Think Snow, Tweet Snow !!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Less enthused about New Years eve Clipper and about the pattern overall starting next weekend

Unfortunately, we are going to have to lower expectations with the polar pacific clipper system. It has some moisture with it as it passes through the Midwest but much of this moisture, according to some of the latest high resolution models, will get rung out over the Great Lakes. In the end, occasional light snow Friday night and Saturday will amount to 1-4 inches. This will be followed of course by the push of milder weather which is expected to impact the region on one afternoon. It will actually be a rather pleasant late December day with temperatures in the 40's but we are in much greater need of both more snow and more cold.

Much of the eastern United States will get its biggest blast of cold so far this winter. The front will arrive late in the evening of New Years Day and we are not expecting much in the way of any rain. Enough low level instability in the wake of the frontal passage should set the stage for a period of terrain induced snow showers throughout January 2nd and into January 3rd. A little too early to tell about the potential for accumulations in this time frame except to say at least an inch or two. Later in the week the large upper trough, responsible for the widespread outbreak of cold will get re-enforced briefly by a clipper system that is expected to drop into the eastern Great Lakes around the time frame of Wednesday the 4th. This system may bring some snowfall to Vermont or may bring the bulk of its effects to areas farther south.

The concern expressed a few times on the blogs relates to the lack of blocking associated with next week's cold outbreak. You can think of this as a ship reaching port without an anchor. Jet stream blocking at high latitudes is this anchor and although the North Atlantic and Arctic Oscillations have been neutralized they have yet to resemble the picture that we need to turn this thing completely around. The result will be the erosion of cold weather by next week and perhaps even another 1-2 day stretch of unneeded milder weather. I have been watching the upper level pattern in the Pacific closely for signs of a change; indeed, there are some changes but not all of them good. It will be another coupling of upper ridging in the Pacific/Polar Vortex over Alaska which will drive the cold out next weekend. The vortex of cold in Alaska however will move out of that region toward western North America allowing a somewhat more tradional La Nina set up to establish itself by January 10th or so. The result ? cold weather in western North America, warm weather in the southeastern United States and anything goes across the Great Lakes and Northeast. My guess is that temperatures between the 8-14th of the month will be above normal. We could however see slight above normal temperatures with a few snow/ice events or we could see more substantial above normal temperatures with ice and rain events. Our friends in the western United States should do very very well in this set-up.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We need more where that came and we may just get it !!

A very much needed foot of snow fell across parts of the central and northern Green Mountains yesterday. A terrain induced event aided by wrap around moisture from the departing storm and lake moisture from everywhere. Its nice to get surprised with more than expected snows but I also like to see the cold weather exceed some expectations since the winter so far has exhibited the opposite personality of failing to meet expectations from both a cold weather and snowfall perspective.

After a dry Thursday, Friday December 30th will feature the arrival of a fast moving but intriguing clipper system. Its a system featuring two pieces of polar pacific jet energy with enough vigor to bring an extended period of light to occasionally moderate snows to Mad River and company for New Years Eve. If parts of the mountain do indeed open as expected, it will be a nice way to start the season. Overall snowfalls Friday into Saturday could total in the 5-10 inch range and should be of the low density-fluff variety.

The warm weather I was concerned about will be confined to one afternoon - New Years Day. Temperatures will make a push toward above-freezing levels but balmy conditions will not be nearly as intense or prolonged as I had feared. Better yet, no significant rain or ice should occur when a sharp cold front ushers in much colder weather for next week. This is a week which will be dominated by the polar branch of the jet which means below normal temperatures (FINALLY), snow showers for Monday and Tuesday and perhaps some clipper snows later in the week. Undoubtedly this is a much more encouraging appearance !!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Variable upcoming week but a better outlook after Jan 2

We did get a few days where it did truly feel like winter and the outlook appears more wintry going forward but the next week or so will be very hit and miss. The big weather system Tuesday is a big miss. The phasing of southern stream moisture and polar jet energy will not bring us much as cold weather is simply incapable of holding its ground in this pattern. The system will bring its precipitation to the region Tuesday evening as a mixture of rain, snow and sleet but ultimately the mountain will get another several hours of rain. The system will indeed bomb out as it approaches the Canadian Maritimes and this will help usher cold back into Vermont early Wednesday accompanied by some snow but we could've used a better result from this and we simply won't get it. Overall it looks like about an inch of liquid will fall from this system with 70-80 percent of it rain and 20-30 percent snow Wednesday thus about 3-4 inches.

From Wednesday onward the outlook is more optimistic and significantly snow after the New Year. A series of clipper systems between Thursday and New Years Eve will yield some fruitful results. Products of the very intense Polar/Pacific jet stream, the first of such systems should arrive later Thursday and spread a light accumulation of snow to most of Vermont and New Hampshire and a second could spread additional snows to the region Friday night into Saturday. Put together, the accumulations from these two systems could total as much as 10 inches. The snowfall will be very fluffy in nature and the 10 inches is the optimistic side of the range but we will take that in what has been a very tough month. The now frozen Hudson Bay is also finally lending a hand since it appears some cold in eastern Canada is finally showing signs of fighting its way into the region since it can't seem to make any progress anywhere else in the U.S. right now.

The warm-up promised for New Years Day (plus or minus a day or two) is still evident on the forecast weather maps but not quite as intense in magnitude or duration. It will begin with a warmer, above freezing afternoon on New Years Day and will hopefully end with a minimal amount of rain on the 2nd. Maybe the trend toward removing this from the forecast picture will continue but for now I would continue to expect it.

The better news involves manifestations upstream of the region after the New Year. The Pacific has, as mentioned many times, been very problematic so far this winter season with the upper ridging in the Mid-latitude regions clashing with a polar vortex over Alaska for much of the month. At around the time of the New Year, the jet energy across Alaska will at least temporarily win this clash and allow a deeper trough to form in the eastern Pacific and consequently a ridge to develop in western North America. The upper ridge now appears as if it may be one of the stronger features on the Northern Hemisphere weather map in about a week or so. This type of pattern is much more amplified and should allow for a period of much colder and wintry weather across a broad area of the eastern United States after the 2nd. It does not mark a switch in some of the major teleconnection indices that we track but we should a neutralization of these indices and hopefully - game on.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wintry through the 27th, rain and wet snow the 28th and warm weather for New Years

The ground is white, the trees are white thanks to the warm and wet weather that preceded our light snowfall and at least it looks a bit wintry out there. It will also stay wintry for the next few days with some single digit overnights and daytime temps in the 20's. The weather itself will remain dry through Christmas Day but a clipper system will bring its clouds to the region late Sunday and snow showers Sunday night into Monday. This clipper system is potent enough to temporarily carve a nice little trough along the northeast coast and there are some indications that instability as a result of this will allow for snow showers through much of Monday, enough for a terrain induced accumulation of a few inches.

The weather evolution next week appears a bit different than it has the last few days. Most of the changes are less than desirable, but Tuesday could be an interesting event although it if lives up to the tradition of December 2011 it will simply be another rain event. The changes involve southern branch Gulf of Mexico moisture and energy that will be grabbed by the collar by a faster moving clipper system. The result will be a significant precipitation producing weather system for the entire northeast beginning later Tuesday and none of this appeared likely even 36 hours ago. The cold which is expected to persist through Tuesday morning will erode very quickly and a fresh supply of cold will far removed from the weather picture. The southern energy however allows the storm to take a more southern track so temperatures should be close to freezing when the precipitation begins Tuesday evening. What appears most likely is period of both rain and snow, with precipitation beginning as a mixture before changing to rain then perhaps back to a heavy snow before ending midday Wednesday. With any weather system of this nature though, slight changes in the forecast variables could push the result in either direction. We could certainly use a surprise heavy snow. It is possible, if it does happen it could be of the "sierra cement" variety but us skiers know how desperately the Vermont high country needs a boost to the snowpack right now.

The less than desirable part of the forecast change will take place around New Years Day where it appears models are converging on yet another warm-up for the east coast. The mild push would begin Friday after semi-seasonable temperatures late Wednesday into Thursday. How fast this occurs remains uncertain but much above normal temperatures are now very likely in the New Years Eve to New Years Day time frame and with that will come the increased risk for more rain.

Beyond the first looks slightly more promising. Much will depend on the ability to break down the jet stream ridge in the central mid-latitude Pacific. There is not a lot of evidence of this as of yet and with that we will continue to struggle. That being said both ensembles indicate a ridge west/trough east jet stream configuration and such an outcome would still be better verses what the previous month has wrought.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hoping we go one for two this weekend

Snow is at least part of the discussion this go round. It will be worth thinking about in the midst of what should be a mostly rainy or freezing rainy Wednesday across the Green Mountains of Vermont. The situation sets up as follows. The mainly wet system Wednesday will exit and leave with it one extra day of above freezing temperatures Thursday. The front associated with Wednesday's system is a very weak one initially but the entrainment of some polar energy will give this front some legs and invite a wave of low pressure to develop near the Gulf Coast and track very quickly northeast toward the New England coast Friday. It is less than 72 hours away and the track of impact from this storm remains unclear; in fact, the much more reliable European model is suggesting no impact at all (although the European wants to tell a whole different yet interesting story Christmas weekend, more on that later). The system however does have some potential and also has the benefit of a fresh supply of what limited cold is available from this deplorable weather pattern. The cold will drain gradually southward out of Canada as the wave of low pressure approaches Thursday night. Snow could be moderate to heavy for a time if the storm tracks close to Long Island or attains a stronger intensity than models suggest. Its quick movement however would keep snowfall totals generally in the light to moderate category if at all.

