Think Snow, Tweet Snow !!!

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 !!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Eastern Mass slammed with another 1-2 feet while MRG settles for 5-10

A once very disorganized storm system with one center near the Atlantic Coast and another crossing the Mississippi Valley will converge and subsequently explode off the New Jersey coast. The bombing has forecasters scrambling to catch up since this storm system only a few days ago looked as though it may take a very innocent track into the Atlantic Ocean. Now it appears the storm responsible for the ice and snow over Georgia and the Carolina's will deepen by at least while swallowing its counterpart to the west. An area of light to moderate snow which will impact the Mid Atlantic Tuesday night will become heavy snow over southern New England Wednesday. Light to moderate snow will also make its way into Vermont and reach General Stark around daybreak accumulating perhaps an inch or so by first tracks time. The snow will continue through much of the day before tapering to flurries in the evening. The snow will be of the cold, low density and fluffy variety allowing for the 5-10 inches although a slight shift in the storm track north or south could cause snow totals to be over or under that range.

It may be frustrating to watch the folks in Massachusetts steal our epic snow, but we do have at least two systems over the next week that have a great chance of bearing fruit after Wednesday. After a mostly dry Thursday and Friday, a clipper system will approach from the Great Lakes and spread snow into interior New England late Saturday or early Sunday. The snow from this system might not amount to much but the weakening system will lay the groundwork for a baraclinic or overrunning area to establish itself across the region. This is a very typical looking set up in a La Nina year but glaringly absent this year. If we can get things to go according to plan there will be a zone within this overrunning area that receives periods of light to moderate snow over a several day period. In this case the Sunday to Tuesday time frame could be such a period and a very good one for skiing hopefully.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Much snowier forecast for Tuesday night into Wendesday

Perhaps the SCWB should downplay every storm in hopes of increasing the chances for snow at MRG because it hasn't been the first time a storm was almost entirely written off only to deliver the goods. It certainly justifies a discussion on every passing storm, even the misses, because in spite of the advances in numerical weather prediction, mother nature never stops throwing curve balls. The two-pronged system mentioned in the last post will wreck some serious havoc as it passes into the southern plains. One piece will move into the southeast and cause icing problems across Georgia and the Carolinas Monday, while the other causes moderate to heavy snow across a broad area of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. The storms disorganized look has certainly kept the skeptics and cynics in business. This surface low in the southeast was expected to move innocently out over the Atlantic leaving the second piece of energy to get torn to pieces by what appeared to be the prevailing influence of the polar jet. Perhaps its influence will not be so prevailing however as the plains low pressure area is now indicated to hold its own and ultimately catch the Atlantic Coast low. It will be a faced paced evolution leaving little time for the storm to become anything historic, but the system will nonetheless strengthen south of Long Island and an area of snow should be allowed to progress north and cover most of the state of Vermont Tuesday night into Wednesday. For now lets keep expectations in the 5-10 inch category, but a stronger storm with a track farther to the north is capable of delivering even more.

On the back of this aforementioned good news is a promising forecast for the weekend. The pattern will be undergoing some changes and the initial results appear to be quite good. Floods in California and cold weather across the southeast have many weather guru's wondering about the influence of the La Nina this year. Indeed it has actually weakened somewhat, barely maintaining its "moderate" stature. This being said, the pattern by next weekend will begin to take on a more classic La Nina look, consisting of cold weather across central and western Canada, drier weather in California and a sharper north to south temperature gradient across eastern third of the country. This should mean weather in our neighborhood and this should include two fast moving systems, the first of which should deliver some snow Saturday the 15th with another possible snow event early next week. Some very intense arctic air will also be on the playing field although its impact should mostly be felt across Canada states immediately bordering Canada across the Great Lakes and Northeast.

The bad news is relegated to the distant future where ensembles show a trend toward milder temperatures beginning around the 20th of the month. The actual weather that verifies in this time frame remains to be seen but a negative PNA and a nearly neutral AO will certainly chip away at our favorability index.

Friday, January 7, 2011

8-16 inches this weekend but a drier forecast for next weekend

No big storm this weekend but a pool of relatively (or conditionally) unstable air combined with a deep pool of moist air should serve us well for the weekend. The region will get impacted by a collection of very disorganized disturbances but the above mentioned dynamics are supportive for snow and even the benign weather feature should be able to ring several inches of snow out of the atmosphere, at least over the high country. We should see some light snow Friday night and then some occasionally moderate snow throughout the day Saturday. 1-3 inches by first tracks time Saturday but the upwards of 6 during the day Saturday and additional snows Saturday night. Snow should continue into Saturday night and continue as some occasional albeit lighter snow showers Sunday.

