record snow hit portions of Maryland and Pennsylvania late in the season in another year where the El Nino was very prevalent.

On a more personal note, I once again enjoyed the opportunity to talk weather to the greatest weather audience perhaps in the world. I felt the quality of the blog perhaps suffered at times since at times I found it challenging to combine my work load with blogging responsibilities. To make a long story short, it was easier to maintain the blog when you are unemployed and in search of things to do. I got a lot of emails, mostly positive and many I never got a chance to respond to. I appreciate the comments even if I never got a chance to craft a response. Enjoy the summer, stay safe think big snow for next winter.

-Josh Fox of the SCWB

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another east coast storm brings all rain to VT followed a season ending thaw

In the end, the storm early this week will be a microcosm of the season. The cold air which returned in time for the recent weekend has become stale and will receive little re-enforcing help. As a result the storm which will refuel along the North Carolina coast will have little cold air to work with and will spread rain into Vermont Monday and lots of it. There is in fact legitimate concern about flooding when you combine the nearly 2 inches of rain that is expected to fall Monday and Tuesday with the snow that will melt across the high country. The periods of rain should persist through Tuesday with temperatures generally in the low 40's. On Tuesday, the summits could see some limited snow before precipitation moves east and out of the region Wednesday.

Once the sunshine returns the weather will turn spectacular as promised late last week. It is a mammoth upper ridge which is expected to build across the eastern third of the country and this will allow for weather more typical of early June in Vermont as opposed to early April. The only competing force will be some marine air which could back in to interior New England sporadically; otherwise, temperatures will surge into the 70's on at least 2 and probably 3 days in the period between Friday of this week and Tuesday of next week. The warm air will be accompanied by some great visibility and plenty of sunshine. So long as the snow survives, the skiing will be great but the warmth is strong enough to put a mortal dent into the snow cover and will likely render parts of MRG unskiable by April 5th or 6th. With all that in mind the SCWB will probably get one more update before we call it a season.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Winter makes a brief return but will fade quickly by late next week

Cold air has made its southward push in time for the weekend and a brief period of snow will whiten the mountain by Friday first tracks. The weekend however will be a dry one and will be preceded by a rare day of below freezing temperatures (Friday) and single digit temperatures in the morning Saturday. Light winds and full sunshine during the day Saturday should allow for a rapid recovery and slightly above freezing temperatures by Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning will be considerably warmer and the day should feature more clouds but relatively light winds and temperatures slightly above freezing during the afternoon hours.

As one of the warmer and snowless March's I can remember moves forward, the SCWB updates have gotten more sporadic but we continue (consistent with the last update) to watch a weather system on Monday. It is a potent southern branch piece of jet energy which will exit the central Rockies Sunday and make its way to the east coast by Monday. Its track is favorable for some MRG powder but the amount of cold air remains a question. The European model indicates a rather stale supply of cold air and thus limits the accumulating snow to the high elevations of the Green Mountains and the snow itself would be of the wetter variety. The American GFS model indicates that a fresher surge of cold air will become entrained in this system and we would thus look forward to several inches of powder across the entire span of the mountain Monday. The differences between the two models might seem small but have huge consequences. It involves a small piece of energy in the polar jet, a branch of the jet which has largely been confined to Canada this month. The GFS model however allows some arctic air from this branch of the jet to get involved in Monday's system while the European simply confines all the polar jet energy to the north. We can settle for a compromise for it too would yield snow on Monday.

If Monday's system fails to materialize it will be lights on the the winter. Not to say we can't get more snow in Vermont come later in April but the thaw that is to come by late next week will be massive. It will result from ridging in the Central Pacific and unsettled weather across the west. This will allow a Bermuda high to form and the warm air to surge northward. And when I say warm I mean "warm" not "mild". Temperatures in the valley locations will surge to 70 degrees and beyond across the low lying areas by late next week and into the weekend. It will make for incredible spring skiing so long as the snow survives but those temperatures will obliterate the base and likely put an end to the MRG season in short order. I would take advantage of the warm temps early while the snow lasts. It will also be a terrific time to head up to Tuckermans Ravine as there should be several days of fantastic visibility and tolerable winds to accompany the soft snow.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Storm system to bring lots of moisture to Vermont but cold air is lacking

The cold air has been lacking for much of the month and the first 21 days has averaged an astounding 10 degrees above normal. The warmth has certainly corned up the snow quite nicely and the sun and relative lack of wind has made it pristine for outdoor activities. The snow, however is melting fast and a storm is very much needed in order to extend the winter season.

