Think Snow, Tweet Snow !!!

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