The upcoming week had trouble written all over it going back two weeks. The forecast has in fact improved in recent days and we still could save the weekend of the 28th and 29th if we are lucky. First we are going to have to endure some freezing rain/drizzle Monday morning which will ultimately give way to rain and 40-degree temperatures Monday evening and Monday night. Following that the mountain will see a few dry and unseasonably warm days with temperatures in the 30's by day and 20's during the overnight. It is a very unexciting short term outlook but recall that I had expected worse with temperatures reaching 50 for one day and 40's for three.
By later Thursday it will again get interesting or perhaps it won't. The furious jet energy battering the Pacific Northwest will have won the U.S. over for the most part with mild weather spanning the area east of the front-range. On Wednesday, a storm will begin to gathering strength along the Texas coast and move northeast. It is likely to bring precipitation to MRG by late Thursday or early Friday. A few days ago I would have told you decisively that this would be a rain event and it still could be due to a lack of available cold. Split flow in the jet stream however provides a bit more drama to this storyline and some northern branch jet energy will try and undercut the large eastern Canadian ridge just as the more organized storm system approaches from the southwest. Both the American, European and Canadian models have had different things to say about this at different times. The recent run of the American model which is being released as I write this suggests the southern plains low pressure area late this week will get left back until the next system picks it up over the weekend turning it into a potential snow producer Saturday night into Sunday.
Given the period in question is less than a week away, the models are unusually disoriented and the specifics of the forecast picture will remain clouded for another day or two. With better certainty though I can say temperatures appear more winter-like for the weekend and that at a minimum, terrain induced snow showers should add at least a light accumulation of snow to the mountain.
Beyond the weekend moves us toward February and crunch time at MRG. Indications are inconclusive for the weekend and are even more inconclusive next week and beyond. Teleconnection indices appear move favorable overall with support coming from a slightly negative AO and NAO. The PNA is also expected to relax allowing the Pacific Northwest a break from the onslaught of storminess. The two dominant players on our side of the hemisphere will be a ridge setting up between the Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska and a downstream trough setting up between the Rockies and the Plains. The problem here is that the aforementioned sentence offers way too broad of a range of possibilities by the first of February. In short, we can derive optimism from both the GFS and European ensembles as we move into February but the GFS shows a more abrupt and quicker weakening of the Pacific Jet allowing these positive changes to occur more quickly. The European Ensembles suggest another push of mild weather toward the end of Jan or early in Feb before it gets better by the first full weekend of Feb.
Joe Paterno you are still loved by students and alumni that watched you coach. It is very sad to you go out the way you did. No one is life is perfect and everyone and anyone can be guilty of lapses in judgement but your positive impact on the people around you far out-weighed the negative.