A storm is on the way and one which could have very much extended the season with the support of any cold air. Unfortunately, the cold more or less spent itself into bankruptcy across the western U.S. and will do little more than return temperatures to within the ballpark of normal. Meanwhile we have a storm system in the southern half of the U.S. which is spinning eastward and bringing rain to the 2010 snowbelt (Washington D.C.). This storm will grab Atlantic moisture as it moves northeast and spill it on much of Vermont and interior New England. Temperature profiles reveal a relatively warm lower 6000 feet of the troposphere and I would expect nothing more than rain below 2,500 feet. The rain will begin rather lightly on Monday but gain intensity by early Tuesday and should fall moderately and occasionally heavy through much of the morning. Above 2,500 feet we could see some snow mix in but temperatures should remain slightly above freezing so it will be a wet day for sure. As the storm continues to gain intensity and pull away to the northeast, colder weather will allow for more snow at the summits and for rain to change to snow at the base. This could lead to a few inches by Wednesday but the accumulations will be very wet at the base with only the summits having any chance for real powder. This is another storm which could have been a real winner for MRG but this winter has produced a litany of events where at least one puzzle piece always goes missing. In this case we have the moisture and we have a relatively favorable track but have little cold air. The event could bring 1-2 inches of rain to much of the Green Mountain spine which will damage the remaining bases to a degree but should not eliminate them entirely, particularly across the summits.

Snow showers and flurries will continue most of Wednesday and into Thursday although temperatures at the base should remain above freezing for the most part and any precipitation could be rain in the valleys. Late on Thursday, we should see a fairly good "punch" of cold air make a push into New England. This could bring a burst of snow to the mountain and finally bring temperatures universally below freezing on Friday. We will be watching a more organized storm system by the weekend but I don't think its impacts (rain or snow) will be felt until later on Sunday leaving the weekend free of any big precipitation. Temperatures will rebound to above freezing levels during the day and 20 degree readings at night.

The storm mentioned above does have some cold air as an ally but it track is a question mark and thus so is the precipitation type. At the very least we should see some terrain induced powder in the wake of whatever does evolve. It will mark a 3-4 day stretch of relative cold but it won't last as ridging in the central Pacific will again shift the storminess into the Western United States. It will thus likely be a rather mild end of March and early April and should set the region up for more spring conditions on whatever snow remains.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quiet weather to encompass region in the wake of the departing storm

Consistent with March traditions the weather has gone from very quiet to very stormy and will again go back to quiet. It has been a weekend of wind swept gails which have not only impacted many east coast locations but also the beloved single chair at MRG which is ashame but it yet again proves nothing is as effective at closing the single as the wicked east wind.

The duration of this storm will feature snow at high elevations and rain in valley locations. With little available cold air this is a system that is ever so sensitive to elevation and the threshold elevation for snow as opposed to rain will lower late Sunday into early Monday. This will allow the mountain to pick up a few inches of snow although the "powdery" stuff will be confined to the upper half of the mountain. All precipitation will be over with by the middle of the morning Monday and clouds may give way to a bit of sun. Monday should be the only real blustery day but temperatures should still creep above the freezing mark across most of the mountain.

The only disturbance of note for the upcoming week will pass well to our south west and this will set the state for a dry and "quiet" week as I mentioned above. Temperatures will climb to above freezing levels every day of the week and in most cases get well into the 40's. We should see an additional surge in temperatures Friday afternoon setting the stage for a very mild and spring-like weekend on the 20the and 21st of March. The push of warmth is a direct result of surge of upper level energy which will dive into the eastern Rockies late in the week. A weather producing system will develop as a result of all this along with an accopanying push of colder weather. Until this system reaches MRG, it will remain mild and the storm is not expected to impact Vermont until early in the week of March 22nd.

The NAO will remain negative but the effect of this teleconnection will be mitigated by blocing across western Alaska. This will allow cold and unsettled weather to focus itself in the Rockies while cold an unsettled weather although not totally absent from Vermont will transition through the region only to give way to milder temperatures. This is more or less what I expect March 22nd and beyond. Rain followed by some colder weather and perhaps a bit of snow followed again by a quick return to milder weather. I don't think unsettled weather of any sort will "persist" across the region until very late in the month or in April.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Most of the rain stays south of MRG this weekend...

and this news would be the best we have received this week. In the end the middle of March will be very much on the tranquil side much like the European Ensemble predicted it would more than a week ago. After a calm Friday with clouds and some sunshine, temperatures will graze the freezing mark Friday night but should quickly rise into the 40's Saturday as easterly winds usher in milder temperatures. Clouds should thicken Saturday but the rain should hold off and remain well to our south. The rain and wind will in fact be quite a problem further south as low pressure along the eastern seaboard intensifies but the weather at MRG will be on the quieter side and the snow should remain soft thanks to a solid day of above freezing temperatures.

