And suddenly, its been a great start to the 2012-2013 ski season. Nothing like 20 inches to erase a few bad memories. As mentioned via twitter and I am sure in every other available forecast, more snow is on the way. This system is also organizing in the lower Mississippi Valley and will ultimately be centered near the Virginia tidewater before venturing off into the Atlantic, just south of the tip of Cape Cod. Such a trajectory typically either gives central and northern Vermont a glancing blow and sometimes nothing at all. With this system, there will be a decaying low pressure center north of the coastal low that should allow the frontogenetics (I literally just made that up), to be relatively favorable for a healthy period of snow. It should all start around the time of last tracks Saturday and should continue through the evening. My morning on Sunday, most of the heaviest snow will be over, but occasional terrain induced snow showers will continue throughout the day. If all things go according to plan, we could get an additional 6-plus inches with 4-6 of those inches before first tracks time Saturday.
After Sunday we have roughly a week to enjoy the fruits of our hard earned labor. During this period, we expect a polar vortex to take a run at New England. Not every day will be bitterly cold but some very cold air will make a charge at the region for at least a short period, probably very late next week. It will also be pretty chilly Sunday with temperatures in the teens while a biting wind thanks to our departing storm sends wind chill readings below zero. Monday afternoon temperatures will be a little more comfortable as winds subside. With the polar vortex approaching, it is unlikely that any major snow producers will venture this far north. Instead, weaker disturbances rotating through this PV will bring chances for lighter snows. The first such disturbance will arrive Monday night and may be good for an inch or two by Tuesday. The next will arrive either later Wednesday or Thursday and will mark the edge of the coldest weather the region has seen since February of 2011. Again any snow will be on the lighter side but temperatures will plummet later Thursday with readings perhaps getting well below zero by Friday and struggling to get above zero during the day. The chill should continue into part of next weekend before abating somewhat Sunday or Monday. I seem to remember that squeaky snow on my ski's when it gets really cold in Vermont but it's been so long since we have experienced some real chill I have almost forgotten that sound !
For those later arrivals to the blog, we have discussed how a ridge in the east-central Pacific ripped apart the first half of December in spite of some otherwise favorable high latitude blocking conditions. I have nicknamed this feature the "evil empire" since it successfully destroyed the winter of 2011-2012 and continues to be pervasive to a lesser degree this winter. I am very sorry to report that this feature will once again rear its very ugly head by next weekend and this spells trouble for the middle of January. We might be able to get through about January 7th or 8th before we start facing the consequences, but face them we must at least for a short time. The feature will temporarily force the trough into the western U.S. and will produce another succession of painfully strong Pacific systems. This will force the arctic cold into a temporary retreat and allow for a period of mild weather between the 8th and 15th of January. Ensembles are split on how all this evolves and I was encouraged that the European forced the Pacific ridge back toward Hawaii quickly and perhaps this would limit any damage.
Lets enjoy this stretch while we can though !