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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.

1 comment:

Tuck said...

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

LOL. Hopefully it will also be exciting times for skiers in the Mad River Valley.

Thanks for letting all of us share in the fruits of your work.