Sunday could turn out very similar to Saturday but models continue to show moisture gradually encompassing more of interior New England and ultimately bring a brief period of rain to the mountain during the day Sunday. Sunday will turn out to be the cloudier day and a solid night of above freezing temperatures should precede the ski day so the snow should remain soft. Temperatures should remain rather steady during the day Sunday either in the high 30's or low 40's depending on elevation. Overall rainfall amounts now appear to be in between a quarter and a half an inch. This is far less than I would have expected a few days ago and represents the key change in the weekend forecast and a good one as far as the telefest weekend activities are concerned. Rain should also be a middle to late day phenomenon and persist into at least part of Sunday night.

The other change of not involves much of next week. The forecast has warmed significantly in this time frame and the forecast of a "below normal temperature bias" appears to be not a good one. It should nonetheless remain dry however and this will allow temperatures to fall back to below freezing levels Monday night following some rain early in the day. Day time temperatures between Tuesday and Friday should have little trouble eclipsing the freezing mark. The week will start out on the blustery side thanks to the intense east coast storm but gradually winds should subside and the afternoons will be very comfortable for all outdoor activities. The shift in expectations was a fairly large one fundamentally. Although some evidence exists of blocking at some key high latitude locations, the focus of unsettled weather will shift into the west by late next week and this will allow temperatures to remain on the mild side through the weekend of the March 21st. We should see some cold weather return thereafter but by that point much of the support from our teleconnection indices will be lost and I am skeptical weather we can produce a weather pattern capable of delivering even a week of winter weather late in March. It perhaps may wait until April.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Late week storm shifts north but so does the cold air

With that news, I can't help but to resign myself to the thinking that Vermont has simply failed to own the 2009-2010 winter. As of Monday March 8th, our limited amount of winter cold was expected to receive some reinforcements. To a degree, this will happen but not on a noticeable scale and the cold weather this week does not appear strong enough to withstand a surge of warmth that will accompany the moisture from the next storm.

The weather system in question is a southern branch piece of jet energy with plenty of moisture. As Vermont continues to see dry and seasonable temperatures in the Tuesday to Thursday time frame, this storm will track out of the Rockies and into the central plains. From here, the storm will dance and spin its way toward the Atlantic Coast and position itself near the New Jersey coast by Saturday. This would seem to be a very favorable path but the storm will mature very quickly in the plains and ultimately occlude before reaching the eastern seaboard. The occlusion process, much like the powerful storm two weeks ago, has the impact of allowing warmth to wrap from the eastern flank of the low pressure center to the northern flank. The moisture which is likely to make its delayed arrival in north-central Vermont sometime on Friday, will arrive after much of the limited amount of cold weather is scoured out. At the very least I was hoping the high elevations could salvage something out of this event but preliminary temperature profiles across the region during this time frame suggest even this may be a stretch. In summary, unless we get a big fundamental shift in the way this storm evolves late this week, it will be rain for Friday, Saturday and rain and snow showers for Sunday and Monday. I know this is disheartening news given that the big telefest weekend is upon us and adds to the frustrations that seem to be way too common this winter in our parts.

The general period between March 14th and March 21 still appears favorable as far as winter weather is concerned. I expect temperatures to be biased to the cold side as a consequence of a positive surge in the PNA index. The departure of the storm this weekend may allow snow showers early next week and we will then hope the storm track remains far enough to the north to get in on the next weather system which will probably be around the time frame of March 20th and 21st.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Winter loosens its grip a little but not entirely

Temperatures, with the help of lots of sunshine, have been allowed to warm above the freezing mark during the day time hours but fall well below that at night. I am told that is excellent for the maple syrup folks although I am hardly the expert. This general trend will continue for the next several days and temperatures will be allowed to reach the 40 degree mark across the low lying areas Saturday with the help of more sunshine. A few clouds and perhaps a few snow showers may mitigate the temperature rise Sunday and Monday but it will for the most part stay dry and we should see some sunshine Monday and more on Tuesday

One of our readers, "Cowbells" pointed out a few days ago that the middle of the month might not be the sea of tranquility I had indicated in the last post. It was the American GFS model then and continues to be the American GFS model now which indicates a rather interesting finish to next week including snow from a juicy looking storm system followed by terrain induced for the weekend. The European model is showing much of what its ensemble members showed a few days ago. More storminess to our south and dry weather across the Adirondacks and interior New England. The differences are derived from the handling of the jet stream blocking across Canada. The GFS and its ensembles allows the blocking to shift to the west, opening the door for storm systems to move up the Atlantic Coast as opposed to out to sea. The European maintains that much of this blocking remains across the central part of Canada and this forces much of the available jet energy to remain well to our south much like it has for much of the winter. This one is a very close call however and although the weather could turn out just as benign as I would have indicated in the last post, it was right of Cowbells to widen the possibility spectrum a bit. At this point we certainly have at least a chance at getting in on the action late next week and into the weekend and it will be worth watching over the weekend since I know telefest is St Patty's day weekend and plenty will be keeping an eye on the weather.