The European model, which has been eating the American Model's lunch all month is suggesting not at all. That being said, the European model maintains that storm development along the aforementioned front will be later in the forecast period. Christmas Day to be exact. The supply of cold air will be more stale but the pattern will be in the process of turning more amplified and could allow for major storm to take shape and one that could deal interior areas the bulk of the snow. The American model will have none of this however and is putting all its eggs in Friday's basket.

My best guess is that we go one for two here. If Friday's wave of low pressure fails to materialize it will leave the door open for the ignition of the second and potentially more potent wave Sunday. A stronger system and a snowier Friday could act to drive the front farther offshore by Sunday. I can't see two events in the 3-4 day stretch.

No reason to doubt any of the thinking beyond Christmas Day. The temporary amplification of the eastern trough is no match for the furious jet action in the Pacific. This is just been such a demoralizing scenario to start the ski year and there are stronger indications it will try and re-assert itself after the 27th of the month. This will mean another mild of push of air after the 27th and potentially another non-snow event before the new year. Ensembles are then suggesting the potential for temporary pushes of cold around New Years Day and beyond but it is vital we break the positive Arctic Oscillation and we have yet to see evidence of that.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Change we can believe in ?? Not quite

We have made it to "the reprieve". The warm weather has finally given way to more seasonable temperatures but it remains extremely difficult to get excited about the outlook going forward. In short, the pattern continues to be plagued by many of the same problems discussed in the blog in previous entries. The repetition of these features, particularly in the Pacific is making me feel like a boxer against the ropes getting his head beat in as he tries to avoid a knock down. The next 10 or so days should be better verses what we have seen so far this December but I want "change I can believe in" to borrow the Obama slogan and I have yet to see it.

We finally have our hands on some arctic cold which is a start. As we move into Monday the cold will get re-enforced as a clipper system moves through the eastern Great Lakes and spreads what should be a light accumulation of snow to the region late Monday the 19th. This is not the system we have been watching however, that system will begin its journey in the southern Rockies, move into the Red River Valley later Monday and track across the rest of the country Tuesday. We should see precipitation from this feature either late Tuesday into Wednesday but although the track of this system is not nearly as unfavorable as previous, our supply of cold air will quickly become stale and will struggle to hold its ground. At best we can expect a wet snow out of this but it is possible for a changeover to mixed precipitation, freezing rain or even a period of rain. Everything should be over and done with by Wednesday evening and a gradual return to colder conditions.

The return to chill late in the week should be the start of another stretch of at least seasonable temperatures and possibly even below normal temperatures for a day or two. The return to chill late in the week might also include some type of mixed precipitation to snow event. This would likely take the form of a wave of low pressure energizing a slow moving cold front. This however along with the cold weather that follows should preserve the period between the 24th and 28th of the month which i know is a big one for vacation planners. During this period, there is no evidence of a major snow event but clipper systems and weaker features could certainly provide some fresh powder to the region Christmas Day or the two days that follow.

The brief amplification of a western North American upper ridge will play its hand in that aforementioned 24th-28th period but there continues to be a lack of evidence that this change will be of a permanent. Instead, the broader weather map reverts back to the features that have hurt us. Height rises and upper ridging in the Mid-latitude Pacific coupled with the potential redevelopment of an poler vortex over Alaska. These are the main ingredients to the zonal flow scenario we have seen now for 5 weeks. The Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation continue to run positive revealing the lack of blocking at high latitudes and it is only the PNA providing some support over the next 10 days that is providing any real aid.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Encouraging signs in some of the Ensemble data

Yet another round of mild weather and rain is poised to invade interior New England and specifically the northern Green Mountain chain. Temperatures will soar well into the 40's Thursday and we will have to endure a period of rain during the middle of the day. The weather system responsible for the rain will bring colder weather, much colder weather in its wake. We will finally start to benefit from the 80 percent frozen Hudson Bay and colder air will thus be able to access eastern Canada more freely and more vigorously and can push southward from there. Temperatures over the weekend will stay well below freezing through the weekend and a clipper system Sunday should spread a fluffy accumulation of powder to the mountains.

Our pivotal pre-holiday moment will come early next week, likely Tuesday, as the cold air relinquishes its grip on the region and a stronger storm system approaches from the southwest. There are questions about both the track of this system and the available cold air and I am certainly concerned about both. We have as you know, no blocking mechanism to keep cold air in place and the prevailing pattern and warm Great Lakes has constantly pulled these systems farther north and farther west. It is very possible if not likely that next Tuesday sees this very result. With all that said, models are still odds and have yet to settle on a solution and are allowing for the possibility of a more wintry scenario.

Tuesday is important because if we can get some snow or even sleet out of that system, the stage will get brighter. The European Ensemble which has been accurately predicting almost tropical weather for the northeast over the past 3-4 weeks is finally showing some key changes starting in the middle of next week. It is not total vindication but the pattern will get an important boost from at least the temporary establishment of a western North American upper ridge. This should send some rather impressive shots of cold deep into the U.S. as we approach Christmas. The polar vortex in Alaska will also weaken at this point allowing the Jet in the Pacific to relax. The pattern in the Pacific is still disconcerting. It will still feature a lot of this Jet Stream level warmth referred to as ridging. Last year the Pacific was surprisingly unstable at mid-latitudes and this was attributed to the highly negative AO which dominated the weather pattern for December and January. Going a little deeper into the world of "geek speak" meteorologists talk about the formation of a high latitude "block' as a stratospheric warming event. A sudden warming of the stratosphere signals the formation of a high latitude block and thus signals that there will be a major southward transport of arctic air somewhere. The stratosphere which has been very cold so far this winter is expected to see such an event in the next 7-10 days. The phenomenon can only be viewed in general terms and does not reveal specifics. All we know is that the atmosphere will get shaken up, at least a little as we get toward the holidays. Given what has happened so far, we have little too lose from such a shake-up.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In search of the lost cold - extended version

In short we are continuing to get really hurt by jet stream level warmth in the mid-latitude Pacific. It continues to be one of the biggest features on the globe and it continues to haunt MRG and surrounding Vermont encouraging frequent warm-ups, rain events and an inability to build an early season snow-pack. These struggles will continue through the holidays thanks largely to the Pacific issues and the Arctic Oscillation which will remain mostly positive for the next two weeks.

The next few days will remain mostly below freezing, at least in the high country. By Thursday however, another push of mild weather will precede what appears to be a rain event. A better track might allow for a period of snow with this system but the Great Lakes aggregate continues to be warm relative to average, 7-10 degrees warmer than average in fact and that often induces low pressure centers in the center of the country to track toward the Great Lakes and thus bring milder weather ahead of the track and deep into New England. We will find some lost cold behind this system, a legitimate shot of arctic air in fact by next weekend and the coldest weather of the season so far. The Ensembles beyond this time frame however are not painting a pretty picture however. Specifically one that still includes the above-mentioned features. I would thus guess that although we may see some snow between the 17th and 19th of the month we are likely to see another warm-up prior to the holidays

Monday, December 5, 2011

Its looking better, at least a little

For one thing, we will get a reprieve from the sustained warmth which has plagued the region throughout November into the early part of this month. More generally speaking the teleconnection indices which have been quite disruptive particularly in recent weeks will also take a break There is no evidence of a decisive shift toward a "blocking" pattern of some variety, but a relatively neutral AO and slightly positive PNA will be just enough to at least get the ball rolling in the right direction. The first chance for significant snow is a very long shot. If it happens it will come from a wave of low pressure forming along the slow moving front to the regions south. If any real snow is to occur from this, the storm will need to intensify much quicker than what is currently indicated; otherwise, the storm will bring precipitation, and mainly rain to coastal cities.

A clipper system will arrive late Friday in advance of a much more substantial shot of chill, the first chance we will have of seeing temperatures lower than 10 F. A few inches of snow are possible from this before temperatures take this plunge. Thereafter, the pattern will be anchored by a classic La Nina style upper ridge in the Gulf of Alaska which is traditionally a dangerous place for such a feature. Thus, the risk remains for a early week warm up and non-snow type of event between the 12th and 14th of the month. Recent medium range model runs however have suggested that cold weather will grip a large portion of southern Canada and will keep us in the game so to speak. Any warm-up next week will likely be brief and my not occur at all. Cold weather will then overtake the region again after 15th and should grip the region for at least a 4-6 day stretch. It may not be a home-run forecast but at least an improvement over what we have seen.

Another positive development is the speed at which the Hudson Bay is freezing. Cold weather has gripped that region of Canada and that large body of water is on pace to freeze in a week to 10 days. This would be several weeks earlier than last year and will allow unmodified cold weather to move into eastern Canada a lot more freely. This is a critical thermal feedback that we will need to work in our favor if we are to proceed into the heart of this winter without any high latitude "blocking" to assist us.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Another week of mild weather coming

A few days ago I broke down and bought "The Last Waltz" on blu-ray. This is a concert/documentary by Martin Scorsese on The Band's last performance in late 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. I can't claim to be a die-hard fan of "The Band", admittedly it seemed far removed from my generation but in the end I was completely blown away. It really is an organic music experience like no other I think. The incredible collection of musicians, the assortment of musical styles and influences ranging from jazz to country/bluegrass to blues to straight up rock and the sincerity of the interviews and performances are really hard to match. Sadly it all especially rings true in an environment watered down with the likes of Katie Perry or the other mass-produced pop music filling the airwaves. Especially for those generation Y2k's looking for something "real", go out and get your hands on "The Last Waltz", its a real piece of musical Americana. The irony there is that "The Band" is Canadian and the concert includes American musicians paying tribute to their contributions to music.

