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Friday, January 8, 2010

Limited sunshine and some garden variety Vermont chill has us looking ahead to MLK

And while record temperatures are challenged and broken all across the deep south this weekend, Vermont weather will stay quite ordinary for January with clouds, some sun, some flurries and a biting wind at least for Saturday. After temperatures struggle past 10 on Saturday, the afternoon Sunday should feel a little more comfortable with temperatures not quite as cold and less wind. In my search for winter weather excitement, I jumped ahead to MLK weekend where by that time it should be milder but perhaps stormier.

Until then, we can expect flurries and snow showers from a benign clipper system Tuesday. This is a rather pathetic looking disturbance to be put it bluntly but could dust the mountain with a light accumulation by first tracks time on Tuesday. Temperatures will then remain below freezing through Wednesday but perhaps sneak above freezing on a few occasions late in the week as much of the eastern third of the country, Vermont included, undergoes a big temperature moderation. We discussed the causes of this in the last update and I certainly emphasized some concern over a total shutdown of the arctic pipeline by the time next weekend rolls around. It appears, however, as if there will be some cold to be had up in Canada and thankfully we should be able to grab a bit of this cold as next weekend arrives and perhaps a bit of snow to go along with it. The upper ridge axis as I mentioned will shift east next week and the front flank of this ridge will be quite split from the juicy and active southern branch of the jet. Toward the beginning of next weekend, we should see a disturbance slide down the front flank of this ridge and provide us with a bit of re-enforcing chill but hopefully a few inches of snow as it does this.

I am not so concerned with rain MLK weekend as it appears we will not get any but I am hoping, like so many of us, that this very moist system along the Gulf Coast will head our way as we move into Sunday and Monday of this holiday weekend. The jet stream configuration suggests this might be tough since the eastward movement of the upper ridge has also allowed the mean upper trough axis to move east and may prove to be a mechanism steering our beloved southern branch systems out to sea. Its early though and two days ago the American model suggested this storm would bring rain to Vermont and now suggest the storm will move well to our south.

At the very least, I am happy to see glaring signs of split flow in the jet since it will limit our downside risks in the coming weeks and should allow any mild outbreaks to be short lived. If the storm late on the MLK weekend indeed goes wide right, there will be chances for both little and larger events in the days that follow.

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