Moving beyond the weekend, no spring thaws are evident although the major ensembles are arguing about the extent to the wintry weather. The GFS ensembles produce a rather cold week in the wake of telefest that would certainly include a few powder days. The European would indicate that temperatures are on the below side of normal but with a more stable pattern. With the 50-60 inches of snow over the past 10 days, the weather should allow for the MRG season to continue strong through the official start of Spring and beyond.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More juice in the south

As flurries continue across the high country of Vermont another in a long list of southern branch storms is poised to make a run up the Atlantic Coast. The storm will be embraced by the expansive east coast trough currently in place and will move from the panhandle of Florida Tuesday to somewhere east of Cape Hatteras by Wednesday. From there its track is expected to continue in an east of north trajectory and this will make it difficult for its moisture to reach much of interior New England. Areas that will see snow from this will be areas that have already seen record snow during the winter season. The track of the storm will be a bit too far east and thus snowfall across the bigger cities may avoid the record books but it will be nonetheless snow that MRG will mostly avoid. Both Wednesday and Thursday will feature temperatures in the 20's and snow flurries but nothing of real merit aside from a flurry inch or two.

Thereafter, a more tranquil stretch of weather should settle into the region. Healthy amounts of sunshine and the high March sun angle will also allow temperatures to warm considerably and we may get a few days of spring conditions before the next shot of cold arrives sometime next week although there is still some disagreement about this. The warm up results from some structural changes in the ridging and blocking across Canada. The ridging had shifted back into western Canada and had thus allowed the PNA to turn positive but over the next 5 days, the blocking will shift into eastern Canada and will extend south into New England. A real spring thaw consisting of 50-degree temperatures is possible but the warmer of possible scenarios. The European has suggested 1 or 2 days of garden variety warmth followed by a turn to colder weather during the middle of the week. This return to colder weather would mark our next chance for snow but this will have to be clarified in a later update since it is a bit early for details.

The middle of March weather pattern appears somewhat familiar. A ridge or a block across central Canada will likely keep arctic air from spilling into the U.S. in large quantities and will also suppress the southern branch energy which has already been suppressed for much of the year. This set-up thus threatens to allow for a relatively dry middle of March but we will continue to keep an eye on it.

And lastly, a congratulations need to go out to the Canadians and the hockey team that represents them. In one of the most thrilling games I have ever watched, Canada prevailed in a extra period and won the gold medal in spite of a very gritty effort from the United States. It was a great moment for the great sport of hockey and it might be wise to remind the less than stellar NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman of this before the next round of Olympics when NHL players might again be playing in meaningless regular season hockey as opposed to representing their countries.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The warm air has arrived

allowing the rain to fall at the base of Mad River Glen while the snow is falling in center city Philadelphia. The world is truly upside down at the moment and as it tries to right itself over the next 24 hours we are hoping this results in more powder. As it stands now, enough warmth will prevail across the region to keep things wet (snow at the summits, rain at the base) through Thursday night before colder weather arrives, straight out of Philadelphia. Atmospheric profiles tomorrow and Saturday reveal a moist and unstable lower troposphere and this level of instability extends up around 12,000 feet which is very conducive for some terrain enhanced snow both Friday and Saturday once we get it cold enough again. These events are very tough to predict accurately but I would expect snow showers to intensify Friday, and continue into Friday night and Saturday. I am not sure if we can turn Friday around into a powder day but I expect Saturday and perhaps Sunday to be winners. A few inches each day between Friday and Saturday will result in an additional foot although the bust potential is there in either direction.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

1-foot down hopefully a few more to come

and another one is imminent Wednesday as moisture continues to stream up from the open waters of the Atlantic. Snow which is falling with some serious intensity as of Wednesday morning will continue throughout the ski day. All this snow results from the so called "appetizer" or a relatively weak area of low pressure and its energy is expected to get swallowed by a much stronger system Thursday. Sometimes however the "appetizer" is the best part of a meal and the snow Wednesday combined with the relative lack of strong winds could make it the best powder day of the week.

I am happy to report that the alterations to the forecast are relatively small. The calm between the two storms is moved to Wednesday night as opposed to Wednesday during the day. Snow will then re-commence Thursday morning and then become heavy during the morning hours. The low level push of warm air that is expected to rotate northwestward from the open waters of the Atlantic all the way to the mountains of Vermont is still expected to arrive during the day. The advantage of elevation will prove very critical and warmth at the surface should be shallow enough to minimize the impact of rain above 1500 feet. In fact, the consensus of data suggests very little rain at these elevations even though low lying ares are likely to get wet Thursday evening and Thursday night. Winds will increase and become pretty ferocious later Thursday and will generally come from the east.