I can't speak so positively about the weather at MRG over the next week. Mild air will work its way back into the region later Sunday and into Monday. With that will come the rain which will in association with a slow moving front. The rain will be off and on between Monday and Tuesday night totaling between .50 and 1 inch total. Colder weather then arrives Wednesday night with flurries and snow showers but even this cold will fail to bring temperatures back to normal and might also give way to another mild push and rain for next weekend although this remains a question mark right now.

About the only thing we do know for sure beyond a week is that we will see a more serious punch of cold weather late next weekend after another rain or mixed precipitation event next weekend. Several runs of the European Ensemble have suggested that the very positive AO will continue to rule the day allowing the cold weather next weekend/early next week to lift and opening the door for more mild temperatures and potentially more rain. The GFS and its ensembles suggest otherwise; in fact, the GFS is so dramatically different beyond the 12th of December allowing arctic cold to completely overwhelm the pattern. This evolution is supported by a developing La Nina style ridge in the Gulf of Alaska and allowing the downstream trough to become expansive enough to cover most of Canada. It defies my sense of reality but it is nonetheless encouraging. It would be realistic enough to expect cold weather to expand its influence across Canada and at least become somewhat accessible to northern New England. I would not expect cold weather to be as persistent as what the GFS suggests beyond the 12th of the month.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Arctic Oscillation crippling early season hopes

The Arctic Oscillation is the king of teleconnection indices. The ability to achieve a pattern of sustainable cold in areas south of 50 North with a minimal risk of rain is best done through a negative AO. A negative AO indicates that the upper air pattern at the poles is blocked and consequently consists of higher surface pressures at higher latitudes and lower pressures in the middle latitudes. The AO for the last several weeks has been positive and is largely responsible for the prevailing warmth in Vermont and the rest of the northeast. That warmth has reached a climax in the waning days of November. Yes, there are some signs of colder weather and snow particularly later next week but the ability for any cold weather to be a permanent fixture on the weather map will be compromised severely by the AO and NAO which show a lack of upper air blocking and encourages zonal flow. The SCWB has tried to quantify the teleconnection indices with the creation of the highly unscientific "favorability index". The index is a cumulative measure of the PNA, NAO and AO indices but we flip the signs of the AO and NAO so that positive numbers indicate "favorable" and negative "unfavorable". Negative AO and NAO indices indicate the blocking described above while positive PNA indices indicate upper ridging in western North America. For example, a NAO index of -0.7, an AO index of -1.5 and a PNA index of -0.1 produces a favorability index of +2.1. In this case the 14 day favorability consists of a NAO index of +0.7, an AO of +2.0 and a PNA of -0.2. This equates to a -2.9 which is an inauspicious number in this early part of the season.

The upcoming 5-7 days will remain very mild with only a brief break. A very moist storm system in the Midwest will track up through the eastern Great Lakes which is not good and lacks any access to cold air which is also not good. The front associated with this storm has had its eastward progression halted because of the prevailing upper air pattern and honestly I am just glad this hasn't happened later in the year. Get this nonsense out of the way now because such a scenario which includes the combination of rain and high dewpoints can obliterate snowpack. Since we don't have much of one anyway there is not much to lose.

Colder weather Thursday will also give way to another surge of warmer temperatures by the end of the weekend. More rain showers will mark the end of the warm weather on Monday the 5th or Tuesday the 6th of December. Much colder air will then grip the region for a period of around 3-5 days. Embedded in this stretch will likely be a clipper system capable of producing light accumulations. The question will be whether this cold air can persist through the middle of the month without another big warm-up. Right now I think that answer is no since too many of the above mentioned teleconnection indices are working against us.

Friday, November 25, 2011

La Nina 2011 has a sequel, lets hope its as good as the orginal

Like "The Empire Strikes Back" was to "Star Wars". Lets hope it is not what the latest "Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps" was to the original "Wall Street". The world continues to become more and more hyper-connected and the SCWB continues to struggle to keep up. This year will mark the blogs introduction to Twitter which I hope will prove a very useful piece of social media for the blog. The demands of my job and my time continue to increase and the ability to do any updates from work is long gone. The application at the top of the blog however will allow me to upload tweets all day and night if I choose and do so from my Iphone, something I really should have started doing last year. It will be used mostly to pass along information or updates between traditional blog posts. We will see how it works but feel free to interact via the Tweets and provide suggestions, comments or critique.

One quick shout out before we go to all the folks who have worked so hard to recover from the disastrous Hurricane Irene. I know it has taken a Herculean effort and many volunteering hours to prepare for this season after a weather event that none of us will soon forget. I am sure I am not alone but I wish everyone involved a speedy road to recovery and the best of luck this season and beyond. Hopefully the skies will produce a more constructive type of precipitation for the upcoming winter, the type we can make some turns in and certainly the type that stops at our doorsteps.


The Thanksgiving holiday brought with it a potent Noreaster and some heavy snow. It came in the midst of a rather unfavorable weather pattern with entrenched features that do no support sustainable cold or snow especially at this early juncture of the winter season. It is a winter that should continue to feature a La Nina but one that of this date is half the strength of the 2010-2011 version.

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/ssta_c.gif

The link above illustrates SST trends over the last 12 months in the ENSO regions. There are a total of 4 regions, 1-4 with the first positioned close to South America and the fourth positioned close to the date line. The 3.4 region is a hybrid region stretching roughly from halfway across region 3 to west to halfway through region 4. In the link above, this region is the second down from the top and the difference between this year and last year is fairly evident. This year's ENSO will not be quantified as a strong event unless it strengthens considerably in the coming month. Theoretically, a weaker La Nina would allow traditional characteristics of a La Nina winter to be less frequent and easier to break down. These features include a persistent upper ridge in the southeastern United States deflecting storm systems to the Great Lakes region and an even stronger upper ridge across the Gulf of Alaska forcing much of the snow and cold in to the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. New England is often the battleground and can swing in either direction. The support of a very persistent and often very strong negative Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation forced the battleground southward and the region was on the snowy side of many systems. Amazingly, the best snowfall with many of last years big weather systems was again to the regions south which is very unusual in a La Nina event of that magnitude. Such a result is rationalized however through the support of the above-mentioned teleconnection indices.

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation or PDO has also been a traditional pre-season parameter worthy of discussion. It has in fact proven to have some skill in predicting the trough/ridge configuration across North America. To be fair however it has not done a good job of indicating the amount of powder days we will see at MRG. The last 5 years at MRG can accurately be described as ranging from slightly good to excellent good years and 4 of these years have featured a negative PDO when traditionally it has been the positive PDO which would seem to support a colder and snowier pattern. It is somewhat of a chicken and egg situation with the PDO since the configuration of temperatures in the mid-latitude Pacific (the PDO) are to some degree a function of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial regions of the Pacific. As of now, the index continues to run negative, more negative in fact than last year (1.34 as opposed to -1).

One of my favorite methods of glancing into the future is to actually look at what is happening with early season snow and ice expansion. For a while it looked ugly. With the exception of 2007, the ice had retreated to its lowest levels since this type of data has been recorded. And yes, unlike other phenomena such as a 20 inch snowfall in Washington D.C. the retreat of ice in the Arctic regions can be attributed to climate change. Much of the month of October continued to see a slow expansion of snow/ice and the month ranked 30th out of the last 44 October's in total northern hemisphere snow/ice cover. The last few weeks however has seen a remarkable turnaround. This can no doubt be partly attributed to a highly positive AO which has effectively bottled the cold near the polar regions. This cold however has pooled very effectively and allowed the ice to expand very rapidly. The actual ice has expanded to beyond 2006, 2007 and 2010 levels and now rivals 2009 and 2008 levels. The snow has also caught up to and surpassed the roughly 45-year average and is now running above average and should thus allow the month to chime in at above average. This is very important in my view since some of the warmest winters have featured a combined October/November Northern Hemisphere snow cover area that is way below average. It took a late inning rally, but we won't do that this year.

What we should see however is a sluggish start in spite of the foot of snow received Thanksgiving. Ironically, La Nina appears much more evident in the weather pattern than it ever did last year with strong upper ridging in the Gulf of Alaska region enhancing the jet energy across the west and making it difficult for Arctic cold to move out of the polar regions for any length of time. For much of November in fact, ridging in the mid-latitude Pacific was destroying the weather pattern much like it did in the early part of the 2006-2007 winter. After a relatively mild week we should succeed at getting some intermittent cold and snow after December 5th but overall pattern will remain anchored by a very positive AO and this will prevent cold from lingering for any real duration. More on this in a subsequent post but this sluggish start will ultimately be replaced by a winter which should not stray too far from normal. We may by the end of the season see above normal snowfall again but I will predict a relatively average 270 inch winter with temperatures slightly above average. For now however, be patient and don't get discouraged with what will likely be some early season frustration.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Season to conclude quietly with no snow but fantastic weather

Snow showers and squalls Wednesday provided skiers with a steal from a value standpoint and has also supplied re-enforcements to a healthy April base of snow. The chilly conditions should persist through Friday but the overrunning precipitation event which had the potential to spread another blanket of snow to Vermont will bring mostly rain and will bring all of that rain to areas well to our south. Both Thursday and Friday should feature below freezing mornings, above freezing afternoons and great visibility with intervals of sun and high clouds.

No precipitation is expected over the weekend but the weather looks simply outstanding. Temperatures may start below freezing but the combination of sunshine and the erosion of support for the recent chill will allow temperatures to surge into the 50's during the afternoon. Sunday will feature a few more clouds perhaps but a mild southwesterly breeze will support even warmer temperatures to go along with great visibility once again. Readings during the afternoon could exceed 60 in the low lying areas.

