Here we go !! Big holiday weekend only days away and the high drama begins in VT. And yes, the snow event for Thursday night is still on the calendar. This is not an aesthetically appealing system on the weather map. It is the first in a series of events resulting from split flow in the jet stream. In the end however, it will never become a very organized storm and the light snow Thursday night into early Friday morning will total between 2 and 5 inches. Temperatures at the base of the mountain will also be close to freezing giving the snow a wetter consistency. Higher elevations should see some decent powder.
If Thursday night's storm is "beer in a shot glass" then the storm Sunday can be described as the "full keg". Its all about the split flow in the jet performing its normal tasks. Energy rotating through the southern branch of the jet early in the weekend will begin sucking moisture out of the Gulf Saturday. By early Sunday, a major winter storm will be moving northeast out of the southern states and toward the east coast. 3 Successive runs of the American GFS model complete the proverbial "bomb" with this storm, rapidly deepening the system as it tracks close to Long Island and over Cape Cod. Heavy snow, high winds, the whole gamut would be the result for later Sunday and Sunday night. Hypothetical snowfall totals ? well I think one can get the drift, no pun intended.
The reality, even without the repeated frustrations that have been so prevalent this winter, is this. The consensus of model guidance still takes this amazing looking weather system too far out to sea. The Canadian model is not so subtle by suggesting, "what storm?". The European shows a nice looking storm moving from the Gulf Coast to the Virginia Tidewater area, but the storm never takes a critical northward turn up the coast and rides innocently out into the Atlantic bringing rain and snow to areas much farther south. Even some of the American GFS ensemble members seem to suggest some internal strife in model-land. Interestingly, I have been told the GFS has recently had a "physics" upgrade which we all hope will improve the performance of a model that has performed quite bad this winter. It will have an early chance to prove its worth this weekend.
It is really just a timing question at this point. A clipper system is rotating through the Great Lakes just as this massive Gulf storm is strengthening. The American model is moving the southern energy along more efficiently allowing the upper air support from the clipper to inject its energy from behind, the we would prefer it. By moving the southern stream energy slower, the European shows the clipper system moving atop the Gulf storm, thus making it more difficult for the storm to make the northward turn. This is certainly a potentially big event and worth watching but the chances for big snow are still less than 50 percent right now. What was that line Jim Carrey unleashed in Dumb and Dumber ? "So your saying there's a chance".
Beyond Sunday La Nina will try and show its dark side again. One and perhaps two pushes of mild weather could impact the region between the middle of next week and the weekend of the 25th and 26th. It is still possible much of the mild air is confined to the Mid Atlantic and southeastern states so we will just wait and see.
So we found out today that there are organizations out making a concerted effort to poison the global warming debate with propaganda. The goal ? Plant the seeds of doubt and hope the garden grows. It worked, it seems half the country's political establishment feels the issue isn't even credible. The science is crap they say, look at what happened with climate-gate, the data was manipulated. Funny because if it doesn't come form a misguided politician, it comes from shadowy places and dark alleyways. Never does it actually come from a credible scientific group who are actually willing to go on the record with serious contradictory evidence. Well now, one of those dark alleyways got illuminated.
There is nothing wrong with being a skeptic and be cynical of the aggressive assertions made by the climate science community. I know plenty of people in my own circle who wear that with pride. To brush the issue aside as non-credible is just plain silly. Certain political leaders should be wasting less time trying to undermine climate scientists and more time assessing the actual risks involved with climate change and devising policies to deal with it accordingly. It isn't just about whether or not you like Al Gore, the stakes are much higher.