Model data suggests that drier air will work to lessen the intensity of precipitation Thursday night. As this is happening temperatures will begin to cool a few degrees and allow any precipitation which is falling (even in low-lying areas) to turn back to snow. The colder weather will move right up the Connecticut River Valley, certainly an unlikely source but its taking the scenic route by moving into the Mid-Atlantic states first before moving north into interior New England. By this time, the storm, which will have already "bombed" and done a loop around the New York City area, will gradually weaken. Areas of moisture will remain however and should continue impacting MRG even after a Thursday night or early Friday lull. Snow will continue at either a light to moderate intensity through much fo the later part of the day Friday into Friday night and on Saturday.

An updated breakdown of accumulations are as follows.

Wednesday: An additional foot of snow on top of the foot which has already fallen

Wednesday night: Light snow and a minimal accumulation

Thursday: Heavy snow during the morning. Snow will turn wet and may go to rain in some low lying area but should continue across much of MRG. 10-15 inches is possible.

Friday: Light and some occasionally moderate snow with 3-5 more inches

Saturday: Light and some occasionally moderate snow and another 4-8 inches

Sunday: More snow and more accumulation

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mammoth storm to bomb and stall across New England

and with it will be a wild few days of weather across not only the Green and White Mountains but all of New England, New York State and southward to New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. It is a complicated weather map to say the least but will largely be dictated by an amplifying upper trough which will evolve into a "closed low" which will position itself near Martha's Vineyard by Friday.

As of early Tuesday, snow has already made it to much of New York state but this moisture is associated with a decaying low pressure area in the eastern Great Lakes and much of it will likely fail in its attempt to reach the Vermont high country. Meanwhile a new area of low pressure will gather strength over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean and move north over eastern New England. This surface feature will swallow much of the energy from the eastern Great Lakes low and push moderate to heavy snow to MRG Tuesday evening. The snow will accumulate significantly and should provide the mountain with its best powder day in weeks with somewhere in the vicinity of a foot by first tracks time Wednesday.

This initial burst of snow however results from a storm which is not even likely to deepen beyond 1000 mb as it tracks through eastern New England; in fact the storm will begin to lose its potency as another far more dynamic system begins to take shape just behind it over the Atlantic. This new storm will deepen very rapidly thanks largely to the full backing of upper level support approaching from the west. It will also have the necessary baraclinic ingredients of much colder weather approaching from the west mixing with the relative moist warmth of the Atlantic. The result will be an all out explosion near the New England coast and a low pressure area which may eventually deepen to near 980 mb (Valentines Day '07 levels). This second and more dynamic system will give us a little head fake in its initial north-northeast movement but will ultimately turn north and then retrograde west as it gets sucked into the closed upper low mentioned in the opening paragraph.

We should see the snow Wednesday lessen its intensity for a time as this new storm consolidates its power and then the high drama begins. Models have given us some conclusive evidence regarding the snow through Wednesday but what happens after that remains somewhat uncertain. The newly released high resolution NAM and the two most recently released GFS runs allow this storm to deepen and move west with such ferocity, that a "warm tongue" from the Atlantic Ocean literally slices through interior New England allowing a second round of snow to become rain across valley locations and perhaps parts of the high country as well. It is very hard to fathom but it would not be a meteorological impossibility given such a storm. It would be very similar in fact to the February 10th set up as rain prevailed across the Boston area while snow was falling in locations much farther south like the nations capital. In this instance, rain could be falling in some of the valley areas of Vermont Thursday while snow is falling in New York city. This however is just hypothetical and since this is an occluding storm the effect of elevation will work in MRG's favor. The European model is also suggesting a more favorable outcome with the storm and its "warm tongue" much farther north and much of the state remaining safely in the snow zone.

So with a bit of information overload in the above paragraph the boiled down details would appear as follows. The lighter snow late on Wednesday would become much heavier snow Wednesday night and early Thursday. This should allow for another round of epic turns Thursday morning at the very least. During the day however temperatures could climb and snow could turn either very wet at the base or turn to rain. If the European model wins the argument, snow would simply continue at varying intensities. Once the storm undergoes this occlusion, we will see sporadic lulls but much of the energy from this very impressive weather system will remain across New England through Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition the "warm tongue" if any does evolve will simply dissipate by Friday and we should be looking at a steady light to moderate snow through at least Friday and Saturday. The snow totals will thus be immense and the big challenge will be whether or not we can avoid the rain on Thursday.

Here is a summarized break down using first tracks time as a frame of referenced

First tracks Wednesday: Around a foot with 2-4 additional inches during the ski day

First tracks Thursday: 6-12 new inches with snow or mixed precipitation during the day

First tracks Friday: At least a few new inches, but light to moderate snow throughout the day providing additional powder

First tracks Saturday: Additional powder consisting of several inches.

Do the math here and you get some impressive totals.

Thursday will feature a lot of wind as the storm reaches its peak intensity. Winds will slacken gradually on Friday and into the weekend. Temperatures will generally be in the 20's Wednesday, near freezing Thursday and back in the 20's in the Friday-Sunday time frame.