The weather picture for next week consists of a very strong high pressure center containing relatively cold arctic air although not record breaking. At the surface it will be the prevailing feature next week with a very broad influence over the United States. It will thus be cold in a lot of places, especially Texas which should see much below normal temperatures for a good chunk of the week. As mentioned in the previous post, there is a storm in the southern Rockies that seems intent on moving east in two disorganized pieces. Its failure to phase into a single stronger storm and the broad and dominant influence being exerted by the high pressure center to the north is likely going to prevent this potentially potent weather system from developing into anything of too much interest to us. The weather as a result will likely be pretty dry next week with the exception of flurries Monday and Tuesday. Temperatures across much of the country will be below normal but New England temps will be close to normal.

The main driver of the pattern beyond a week's time will be a giant block across over Alaska that the various ensembles are handling differently over time. If you believe the GFS ensembles, its more of the status quo with the pattern anchored by two sightly repositioned high latitude blocks and another blast of cold across the United States. The European ensembles allow the block to become so strong that the cold is bottled up across western Canada and has less of an impact on the contiguous United States. The European looks like a classic La Nina like pattern with cold and snow confined to the north while temperatures moderate significantly across the south. I am inclined to believe the latter which although would allow the "favorability index" to be a bit lower than I have indicated here, should allow some weather to track in our direction. We shall see what comes to pass.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cold pattern to bring continuous chances for new snow

The 2nd of two clipper systems this week will cause a big amplification in the jet stream and some excitement for big storm potential. The threat caused a big stir Monday as models took a decisive trend toward another New England bomb Friday and Saturday. Since that time, the consensus of data indicates that the chances for a major storm have diminished but the chances for fresh powder remain. Two jet impulses will be on the weather map this Friday and Saturday. The first will dive southeast out of the eastern Great Lakes and cause an area of snow to enhance across much of New York state, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and southern New England as it interacts with the warmer Atlantic Ocean waters. The second impulse takes a similar route and we had hoped this would prove to be a necessary injection of energy to allow this system to explode as many do across New England. This second impulse will help amplify the trough further but is unlikely to phase with the initial system. The amplication will allow the initial system to get hung up across the Gulf of Maine and ultimately allow its moisture to envelop the high country of both Vermont and New Hampshire by Saturday. Snow should fall at varying rates Friday night through Sunday and could eventually amount to a foot of fresh powder by late Sunday.

Another system we are watching in the early to middle part of next week will track out of the southern Rockies, tap significant amounts of moisture out of the Gulf of Mexico and head northeast from there. The longwave trough axis is actually in a favorable position for this system to actually become a major snow producer for both the eastern Great Lakes and interior New England but models have remained very skiddish on this event and the European has consistently stated its a no go. This will be a period, like many in January, where the polar jet rises to significant prominance across the United States. Such occurances in the past have depressed the storm track and at times even inhibited storm development. Time will tell if this happens in this case but I think this is what the European is hinting at.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fresh powder within reach as new blocking pattern emerges

The return to colder weather is not bringing any immediate relief as conditions remain relatively stable. A weak clipper system will approach the region late on Tuesday and bring our first chance for powder. This disturbance might have had more of a chance to be a bigger powder producer but as it passes the region Tuesday night, its energy will get sucked into a storm offshore. Nonetheless, a period of light snow is likely and 3-6 inches between Tuesday night and Wednesday is certainly very welcome. The clipper will also re-enforce the return to colder temperatures as readings will likely fall into the single numbers Wednesday night.

The news gets even better late in the week. It is another clipper system but a far more potent one which may ultimately gather some Atlantic Moisture and turn into a big snow event for parts of Maine. This storm is far from a "lock" at this point but it has 6-12 inch potential Friday as it moves out of the eastern Great Lakes and approaches the Atlantic Coast. This storm, like its predecessor will also allow a re-enforcing shot of cold air to invade for the weekend but the pool of instability in the wake of this system appears a little better and some terrain induced powder could remain on the menu through Saturday. We still have some time for this set-up to fall apart but the ingredients appear right for the 8th and 9th to be a fresh powder weekend. We still have a ways to go to get bases up to ideal levels but it would be a start.

As discussed in the previous few posts, the pattern is evolving into much of what we saw in December. A big eastern Canadian block, and a giant ridge in the Bering sea. The two features will again allow cold weather to prevail across a large percentage of the the eastern United States. The persistence of the "blocking" is quite astounding in a strong La Nina year such as this and although its outcome might not be powdery perfection, we can and have done far far worse. This morning there were some indications that the Bering Sea ridge will take the drivers seat by January 10th and shift the focus of the cold in to the Plains and eastern Rockies. If the pattern were to get overly amplified in such a set-up it could set the stage for another brief thaw between the 12th and 15th of the month. If the pattern stays a little flatter we could get a big weather system out of the whole deal and some additional snow leading into the MLK weekend. Overall I am encouraged and am optimistic about the next two weeks in spite of any concerns.