Weather models have made a decisive turn toward milder weather next week and most of the country should see the effects of this. The proposed MRG closing date thus looks very well-timed as some serious dents in the snow pack should occur by the end of the week. We will do one more wrap-up blog entry but until then enjoy the weekend.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Let me apologize for leaving the SCWB adrift for the past week. I was buried in the Caribbean (Barbados to be exact which is actually out in the Atlantic a bit but who's counting) and was promised internet access at my hotel. Alas the connection proved unreliable and I simply gave up. In the meantime winter continues to rage on, particularly as of April fools where a storm continues to strengthen as it pushes northeast in the Gulf of Maine. The consensus forecast of about 4-8 inches seems to look ok to me. Temperatures at the base will keep the snow of the wet variety but snow should continue to fall through Saturday morning and a slight drop in temperatures will allow for some powdery turns during the morning. Temperatures in the mid thirties during the afternoon along with the brighter midday skies will make the snow a bit wetter again.

Over the next week to 10 days which spans the duration of the season at MRG, there only appears to be one significant warm-up. It will come in the form of a quick surge in warmer temperatures Tuesday. The warm-up will be preceded by a period of freezing rain and rain Monday evening induced mostly by classic New England overrunning. Blustery and mild conditions will then prevail during the day Tuesday followed by showers and perhaps even a rumble of thunder Tuesday afternoon as a cold front attacks the region.

The cold weather to follow doesn't appear to be particularly anomalous but it will be the commencement of an extended stretch of generally cooler conditions that should include mostly below freezing nights and day time temperatures that struggle into the 40's if that. Flurries and snow showers will prevail for Wednesday followed by a dry day on Thursday. Another push of warmth on Friday is likely to fail to make any indentation into interior New England. Instead, we should see the possibility of snow or rain both Friday and Saturday, weather that should support MRG's continued operation through April 10th or next weekend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Winter-like cold grips Vermont for the next week

The bulk of precipitation Thursday will remain to the regions south. The American GFS runs up through this morning had shown the formation of a deformation area across the Vermont and New Hampshire high country which in effect would produce a steady snow Thursday night and Friday. Some indication of this remains although at a lesser intensity. The higher resolution short term models also have some indications of snow although it would be of the lighter 1-3 inch variety. We won't be able to rely too much on low level instability to produce snow since there isn't much too speak of through the end of the week. Any snow would have to be "mechanically" induced through physically lifting moist layers of the atmosphere, a job typically done by a warm or cold front.

As for the weekend, the weather itself looks primarily dry but temperatures will be very wintry ranging from single numbers in the morning to near 30 in the afternoon. It may be balmy compared to January but 15 degrees below average is statistically significant for the season and will certainly prevent any material erosion of the existing base. Saturday should be the day to feature more sun (mixed with clouds and occasional snow flurries) and some gusty winds. Sunday may feature more in the way of clouds along with less winds. Sunday will also feature another late March snow event which is not expected to have any impact on MRG or northern Vermont (precipitation should again stay to our south) although we will keep an eye on it.

We have a better chance for weather during the middle part of next week. It would be the last system to potentially have an snowy impact on us during the resurgence of cold. We had successive runs of the European model show a very favorable track and some significant snows for us Tuesday and Wednesday. The cycle of model runs released close to noon today showed a track well to our south. This last system is our best chance and perhaps our last chance for big powder of the season as it is expected to warm to above freezing levels by the end of the week (April 1) followed by a little spring rain during the first weekend in April.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Snow makes a return and so does the cold weather

An innocent looking storm system across will quickly spread its moisture into Vermont Monday. This is a weather system that caused thunderstorms with sleet across the Great Lakes in spite of the fact that the storm only has a central pressure of 1010 mb. It is the clashing of airmasses that is acting as the ignition for the intense area of precipitation and as this area of precipitation moves east into the colder temperatures it will snow. The snow will fall mainly across the northern part of the state beginning during the midday hours Monday and persisting through Monday night. The 8-12 inches wiy ll be a nice little victory this late in the season as the snow will turn heavy for a time late Monday. At the base the snow will be of a wetter consistency but the upper half of the mountain should see powder. The snow will taper to flurries by Tuesday morning and sunshine will make a return.

We talked about another storm during the midweek period, another product of a major clash in airmasses. Like before it looks like most of the snow will travel to our south although a few recent runs of the GFS American Model have the region getting grazed with a few inches. We do now it will be very cold for late March with temperatures remaining below freezing for the most part through the end of the week. The cold weather may abate somewhat by the weekend but temperatures will remain below normal and we may get just enough instability for occasional snow showers.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring conditions have arrived but winter plans to fight back

Many areas in Vermont have seen a long awaited day of 50-degree temperatures. The warmth has corned up the snow and melted a large percentage of it in low lying areas. At high elevations however the snow depth remains healthy and well above average for this time of year and colder weather over the next week will ensure it remains that way. The question involves our chances for a late season snow.

As far as organized systems go, it's a mixed review. Cold weather will arrive in time for the weekend but the prevailing airmass is a dry one and the weekend will feature great visibility, a good amount sunshine and temperatures which dip into the teens during the early morning hours before rising close to or above 40 during the afternoon. By Monday another push of warmer temperatures will accompany the arrival of the next storm system. This low pressure center will travel up the St Lawrence Valley and will thus ensure that any snowfall is minimal at least initially. The moisture however will be moving quickly east and this could mean a period of freezing rain Monday. Colder weather will quickly become entrained in the storm as it moves east. This combined with some lingering instability could mean accumulating snow showers Tuesday as temperatures fall below the freezing mark.

Another system is likely to quickly cross the country during the middle of the week and it will be energized by a fairly violent clash in airmasses between the southward push of cold and the lingering warmth in the southern states. The moisture with this storm system is likely going to impact areas well to our south unfortunately. After a round of what we hope will be some accumulating snow showers Tuesday, dry weather will win the day for the later part of the week. It will however remain very cold with temperatures on the mountain remaining below freezing for an extended period of time. The cold weather will continue through next weekend which should provide the opportunity for another shot some new snow. Overall the teleconnection indices are very mixed. They are favorable at the moment but the NAO and AO will become conflicted within a week or so with the AO turning positive and the NAO remaining negative.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Powder Sunday in an otherwise unexciting week

A decaying area of moisture associated with a eastward advancing clipper system will help the region out a bit late Saturday into Sunday. It had looking a day or two ago as the energy and moisture with this system might move to our south but we will see some fluffy snow beginning Saturday evening and persisting through early Sunday. The snow may begin as rain in low lying areas and could fall as a wet snow even at the base. Colder temperatures on Sunday however should be able to change most of the snow to a powdery consistency by Sunday morning with a elevation sensitive 2-5 inches expected by the middle of the day.

The snow early Sunday is the last we can expect for at least a week or so. The cold weather on Sunday will last through Monday and into early Tuesday before temperatures make another surge into the middle and high 30's Tuesday afternoon. This will set the state for a fairly mild end of the week. Some showers are possible Wednesday but the front associated with any rain is a weak one and is not expected to bring any arctic cold south. This means temperatures are likely to reach the 40's Wednesday and Thursday and could best 50 Friday or Saturday. In short, it will be spring conditions late in the week and choosing days and times when it's not raining. The rain should not be a major concern however since whatever falls Wednesday will be light and although the rain threat moves up again next weekend, models are not indicating a significant storm.

The blocking continues to look more favorable after the 20th of the month although the ensembles at face value do not show a corresponding "cold" signal. At the very least however the blocking should allow for a greater variety of weather at least one good storm toward the end of the month.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yes rain is still unavoidable but we steal a powder day Thursday

With the snow under the single "preserved" one extra day there were some epic turns to be had Tuesday and it looks like plenty of skiers enjoyed it. On Wednesday it will be more of the same with great visibility, little if any wind and at the minimum, a half a day of sunshine before clouds from our next approaching system envelop the region.

Our next storm has been talked about for several posts and mostly in an unflattering way. Overall the storm still looks rather "unflattering" yet the surge of colder weather now firmly entrenched over the region will not give it up so easily this time. This essentially will equate to an extra day of great turns and some fresh powder as well as precipitation Thursday will begin around daybreak in the form of snow. The snow should fall steadily and for much of the day. The question during the day involves the personality of the snow Thursday since temperatures will gradually rise throughout the day as the cold air erodes. It appears for at least Thursday morning that the snow will remain dry with temperatures in the low to mid 20's. Later in the day temperatures are expected to approach the freezing mark and if the snow is still falling it will turn wet. Then we go to freezing rain and rain but not until 4-7 inches of additional snow and not until after closing.

The rain is going to be a steady one and at times a heavy one with over an inch expected. Temperatures will approach the 40 degree mark with dewpoints not far behind so it will not completely devastate the base, but over an inch of rain is significant and it will certainly leave its mark.

