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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.

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