And as if to prove how streaky mother nature can be, another huge amplification in the jet stream is likely during the middle of next week leading perhaps to talk of another big storm or at least some additional powder. This would be in the early days of March.

Updates will be required and changes in the forecast, particularly the timing should be expected so please operate under that assumption. Other than that, I appreciate all the interest and all the emails. I apologize for not responding to some but appreciate the comments nonetheless.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's time to get a little bold and predict a huge week of powder at MRG !!!

It will take some time to evolve but the potential has never been bigger this winter season and by the end of this week will either be camping out at MRG for first tracks or very let down if somehow things fail to come together again. It is a very complex weather situation and for a while it will be a disorganized one and the latter can certainly lead to some anxious moments. The SCWB is all about fun though and would like to try and rise to the challenge rather than hide from it.

As the weather remains quiet and even mild as the weekend wraps up, a storm system will move from the south-central Plains toward eastern Great Lakes spreading snow in a swatch from Kansas to Chicago to Ontario. This system will head northeast with some initial steam but gradually lose strength, speed and cohesiveness in Canada as it encounters the jet stream blocking at the higher latitudes. As this happens however, a large upper trough will descend upon the eastern United States allowing the right ingredients of cold weather across the middle of the country and relative warmth across the Atlantic to ripen the situation for storm development along the east coast. All indications suggest this will happen but the jury is out as to how explosive this development is. As of noon on Saturday, we did see some lose agreement amongst the major computer models to allow a system to form in the vicinity of the Delmarva Peninsula during the middle of the week, move northeast, and then boomerang back into New England as the upper trough evolves into the "bowling ball" we all hope it becomes. There are few impulses rotating through the above mentioned upper air feature and its difficult to be anymore specific except to say that a storm may very well stall in eastern New England and allow a conveyor of moisture from the Atlantic to invariably deposit snow across the Vermont high country for days. That would certainly be my plan if I had any control of it but its far too early make guarantees although it is very nice to see some hard evidence suggesting such an outcome.

In terms of timing, a decaying area of moisture from the weakening storm in the eastern Great Lakes should arrive late on Tuesday and bring some powder for the ski day Wednesday. Any such snow in this time frame will be nice but snowfall from the developing storm along the Atlantic coast (what we hope becomes a full fledged nor’easter) comes later Wednesday and hopefully continues through the end of the week and into the weekend. All I can say is that such an outcome would make for an unbelievable turnaround for much of Vermont ski country and could turn a month that has been remembered for its "Styrofoam" to a month remembered for its "finish".

There are plenty of ways to botch this developing weather situation. Anytime a storm strengthens, stalls and then occludes, warm air from the Atlantic can wrap itself around the northern flank of the storm and actually change snow to something other than snow (we will not mention this word). Storms that occlude are often laced with pockets of dry air which allow for elongated periods where no snow is falling. The storm could also fail to come together at all while the moisture initial eastern Great Lakes dies its slow death and thus allowing the great MRG 2010 snow shield to work its black magic. Fundamentally however, if the storm does indeed stall and occlude, it will be the Vermont high country which will benefit the most. Occlusions are characterized by winds at varying levels of the troposphere aligning directionally and thus making precipitation (amount and type) very sensitive to elevation. I will therefore not at all be surprised to see some surprisingly low snowfall totals across both the Champlain and Upper Valley's while the huge totals come in across both the Green and White mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire.

It is a very exciting situation to say the least. I know we have had a few that haven’t quite played out according to plan but we have to keep calling them like we see them and this one is the best I have seen through the winter season to date.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

One more chance for snow through Friday, otherwise its a bust for the ages

I have had my share of busts under-predicting snow amounts at MRG although its funny, it somehow goes unnoticed. I think the most important thing is to just get the powder which of course we really haven't done and thus the busting has certainly not gone unnoticed. All that said, "tempers running a little high" remained for the most part in good fun and this audience remains the best audience anyone could blog for. The lack of powder has allowed this snow drought of ours to take on a life of its own and one can't help but to be a little superstitious if it helps kill the MRG snow shield. One would think it would then be wise to declare the week a total loss and regroup. In truth however, there is one more impulse that could be the catalyst for a bit of snow Thursday night into Friday. If by Friday evening we are still measuring a dusting to an inch then it will then be prudent to fess up to what will be a very lousy forecast.

Moving on to the weekend, we should see snow shower activity on Friday (and hopefully it will be lots of activity Friday) subside to flurries on Saturday. We should also see some intervals of sun and given the higher February sun angle this should allow temperatures to reach or get very close to the freezing mark. We should see the existing snow soften as a result by Saturday afternoon and more of the same for Sunday as similar weather conditions prevail.