The rain will be over and done with Friday evening and will be replaced by flurries and snow showers Friday night into early Saturday. In the wake of all the rain comes a clipper system, a system that is likely to dump most of its moisture on the Great Lakes before diving southeast. There may not be much moisture available to us but whatever is left will fall in the form of snow showers on Sunday along with below freezing temperatures. The cold weather will perist through Tuesday and then we can expect a big thaw consisting of temperatures in the 40's and 50's and perhaps some more rain late in the week. The surge of warmth next week will coincide with a long awaited switch in our teleconnection indices. This should encourage some interesting weather for the last 10 days of the month but we will see.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Strengthening wave of low pressure delivers big snow for MRG

The third in a series of low pressure centers that have formed along this very slow moving front has brought snow to the region and a lot more of it than we would have thought a few days ago. The storm became stronger and more mature and models have picked up on this trend in the late going. The combination of heavy snow through Sunday night and temperatures in the teens and 20's is going to turn Monday into one of the better powder days of the year. This allows the last few days to fit very well into the traditions of New England weather-lore. An awful and depressing rain Sunday followed by one of the better storms of the year. Overall, the 12-20 inches will rank this storm close to the top for 2011 and below-freezing temperatures through the middle of the week should allow for a few days of good turns before our next system later in the week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Big rains Sunday but some snow to follow for Monday

A large upper ridge is well entrenched across the east coast and this is allowing very mild weather to push well into interior sections of New England. We do have a storm trying to break this pesky feature down but it is running into a brick wall as it progresses east. The result will be an unfortunate rain which will begin Saturday evening and will be quite heavy for a time during the day Sunday. After over an inch of rain, a cold front will mercifully make its push through Vermont and bring colder weather and... a little winter weather Sunday night. The snow will come as a result from a wave of low pressure, one of many which will form along the above-mentioned slow moving front but this one will move to our right as opposed to our left. The transition to snow may be gradual with rain changing to a freezing rain and sleet mixture Sunday evening and then going to all snow by daybreak Monday. We could see a couple hours of fairly heavy snow before precipitation moves off to our northeast. Overall this system is an impressive one for its total precipitation. Over an inch of rain as I mentioned and then several inches of sleet and snow.

The return to winter in Vermont will last a few days but we can't rid ourselves of this extremely adverse pattern. The next system late this week will thus be forced to conform to the same guidelines as the previous two which will mean another push of mild weather and potentially more ice and rain. In the case of this upcoming week, the approaching weather system Thursday will encounter a more resistant form of cold air giving us a shot at some snow late in the week but its just a chance and the more likely result is something more undesirable.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tough headwinds continue to lay ahead

A amplified pattern energized by the current La Nina will continue to have the mountain playing defense. We did manage to fight off one non-snow event rather well this past Monday and a light dusting of snow Wednesday with some much below normal temperatures to follow for Thursday will keep winter on the front page for now. We may even squeeze a decent ski day out of Saturday as overrunning precipitation well out in advance of next disconcerting weather system brings some snow to the region. The snow Saturday morning could accumulate a few inches prior to first tracks time although we may have to iron out the details in a later post.

The muscle with this next system will be meandering across center of the nation Friday but unfortunately, the persistent upper trough in the west will get a major re-enforcing thrust of jet energy and will consequently allow for the southeast ridge to get a big boost. Mild air will flood the region and is likely going to do it at the low and mid levels of the atmosphere Sunday allowing for a period of rain following some possible ice Saturday night. As time progresses this storm will get stretched out a bit as it tries to break down the above-mentioned ridge. If it does so efficiently we may see rain change to a period of accumulating snow late Sunday into Monday.

We can expect a day or two of colder weather during the early part of next week but another similar looking system will look to take a similar track during the middle of next week. This system has a slightly better chance of delivering winter weather but the chances for an all snow event in a pattern such as this is low and I would expect some additional ice or a period of rain.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pattern to unleash at least two ice/rain events before its done

We had a nice little storm Friday and we will get some additional snows tonight which will be about enough for a few nice turns early tomorrow. In addition, those ambitious enough to extend the holiday week by a day could get rewarded with a few nice turns early Monday. Monday's storm has very little cold air to work with though it does bring with it a lot of moisture and warm air which is not the combination we are looking for. The latest cycle of model runs however is allowing some precipitation to work into Vermont before the cold weather has completely expired. This could very well result in a period of snow for the mountain early Monday, enough for a few inches and certainly a few good runs on the mountain before we ultimately go to freezing rain or rain during the middle part of the day. Temperatures will only reach the high 30's late Monday into Monday night but we still expect about a half inch or ice/rain which will be damaging although not catastrophic.

There are also some indications that the storm Monday/Tuesday could turn a little "anafrontal" over New England which essentially allows precipitation to continue falling even after the passage of a cold front. Some new snow could result from this Tuesday but there are no indications that this will amount to anything of significance. We will see winter-like temps during the middle and even later part of the week. The cold front Tuesday will send temperatures closer to normal and then a reinforcing shot of cold may bring an inch or two of snow late Wednesday or early Thursday and then bring 2 days of below normal temperatures before more trouble starts for the weekend.

The first full weekend in March will feature another major push of milder temperatures. Although some overrunning snow is possible as we transition out of the grips of arctic air, temperatures should get pretty warm both afternoons next weekend. In addition another system should spread rain into the region Sunday or Monday the 8th and it could be a much warmer rain verses what we will see on the last day of February. A brief cool down early next week will be short-lived and give way to another push of warmth around the 10th of March and another rain event could be included.

I realize this is the one of the more negative outlooks that has come from the SCWB. If your searching for some good news, there may be some by the middle of March as the unfavorable teleconnections are finally showing signs of making at least a partial switch. If the mountain can survived the next 10-12 days, winter could give an encore performance before we transition to spring.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quick moving but powerful storm will dump on MRG

I would advise getting out and enjoying this one if you can as March looks like it will start in a bad way for us skiers and a good way if your waiting for a warm-up.

This storm will be not far from Louisville, KY early Friday morning and then strengthen quickly as it rapidly makes its way toward the Gulf of Maine where it will strengthen to sub-990 mb by early Saturday morning. Were it not for the speed at which this storm is expected to move, it would certainly be our best of the year. It will nonetheless still be good thump and the region should get some good winds as well Friday evening into the night before quickly abating Saturday. Most importantly is the snow however which will begin around midday Friday and turn very heavy by the evening with lots of blowing and drifting making for very adverse travel. The heavy snow should slacken to flurries by midnight and be done with by Saturday. The blowing will certainly wind pack the snow but it will also ensure that Saturday features plenty of powder especially in the trees which are less exposed to the wind. Total accumulations will be around a foot or so but it will be tough to measure because of the drifting.

Saturday will be dry and chilly and should feature at least a period of sunshine although temperatures will struggle to reach the teens. As promised however we will have another shot at snow Saturday night as a weak wave of low pressure along a developing warm front spreads overrunning precipitation into the region. Accumulations will be on the lighter side since this system is certainly on the much weaker side. It would be wise however to enjoy whatever falls because things could get ugly in a hurry.

If your keeping score at home you might have noticed the sea of negatives in our little favorability tracker. We have managed this recent pattern with a mix of good and bad including the major thaw last week and the big storm we expect tomorrow. The possibility of a third thumping of powder in 4 days though has come crashing down however as warm air will flood the region at mid-levels Monday and precipitation which could start as ice will likely go to a period of rain. I had held out a little hope on for Monday but there is no fresh supply of cold to be had and warm air from the pesky southeast ridge will run through our defenses. Our hope at this point is for the storm to attain a negative tilt as it matures Monday enabling wrap around and terrain induced snow to impact the mountain for the first of March. Right now the event looks to be primarily ice and rain with up to a half inch of liquid.

A couple of days of wintry weather should follow for the Tuesday-Thursday time frame next week and a clipper could bring some fresh snow to the region during the middle of the week. As the week continues to progress however the pattern will begin to amplify in a not so ideal way confining cold and snow exclusively to the western states and producing some very mild conditions in the east by the first weekend in March. It could, if you buy into the ensembles at face value be extremely mild with near record breaking warmth. It would mean good spring skiing but I am not sure I want to see a thaw of this magnitude so early in March.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cold air to win the day Friday as battle lines shift south

With La Nina still prevalent and the blocking all but gone, it has been an all out war the very mild temperatures situated over the southeast and the cold air which has held firm across Canada. Much like February of 2008, the arctic air has been formidable and held its ground in the face of rather adverse teleconnection indices. On Friday, it is now expected that the push of mild temperatures preceding a fast moving storm system will not be enough to bring a rain or even a significant icing event to MRG. Even late in the game there remains some glaring uncertainty about the outcome in Friday's storm but we have enough info to make a very educated guess. The European model remains the warmest of all solutions yet the latest simulations continue to shift the track of this, quick-paced but strong storm system to the south so that it would track over central New England. Such a scenario could mean that any initial icing would be brief Friday morning and early afternoon and precipitation would go quickly to a thumping snow and yield a powder day Saturday. The American GFS model has also shifted its track of this storm south and is now showing minimal precipitation in central and northern Vermont. The Canadian model; well, it would prefer a compromise and such would also mean snow Friday afternoon and into the night and a beautiful powder day for Saturday. Although by no means is the game decided, I certainly like the players that are on the field who are certainly capable of conservatively yielding a 6-12 inch event. Without the GFS's support, many forecast services out there will be hesitant to hype this storm so lets watch and wait and see how things transpire. For now I am optimistic.

I am afraid to call Friday's storm the beginning of another "powder train" but it is the first chance and certainly not the last chance for snow in the next 7 days. The second chance comes late Saturday into Sunday. This system should be a less potent one but one that should without question bring powder as opposed to any other form of precipitation. The uncertainty here is how much and this will depend on how efficiently this late blooming system chooses to go about organizing itself. This series of systems are all products of this highly baraclinic which will oscillate between the Tennessee and Ohio Valley's.

We will have a shot at the trifecta early next week as much more moist and powerful storm system attacks the northeast. The "trifecta" however will be a challenge since this system will throw a lot of warm air in our direction as it approaches. Unless a southward push of cold is timed correctly, the cold weather can vanish incredibly quickly without the help of high latitude blocking which currently doesn't and is not expected to exist. Still, none of the indications show a track that would completely dash our hopes with this third storm. If this powerful storm can continue to mature as it moves through New England it can manufacture its own cold air and ultimately bring more snow to the mountain before it exits even if we get a period of unwanted precipitation at the start or in the middle.

Its exciting times to be a weather nut, it should be a very interesting week.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Active pattern going forward will yield either "mixed" or very good results

The bad news would be our short term outlook which was not helped by the disappointing terrain induced event Saturday and will also not be helped by the current system which will collapse southward and will mostly avert the region. This weather event which had so much promise as it exited the rocky mountain west advertising the potential for an extended period of overrunning snow will bring only a brief period of snow to southern New England and will merely dust up central and northern Vermont with a light accumulation. This systems potential was destroyed by a potent polar jet disturbance which got involved at the wrong time and will force the storms energy to sag south. It will keep the cold weather well entrenched across the region as temperatures plummet to 10 below by Tuesday morning before recovering into the teens during the day thanks to sunshine.

The good news would be the continuous train of storms which we expect over the next week and a half or so. It is a classic La Nina set up with both cold weather and plenty of pacific energy across the western half of the nation pressing against the relative warmth of a southeast U.S. upper ridge. The arctic air is proving formidable however and has been fighting the good fight (even though it was too good of a fight in the case of the current system). The first such potential event is Friday, a weather system talked about in the last post as a storm the models failed to yield any decisive answers on. The European continuous to give the "wrong" answer by allowing the storm to track close to the St Lawrence valley thus bringing ice into the region Friday. The GFS continues to show a nice powder event for the region as it did a few days ago. The recent runs of the Euro however were a little farther south however and we would need this storm to track another 100 miles south and the results would be more fruitful.

Two additional storm systems will also garner speculation after the Friday event. The first has the possibility of delivering snow Sunday or Monday and another during the middle of the week. As mentioned Friday, a contradictory set of indicators exists with the teleconnection indices now indicating a very unfavorable blocking regime although the various ensembles show a somewhat cold scenario for mainly the northern tier of the United States. It is this clash which is likely which is the cause of the very active weather and we can only hope the snow from all these storms falls over northern Vermont.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Holday week looks much better

Saturday will bring a return to colder temperatures but the stars are aligning for a terrain induced powder event and perhaps one of the better ones we have seen this year. The return to colder temperatures will not eliminate either the low level moisture or instability. The key in these types of events which are is for a minimal amount of directional shear in the lower part of the troposphere and for a deep layer of instability extending hopefully ten thousand feet up in the atmosphere. Deep is a relative term because ten thousand feet would not be considered a deep thunderstorm cloud but such a layer in the winter can produce a large amount of perfect skiing powder. Saturday appears to be a day where all this can happen. Light to moderate snow should persist through a good chunk of the day and a fluffy 5-10 inches is very very possible. Such a snowfall would be very very very much needed in light of how firm the mountain will be as temperatures turn colder after the recent warmth.

The snow should be over and done with for Sunday and temperatures will remain in the seasonable category but the talk of more snow will remain as a more organized storm system promises to impact the region early in the holiday week. This is a storm which pummel the mountain west with snow before exiting the eastern Rockies Sunday. The storm will be a front-runner and will have a warm front and associated overrunning surface extending well over 1,000 miles east of the low pressure center. Given the expected track of this weather system, it is the right kind of storm to deliver another needed dose of snow if we can avoid any mid-level, above-freezing intrusion capable of changing precipitation to that dreaded icy mixture. For the time being, it looks like that will happen as snow should begin in the pre-dawn hours Monday and continue into the day. Models are not indicating a huge accumulation but 3-5 additional inches would make for the second powder day in 3 days.

The mountain will face more adversity later in the week. Remember, are indices are still decidedly unfavorable and this leaves the door open for another push of warm weather as the week progresses. Both Tuesday and Wednesday look dry and seasonable with temperatures ranging between 10 in the mornings and 25 in the afternoons. Tuesday will feel colder thanks to blustery northwest winds. Later in the week however another in a series of systems in the mountain west will move east and may try to take the unpopular St Lawrence Valley route. This is hardly a settled issue and the American GFS model has indicated that the system may track farther south and keep winter in place across northern Vermont. A subsequent update will have to tackle some of these key unknowns but for now I would guess on a slight warm-up for Thursday followed by mixed precipitation Thursday night into Friday.

The pattern beyond Friday continues to look incredibly energetic across the west as a continuous series of vicious storms hammers the mountain west. It will likely create an epic powdery scenario for the Central Rockies and will continue to make it challenging for eastern areas. This being said the recent ensemble members are generally showing a colder signal when compared to the upcoming week hopefully indicating a storm track that will be a bit further south.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

50-degree temperature rise in 36 hours set for the middle of the week

The clipper system talked about a few days ago will move along the St Lawrence Valley Monday. This track is a bit too far north for big snow since the storm's associated jet max quadrants are too far north. Nonetheless the mountain will see snow in the form of snow showers on Monday and then a short period of moderate to heavy snow Monday night. Although the storm will only yield a few inches it will turn viciously cold Tuesday morning. This blast of cold is a special delivery for the northeast with interior New England as the almost exclusive recipient. So while much of the U.S. prepares for near record warmth, Mad River will be well below zero Tuesday morning with wind chills at least 30 below. If you can brave it, you can expect some nice wind blown powder Tuesday . The wind will abate Tuesday night and after another chilly overnight featuring sub-zero readings temperatures will warm dramatically and exceed the freezing mark by the afternoon Wednesday. On Thursday, readings will surge into the 40's and could even reach 50 on Friday.

This brings us to the holiday weekend and the week that follows. Many times in Vermont, big thaws are ended by big rains but it does not appear this will happen in this case. We should see some rain later Friday or early Saturday but not the base destroyer of an inch or more. The pool of instability in the wake of the potential rain event should bring terrain induced snows back to the mountain either Saturday or Sunday and thus the road back to (hopefully) glory begins. I was encouraged with the ensemble runs over the past day which although yet to endorse a full switch in the teleconnection indices back to favorable have at least allowed things to get "interesting" next week. The talk will likely surround a mid-week storm which is likely to take dead aim at the region. It will likely be a classic La Nina style clash of cold arctic air positioned across eastern Canada and mild temperatures across the Mid Atlantic and southeastern states. Any big storm remains a long way off but our much talked about thaw will end by the end of the week and a sustained stretch of winter-like temperatures will follow hopefully accompanied by snow.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Powder machine still engaged but February thaw still in the cards for late next week

I apologize for getting the holiday weeks mixed up since I know its a big one for many of the MRG faithful. The weekend (12th and 13th) is still shaping up to be a real winner. We won't be dealing with any major weather system but a series of impulses or undulations in the polar jet will keep the powder coming through Monday night. The first brings some powder for Saturday. It won't be much and it does not appear like any will fall Friday night but I would expect a few fluffy inches during the day Saturday with perhaps a fresh inch by first tracks time. The second is a much stronger disturbance and is probably the strongest version of a clipper we can see across interior New England. This system will get aided by the fact that the cold air will be in the process of retreating northward thus providing the natural overrunning surface necessary for accumulating snow. Ideally the track of this storm would be about 50-100 miles further south so although we are in line to receive several inches, 4-8, between Sunday night and Monday the heaviest snow will probably stay north of I89 or north of the Waterbury to Littleton, NH line.

In the wake of the snow Monday comes one more mini blast of chill before a major push of warm weather that should exceed the thaw we saw around the new year. Temps on Tuesday morning will start below zero and remain below freezing through Wednesday. By Thursday afternoon however, the mercury will surge into the 40's and readings could remain above freezing for at least a two day stretch.

This brings us to the holiday weekend. There is no question that we will have to battle through some rather unfavorable teleconnection indices with the byproducts including the unsettled weather confined to western North America and a formidable southeast upper ridge which will invariably push mild air to the north. With this disclaimer out there, cold weather will be relatively close in eastern Canada, close enough to perhaps push into northern Vermont and New England ahead of the next major storm system next weekend. Granted I am not optimistic for any major snow but the pattern does remind me a lot of early February 08 which appeared to all the world like a skiing disaster only later to turn into skiing paradise as arctic air was able to make an 11th hour push into Vermont and snow fell instead of the expected ice and rain. So we can keep our eyes on it even though it doesn't look good as of now.

I think we should see some slight improvements as we progress through the holiday week. The NAO and AO will not be fighting us so ambitiously (they will be near zero to start the week) although the PNA will continue to remain very negative and the weather that results will fit nicely into the La Nina stereotype. The Pacific Northwest will see its share of storms with both snow and rain, the cold weather will mostly be confined to northern North America which means mostly Canada and most areas east of the Mississippi will see mild temperatures. The exception to this will be the Great Lakes and New England which will remain on the fence throughout which means a rain event could be quickly followed by a snow event. We have an enormous amount of snow on the ground across the eastern United States and the Great Lakes have a lot of ice on them which includes an almost frozen Lake Huron. This could encourage the boundary between warm and cold to be a bit further south than what is currently predicted but time will tell.

Monday, February 7, 2011

4 of next 6 days could include some fresh powder

With 6-10 falling by Tuesday evening and some additional light snow or flurries Tuesday night yielding an inch or two. Then on Wednesday night or Thursday morning, a weak impulse will produce some terrain induced powder which will be good for a few inches. Temperatures will remain on the chilly side beginning Tuesday night and persisting through much of the weekend but readings will remain tolerable for skiing rising to around 10 or so on the mountain on each afternoon through Friday and then to 15 on Saturday.