Next week looks very promising as of now although I am very scared to call it such. We have had a few successive runs of the European model take a storm from the central Rockies, and move it to the Atlantic Coast. The model does show the storm taking the all important turn north and then stalling again somewhere in extreme eastern Quebec. This would be a very encouraging result since not only would the storm deposit some much needed powder across the mountain but the pool of instability associated with its upper air support would sit across the interior northeast allowing for terrain induced snow during the middle of the week. The American GFS model is farther south and is indicating less snow from this system but at the same time does not shut us out. The hypothetical in question would have Monday as a dry and tranquil day, Tuesday powdery and Wednesday and Thursday potentially powdery as well. Lets just be careful for the time being to not get overly optimistic. Snow droughts are funny and this one has certainly proven to have a bit of teflon so the SCWB will respect it until its over.

Looking farther ahead, it appears we will be in for a round of some late season winter chill. I was expecting a blast of cold a bit earlier in the period but we now have some good indications that the cold will be strongest late next week and into the weekend following what we hope to be several days of snow. If you have been watching any of the Olympics, Lyndon State's own and long time weather channel anchor Jim Cantore has illustrated the western ridge quite well with some fancy graphics. Such a ridge is the fuel behind the PNA and allows the pipeline of arctic cold to open and ultimately delivered for much of the eastern United States.

That is it for now. Lets think snow and think about it long and hard !!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Storm gives us the ole right hook but we are not done and neither is our prediction

Tempers seem to be running a little high based on some emails I have gotten but the call of 1-2 feet was a fairly loose prognostication meant to span a few days and given such a time we may live up to some of these original expectations. Watching Connecticut, Massachusetts and southern Vermont outperform MRG is frustrating but as this storm continues to push northward and stall, it will provide some us with some long awaited dividend payments before making a final farewell. As I pointed out, the atmosphere will remain relatively moist through much of the lower troposphere and there are two upper level impulses, one which should pass early Wednesday and another Thursday night which will provide the boost necessary for some snow across the high country. I know the forecasts appear pessimistic but this situation is elevation sensitive and the next few days will feature limited amounts of accumulating snow in the valley locations. The mountains, particularly across the northern half of the state should perform modestly and over a foot of new powder by early Friday is still a completely reasonable expectation (so long as we are talking about areas above 1500 feet).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

1-2 feet of powder over the next few days...

is worth two posts in one day if it breaks the back of the current snow drought. I was a little light on details on the last post since I don't like missing my plane but I will try to make up for it with a second post that includes some accumulation numbers and some timing.

This is a system rich with upper air dynamic support but a weaker on moisture particularly compared to some of the southern branch monsters to hit the Mid-Atlantic in recent weeks. Nonetheless, it will grab some a limited chunk of Atlantic Moisture on its New England approach and track just west of Boston. This was a key shift in the expectations which only occurred within the last 24 hours or so. The shift allows moisture to spill westward to the Green Mountain chain and for snow to begin around daybreak on Tuesday and continue at a steady pace throughout much of the day and into the evening. The American Model has had several consecutive runs now where around a foot of snow would fall Tuesday and Tuesday evening. Other data suggests a bit less. All the data does show lingering moisture in the wake of this storm capable of producing several more inches of snow with the help of any kind of upper air catalyst. This will be interesting to watch because the atmosphere will need a bit of a boost to turn unstable late this week but such a boost could do huge things for the northern half of Vermont, at least over the high country. The headline of the post would be a rather conservative estimate if you catch my drift (no pun intended).

A burst in the PNA index should lead to a few days of more serious New England cold probably sometime next weekend. A burst of cold could lead to another burst of snow or could end a long duration of snow shower activity which could persist for a few days. The general "blocking" in the pattern will largely remain in place however meaning organized systems will have a tendency to track to our south and the rain/snow line will prefer to set up over the Florida/Georgia border as opposed to the Vermont/Mass border like it did with the most recent storm.

Overall this is a major positive development for us and could lead to the epic week for snow we have all been waiting for.

Clipper to make the sharp left turn and break the back of our powder drought

This very innocent looking weather system currently spreading snow across portions of South Dakota will take a very parabolic path across North America and thanks to a huge insurgence of upper air support, it will make a very needed turn to the north and deliver the powder day that we have long been waiting for. Before I move on to the details we have to give a shout out to Vermont's own Hannah Kearney from Norwich who provided us with an exhilarating performance in the women's moguls at the Vancouver Olympics. Although many MRG loyalists may not ski bumps competitively, we can certainly appreciate how technically challenging they can be, especially after a back flip. It was a lot of fun to watch her win the gold last night and do so "on the road" against the home favorite Jenn Heil who herself was pretty dazzling.

Now moving on to the weather related items of the post since we do have a storm to discuss and some important changes in the overnight model data that has us in some powdery goodness by Tuesday. The storm will impact many of the big city locations as its energy transfers itself across the West Virginia mountains to the Atlantic Coast. At that point it will use the combination of the Atlantic Ocean and its upper air dynamic support to turn north and turn negative. The "turn negative" part refers to the maturation of this winter storm and specifically its ability to thrust its moisture westward across the Vermont and New Hampshire high country. The consensus of models had moisture close but generally showed a rather limited period of precipitation for the mountain. The two overnight runs of the American GFS model have shifted this storm northwest and are tracking the storm across eastern Mass, quite a shift over the past 48 hours. There remains some uncertainty about the actual track and some lingering indications of an Cape Cod track which and thus lower accumulations. My preliminary guess is for snow to begin during the morning Tuesday and continue through much of the day and into the overnight yielding several much needed inches for the mountain.

Snow from the storm will then be followed by snow from terrain enhancement and this should continue through Wednesday before tapering to flurries by Thursday and Friday. It should remain cold through the weekend and into next week. More details on the long range to follow in the coming days.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Monday's clipper hits the big cities with more snow and tried to make the turn north

Until then however it will be mainly dry and seasonable with temperatures reaching the high 20's and dropping to near 10 at night. Some flurries are possible throughout the weekend but the boundary layer instability is lacking for any big terrain induced snow. Meanwhile the latest city get blasted with snow is Dallas-Fort Worth with almost a foot of record breaking snow. This means some powdery turns down the grassy knoll if anyone is up for it.

The next system worth watching is a potent clipper which will dive southeastward into the U.S. in very aggressive fashion. This is a strong piece of upper level energy and once again it is being forced underneath "the block". It will thus be difficult to gain access to this moisture as it once again brings additional snows to the same big cities that have already gotten lots of snow. It will make the turn north Monday and bring snow into parts of interior New England and possibly as far north as MRG Monday night. Its a stretch to say the least to expect any big powder out of this but we need to stretch during these tough times.

With El Nino weakening and the PNA turning positive by late next week we should see more activity from the polar jet and less activity from the southern branch. The southern branch, although unkind to us in recent weeks, is normally the home-run hitter while the polar jet can provide us with the nickle and dime events. We are happy with nickle and dimes at this point and should get a few of these events late next week and into the weekend. We shouldn't expect much but a few inches here and a few inches there can begin to break the snow drought. We also can continue to forecast a lack of rain and persistent cold weather through most of the remaining part of the month so whatever falls should stay on the ground for a few weeks.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Megalopitan part three means a bigger base at Capitol Hill than at MRG

Perhaps a few turns down those long steps could make for a powder day. Although I would seem to beat a dead horse with these references to snowfall at another geographical location, one has to appreciate the statistical magnitude of the Mid-Atlantic snowfall this season. I have experienced many winters in this location and although you might think MRG is in the midst of a bad snow drought, there are many winters in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. where snowfall is less than 10 inches for the entire season. This winter however will feature 3 feet of snow in a week, an epic amount even for those of us skiers that like to maintain high standards when it comes to snowfall. If you can't take it anymore you could make the 9 hour drive to Ski Liberty near the Mason-Dixon line. This pathetic looking hill attracts mostly urbanites but check out the snowfall report.

http://www.skiliberty.com/lmr/Snow-Grooming.aspx

I am green with envy !!

So Megalopitan part III has indeed shifted its track ever so slightly to the north and will allow for some light snow to cover most of the southern two thirds of Vermont. It will be difficult to make more than an inch out of what falls and most of what falls will be in southern New England. The days prior to the holiday weekend appear to have a shallow amount of boundary layer instability and this should allow for persistent flurries but it will be tough to produce any more than an inch or two out all this by the holiday weekend.

The next system appears to be polar driven as the southern branch has shown signs of a late winter fade which makes sense since El Nino has also begun to fade. This clipper system however will have to contend with our "infamous block" and will thus dive southeastward bringing its limited moisture into West Virginia before attempting to make something of itself along the Atlantic Ocean. This again will be a difficult set of circumstances for us and although one can't completely rule out powder in the Sunday/Monday time frame it is looking less likely by the day. The weekend as a whole should be winter-like with temperatures in the low 20's by day and single numbers by night. It will be unstable enough for clouds and windy enough for the wind-proof shell but that is about all I can say about the upcoming holiday weekend. It will not however be a rain-out and for these small things I can be thankful.

More flurries and snow showers are possible in the early next week time frame as another re-enforcing shot of chill arrives across the eastern United States. Temperatures in Vermont will be very tolerable and statistically be characterized as normal. The most interesting development in the longer range or specifically the later part of next week is the development of a positive PNA as a contributing element to an already very blocked high latitude jet stream pattern. The PNA has really been the last missing link for the current pattern to turn from slightly cold to very cold. The PNA moving to the positive allows the arctic pipeline to open and the bone chilling cold to come. For us here at MRG, we can also hope that the shifting of the ridge to a slightly more westward location might allow some of these big east coast storms to make a northward turn, if we are lucky enough to get a few more.