As I mentioned we continue to have a good chance for more snow over the weekend. A weak clipper Friday night into Saturday would be the catalyst for a light fluff-up for the early part of the weekend but I still like the idea of several more inches Sunday as advancing milder temperatures clashes with the cold weather over New England providing the key ingredient of an overrunning surface. Expectations could change of course depending on how these various weather features evolve (there are more than a few) so stay tuned.

Milder temperatures are still expected to prevail during the holiday week. So far there are no hard indications of any ice or rain but the threat is alive. For the next 7 days though the powder should keep us in good spirits. Enjoy !!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

6-10 inches of snow for Monday night into Tuesday, possibly more for the upcoming weekend

The snow Monday night comes from a storm which had a real chance to do even bigger things. We were hoping that a new area of low pressure would form off the coast and re-energize this system while pumping Atlantic moisture into Vermont. Low pressure will indeed form off the coast but way off the coast and our snow will have to come as a result of a much weaker area of low pressure which will advance up from the Tennessee Valley Monday and will ultimately be swallowed by the larger Atlantic system offshore Tuesday. Light snow will likely be falling for much of the day Monday with light accumulations by the evening. The snow will intensify Monday night and could turn briefly heavy prior to first tracks time Tuesday. The snow from this storm will be of the more powdery variety as opposed to some of the very wet weekend snow. Tuesday shapes up to be a real winner although colder temperatures combined with blustery northwest winds will make for a chilly finale to the day.

We had talked about the possibility for a second storm later in the week as the colder temperatures are re-enforced one last time. There is good agreement however that this storm will track well to our south and that primarily dry and cold weather will prevail through the remainder of the week. I think the weekend however appears a little snowier as the eroding cold weather will provide for a good overrunning surface for additional snows. Its a bit difficult to pinpoint the most powdery days at this point but between Saturday and Sunday, a fresh 6 inches on the mountain is certainly possible.

The President's day holiday will bring a different pattern and one that will include retreating arctic air. We may successfully avoid an all out spring thaw but we will likely see at least 2 days of 40-degree temperatures between the 15th and 21st of the month and we could very well see some rain as well.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Powder train has 2 storms on the immediate horizon including some surprise powder for Sunday

An innocent looking area of precipitation near the Gulf Coast has not been so innocent over Houston where freezing rain has been the grand finale to an incredibly cold week. The cold was so extreme and invaded Texas with such ferocity that power plants that are not equipped to handle those kind of temperatures tripped off line and the power grid was left with a massive electricity generation shortage on a day with heating demand. Over time, a more organized area of low pressure will form across the Carolinas and move quickly northeast toward New England later Saturday. The relatively cold airmass situated over the region now will become quite stale by late Saturday allowing temperatures to become quite comfortable by the afternoon after a cold start in spite of the advancing clouds. The snow will arrive overnight and temperatures in the low lying areas will be warm enough so that much of the snow is of the wetter variety. On the mountain though the snow will be powder and will begin during the evening and end very early Sunday morning or at least taper to flurries. Its not a huge dump but certainly one that looked more unlikely a few days ago and certainly enough (4-6 inches) for a powder day Sunday.

As discussed in some previous posts, we have lost the support of our teleconnection indices. For now however you wouldn't know it. The pattern over the next week will include storms and big intrusions of cold. This all occurs as the existing ridge-trough pattern has two big amplifications left in the gas tank. The first brings a significant area of low pressure with it which will strengthen across the Midwest and bring more snow to the mountain Monday night. Most of the runs up through now have suggested that there not a major injection of Atlantic moisture with this storm although the European which is just coming out as I write this is finally showing just as the storm is indicated to re-position off the coast. Either way, Tuesday sets up to be a big winner with either a moderate amount or a lot of powder. I'll take those options any day.

In the wake of Tuesday's snow comes the cold which will be with us for the duration of the week. Temperatures will range from zero to 10 below in the mornings and may only climb to near 10 during the afternoons. This second amplification later in the week may bring the coldest weather of the season so far by Friday and Saturday. The American model would have us believing that this second intrusion of cold will not be accompanied by snow but the Euro is doing it again by allowing for another albeit weaker blossoming of the southeast ridge and thus allowing a storm to ride up into the Tennessee Valley and eventually toward the southern New England. This would be a dreamy and very powdery scenario that would result in one of the more epic weeks of skiing in recent memory for MRG.

Yes its cold then for Friday into early Saturday but a potentially big moderation in temperatures begins for the weekend into the early part of the presidents day holiday. As the arctic air shifts west, temperatures may turn above normal for a period and we may be playing a bit of defense against the advancing warm air and some other things that i really would prefer not to mention. This is a long way off and there are plenty of reasons to be happy until then. Enjoy the powder over the next week there should be plenty of it!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

1-2 feet of snow and some strong winds Wednesday

Moderate to heavy snow should persist through the day Wednesday before tapering to lighter snows Wednesday evening. The very strong storm will have reached its peak intensity across Midwest but will remain formidable as it rather briskly proceeds to the New England coast. Its rapid movement means that snowfall accumulations will be in a slightly lower range verses what we had mentioned in the previous past. Nonetheless, we will have wind blown powder with periodic heavy snow Wednesday. Winds will become northerly and diminish somewhat Thursday as flurries continue. Temperatures will remain chilly through Friday then moderate significantly by Saturday afternoon. We are watching another system albeit a much weaker one for Saturday night into Sunday. This system has the potential to bring some snow by first tracks Sunday. More on this after a good nights rest. Enjoy the powder

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our turn !!! Mountain to get full impact of major winter storm this week

It has been long overdue but our time has finally come. A big surge of arctic air in the Plains will clash with very warm moist air from the gulf and the byproduct will be an intense winter storm. The effects will be very broad across the middle part of the country Tuesday into Wednesday as many cities such as Kansas City, St Louis and Chicago may see a historic snow. There was speculation amongst some that this would eventually turn into another major snow for the I95 corridor and considering the intensity of the storm some of this talk was perhaps justified. This particular system though will track across lower Ohio eventually hug the south coast of New England and move out over the Atlantic thus sparing the big cities any big snow.

This storm will resist attempts at reaching full maturation while over the Midwest and maintain a slightly positive tilt as moisture reaches northern Vermont and this is a very key element to our success. If the storm were to wrap itself up and occlude over the Midwest it suck mild air into the east coast and we would meet our doom rather quickly. A rather intense jet streak or confluence area across eastern Canada will prevent such an occurrence and the mountain will instead reep the benefits of the clash in moist conveyor belts. Snow will begin during the day Tuesday as overrunning precipitation extends well out in advance of the low pressure center. It will continue through the night Tuesday, through Wednesday while at times becoming quite intense and finally taper to flurries Thursday. So long as everything goes according to plan, accumulations of 20-30 inches on the mountain would be my expectation with big time powder days both Wednesday and Thursday.

Temperatures will remain on the chilly side through the week and particularly late Thursday into Friday in the wake of the storm. The weekend should see readings rebound back into the 20's during the afternoons. There have been hints that another storm may form near the Virginia tidewater and make a run up the east coast Sunday morning but there have been yet to be any indications that this will result in any big snow for MRG. An early guess on the first full week of February is that the week begins with temperatures on the milder side, we see some snow and then temperatures turn very cold as intense arctic chill in Canada sneaks into New England. Teleconnection indices have turned on us somewhat as mentioned in the last post so although we still expect to see some cold, conditions could turn very changeable and a thaw in the first two weeks of February is possible.

For now lets enjoy this one since we have waited a long time for one like this.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Most of weekend clipper system to go south, big storm possible next week

To be perfectly frank, I was a little down watching another foot of snow fall in New York city. Don't get me wrong, when I live in NYC, which i did for several years, I enjoyed a big snow more than anyone. I don't live there now though and I would much rather here about snow, thundersnow and three inch per hour snow somewhere in the vicinity of the single chair as opposed to the big metros. The snow in the big cities this year has caught many prognosticators by surprise. Conventional wisdom, as mentioned many times on the blog would have the general storm track in a La Nina year much farther north. Its also a little frustrating that most of the moisture with the incoming clipper will track south of the region while more or less fall apart. The mountain will get sporadic light snow or flurries and this will amount to 1-3 inches during the day Saturday. More flurries are likely Sunday but it won't amount to much.

A more "traditional" La Nina picture will emerge next week and I expect the mountain should do rather well powder-wise as a result. There was some strong evidence on the Euro Ensembles earlier this week of a southeast ridge manifestation and a storm to go along with it. This weather would gather healthy amounts of Gulf Moisture and travel up through the eastern Ohio Valley and eventually off the northeast coast. This would be a nice track for a general swath of 10-20 inch snows across the Green and White moutais in the Wednesday-Thursday time frame of next week after a very cold and dry start to the week Monday and Tuesday. The storm remains 5-6 days out and the trend this year has been for every storm to track farther south so lets not count our chickens. For now, it does look promising for a nice "powder" period late next week.

For the first time this year really, the collection of teleconnection indices which add to produce our "favorability index" will turn negative. The PNA had taken the lead in the recent weeks as a western ridge extending deep into the high latitudes helped to bring the recent surge of cold and keep the snow falling and the rain away (although recent days have been dry). The PNA is expected to go negative beginning next week as the above-mentioned western ridge shifts west off the Pacific Coast and both the AO and NAO are expected to remain positive. We have been overdue for this shift but the silver lining in all this news is that the ensembles have (all of them) continue to show a signal of below normal temps and a somewhat decisive signal I must admit. The coldest weather is shown to impact much of the eastern part of Canada (which has been amazingly warm so far this winter) and some of this cold is indicated to keep New England in the grips of some winter chill. If this shift in the weather pattern means nothing more than shifting the storm track slightly to the north than the bad news is actually good news. In reality though, the threat of ice or rain goes up in this type of set-up so we should be ready for almost anything.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Midweek storm likely to push off shore

Although the mountain will pick up snow from a decaying clipper Tuesday, the rare 2011 southern branch system which had showed some promise will bring its moisture into a cold but very stale arctic air mass. The storm will help to envelop relative Atlantic Ocean warmth to coastal areas and will fail to make the northward push necessary to yield any significant snow Thursday across the central and northern Green Mountains. An 11th hour northward tick in the track could result in a few inches but that would be the high side of an expected range.

The good news is that two more potent weather systems elevate the powder potential over the next week to ten days. The first is a fierce clipper system which will pave the way for the next surge of arctic cold across the Great Lakes and northeast late on Saturday and early on Sunday. A few inches of powder is certainly in the cards by Sunday morning as a result of that. The second would arrive during the early to middle part of next week and would hypothetically form along a tight north to south temperature gradient as mild and moist gulf air tries to force the arctic chill into a retreat. The second in particular is a long way off but worth tracking.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another big east coast storms brings familar question marks and uncertainty

A very frozen interior New England will see temperatures moderate to more reasonable levels by the middle of next week but all eyes will be focused on another major east coast system which intends to slowly gather strength across the southeast on Tuesday and move up the coast Wednesday. This storm brings all sorts of question marks with it no matter where you live. Until then though we can look forward to some lighter snows that we feel more certain about. A decaying clipper system will move swiftly through the Great Lakes and brings some limited moisture to the region Tuesday. This is a very typical occurrence for interior New England following a blast of extreme cold. Attempts at a quick warm-up typically provide the region with a natural overrunning surface and it will thus find a way to snow. I expect a few inches during the day Tuesday but I doubt enough we will have much at first tracks time, it will more than likely be powdered to be enjoyed in the afternoon or during the early morning on Wednesday.

Now to the questions regarding this potential massive east coast system. One of the key ingredients for any major east coast snow event is a cold air damming signature created as arctic air becomes entrenched along the east. We certainly have such a case Monday with extreme cold very much in place Monday. The system in question though is indicated to take its sweet time in its west to east movement Monday not helped certainly by the weakened southern branch of the jet (no El Nino this year). When it finally develops and proceeds up the east coast Wednesday, much of the arctic air will be very stale and many coastal areas could actually see rain. This is not a concern for interior locations of New England such as MRG. The big issue at this time is the recent trends seen in the model data that have this system moving farther off shore. A track close to the coast and hopefully through that critical window between Boston and the cape can mean a big result for us MRG powder hounds later Wednesday into Thursday. We will watch how this unfolds and hope. We deserve a big storm to play in and at some point one of these battles will go our way.

The month should finish and February should start with plenty on the dinner table. The driving force behind the pattern so far this has been the negative Arctic Oscillation and frequent dips in the NAO. The PNA has really not made much of a contribution until now. The Pacific North American oscillation index has surged into positive territory thanks to the development of a ridge across the west coast. This is the feature necessary for more outbreaks of extreme cold mixed in with more weather. It should result in much of the weather we expected this winter with blasts of extreme cold mixed in with weather, most of which should be good but a brief thaw can certainly interject itself into the picture. Overall I remain very upbeat about several powder days in the next two weeks

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blast of extreme cold to hit Vermont

If you intend to take advantage of the several inches of fresh powder this weekend bundle up. Vermont has escaped the cold weather through all of last winter and most of this winter but no more. New England will be front and center for the cold this weekend which will slowly settle into the region late on Friday and peak out Monday. Temperatures will be close to zero Saturday morning with 20 below wind chills and between Sunday morning and Tuesday morning readings are likely to remain below zero with wind chills 40 below. Readings Monday morning of -20 will be easily the coldest since 2009. The cold will relent next week and we will shift our focus to a major east coast system which will evolve out of the massive cold air damming signature. This system has many question marks but for Vermont it remains mostly a "snow or no" during the middle of next week. More on this tomorrow.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Several inches of snow Tuesday, only a brief period of rain Tuesday

Another couple rounds of model data have allowed us to fine tune the forecast and the fine tuning has a bit of good news. Snow should begin on schedule tomorrow but it appears some of the deeper moisture associated with the developing Atlantic system will move into north-central Vermont while temperatures are still supportive for snow. To make an attempt at exactitude, lets say about 10 AM for a start with snow falling at a moderate intensity by early afternoon. By early evening we should have at least 3-6 inches of snow on the ground while we try and fight off the surge of mid-level warmth that will have temperatures close to the freezing mark at about 7,000 feet.

This critical layer of warming looks thinner on the latest cycle runs and perhaps thin enough and weak enough so that we can avoid a deadly period of freezing rain. A mixture of snow and sleet, which is pretty much the best case scenario would still have the effect of locking down some of our deepened base without the problematic breakable crust. Its too close to call at this point so lets just say it can go either way.

Moving on to later in the week where the SCWB has teased about another significant snow producer. Indeed we are starting to establish a much better consensus on a storm which should track out of the southern Rockies Wednesday and proceed across the country during the day Friday. The storm appears to be a late bloomer, like many east coast storms. Precipitation will appear scattered and disorganized across the Great Lakes but intensify as the storm begins the deepen off the New Jersey coast. This particular system will get a big kick in the rear end by the incoming polar jet and will proceed very quickly out into the maritimes. Its track however, which we think right now is over Cape Cod, would have us getting several inches of the good stuff by Friday first tracks. The disclaimer here is the cold. It is finally our turn to get the full onslaught of winter's chill. We will get what some might call a "foreshock" Thursday with temperatures near 10 on the mountain but temperatures will plummet to near zero in the wake of any snow Friday and fall to between -10 and -20 each of the two weekend mornings.

A positive PNA will become the driver of a still favorable pattern beyond the 23rd of the month and likely to the end of the month. There is likely at least one more big snow producer in the mix during this time frame as temperatures try to moderate. I say "try" because we are likely to see another push of cold at some point during the last week of January but the ensembles at face value indicate that this weekend could be the coldest of the year for much of New England.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

La Nina finally showing its face after long absence

and with it comes a drastic sharpening of the north to south temperature gradient across the United States and a baraclinic area stretching from the Ohio Valley to the northeast early this week. With this comes a significant weather system that start as a disorganized storm in the Midwest early this week but with a big injection of moisture from the Atlantic will evolve into a major precipitation producer across much of New England. This is a very different type of storm than what we have seen this year and much more typical of a storm one might expect in a strong La Nina year such as this one. As mentioned a few days ago, the region will have to survive a tremendous push of mid-level warmth. Temperature cross sections reveal that it might be a tough go, for a time as precipitation is likely to start as a sleet or freezing rain mixture. As the storm over the Atlantic coast continues to push northeast, move over the cape and deepen, precipitation will become heavier and consequently we should see just enough cooling at these critical layers of the atmosphere to see freezing rain and sleet change to snow. It is so close right now it really could go either way, the level of warmth at these middle layers is a few thousand feet thick and temperatures in this layer will only be about 34 so just a slight shift in this progression and we could be all snow.

Precipitation should begin as snow in the midday hours Tuesday and this icy mix, if it does occur will take place in the evening or overnight hours and then we should see another additional period of snow Wednesday morning before everything tapers off. I am going to say about 6-10 inches of snow sleet and some freezing rain right now. My computer is about to run out of batteries so I will expand on the post later to discuss another possible storm later in the week and what still appears to be a favorable pattern lasting into next week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snow machine kicking into high gear as pattern finally bears fruit

New England bomb over-performed, we got unexpected terrain induced powder and we got a nice little clipper that should freshen things up for Sunday. This particular system in a figurative sense, will be a bit too frivolous dealing snow to the Great Lakes region and its moisture will be limited somewhat. The high country of New England can usually do a pretty good job of squeezing out any remaining juice out of almost any clipper and this is no exception. Snow should begin Saturday evening and a very fluffy 4-8 inches should await us Sunday at first tracks time. Temperatures will be chilly relative to what we have seen. Saturday is a little colder temperature wise, particularly in the morning but blustery conditions Sunday will make the back end of the weekend feel colder. Temps on MLK day morning will be the coldest of the season so far with readings close to -10 in the morning.

One of the more interesting systems of the year in terms of impact at MRG will soon take over the discussion for early next week. This storm looks a lot like like a classic La Nina event. Very cold weather will be in place across interior New England but the region will have to hold off a tremendous push of mild weather the middle layers of the troposphere to keep precipitation in the form of snow and it won't be easy. Still a healthy zone of overrunning is what the area needs for a big storm so the potential is there. Model data is disagreeing with the particulars with the American model showing a 6-10 inch snow event during the day Tuesday while the European suggests a change to sleet and freezing rain at some point. A little sleet could be of some use to us as it would "lock up" a base which is starting to build up nicely with all the recent snow.

Colder weather will follow later in the week where a more garden variety snow producing system could be in the cards Thursday or Friday. So if we can get through some of this early week adversity, the skiing could be really fantastic by later next week. Some of the coldest weather of the season might have to be endured as temperatures could struggle to get above 5 on the mountain by the time next weekend rolls around but speaking for myself I can suffer through it to float on a little fresh powder. The following week also looks encouraging. We will lose the NAO and the pattern will get driven more by a slightly positive PNA and slightly negative NAO. Overall this will keep temperatures below normal across New England but at the same time shift the storm track a little farther to the north so we should see at least 1 or 2 weather systems track in our direction. Overall we should see a dramatic tightening of the temperature gradient across the nation which is much more consistent with a La Nina winter and should mean a lot of interesting weather to talk about. Enjoy the powder but never stop thinking snow !!