With that thought, one has to start with that memorable quote from the end of the movie "Trading Places" starring Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy. Looking good Billy Ray !!! Feeling Good Louis !!! This dialogue taking place on the beach after they exacted revenge on Mortimer and Randolph Duke while striking it rich trading frozen concentrated Orange Juice futures. I want this for us at MRG but I want our dialogue to be in the powder obviously. The European and Canadian ensembles could have us indulging in a bit of that fantasy. This would all happen after the 15th and after some rain and very warm temperatures.
The gory details of the coming weekend are not worth spending too much time on. The first area of precipitation arrives in the form of rain and in some areas freezing rain Friday evening. Most of this will be over with by Saturday, a day that should be dominated by low clouds, fog and drizzle with temperatures hovering at or just above the freezing mark. Temperatures and dewpoints could then push into the 40's Sunday with a few periods of rain. Models are hinting that some low level colder air could linger into Sunday thanks to winds that might not be as strong as initially assumed. I am hoping for such an outcome since it's all about damage control Sunday and Monday. The lower the dewpoints, the lower the winds, the lower the loss of snow.
Arctic air will move back into Quebec Monday and eventually force its way underneath the large east coast upper air ridge. This sets up that big temperature gradient I was discussing a few days ago. Temperatures in coastal Carolina and Virginia could push into the 70's while arctic air returns readings back to near 30 in northern Vermont. Waves of low pressure along this intense airmass boundary will move northeast but models have had a difficult time determining which of these waves, if any of them, will be of any consequence. Based on the last round of data our next shot of precipitation would be Tuesday and it's much more likely that it will fall in the form of snow or sleet. This would give the cold air another victory in Vermont in what looked to be a tough fight. We could use new snow or sleet next week since the mountain will have hardened quite a bit from the weekend rain and freezing rain.
So the talk this weekend is that of a thaw and the talk next weekend will be cold. A very big about face in less than 7 days. The combination of a building blocking ridge over Greenland and the evil empire (which will actually drift too far east for its own good) will allow another Polar Vortex to make a run at southeast Canada. Some very cold temperatures is the likely result with some snow preceding it Thursday/Friday of the light variety. Readings for the second time this month should plunge into the -10 territory during the overnights and struggle into the single numbers by day although there is still time for a few variations in this forecast.
The back half of January forecast hinges on two points. The first being that the negative NAO (caused by the blocking ridge in Greenland) begins driving the train. The second is the westward migration of the "evil empire" as it did during the back half of December ultimately leading us to some post-Christmas glory. The European and Canadian ensembles show strong indications of such an evolution. The American long range ensembles show a much more potent Pacific driven pattern however with much less of an influence from the blocking. The American model and ensembles have been erratic to say the least as of late and at times have performed poorly so I am inclined to favor the two other over the one. The other very important question relates to what kind of activity will we see in such a pattern. Can we move into a semi or fully split flow regime that resulted in the succession of storms in late December ? or will it stay dry. I think the former is possible since the polar jet will relax somewhat after the 22nd of the month while some energy will be allowed to undercut some of the mid and high latitude ridging in the Pacific. Its not a clear cut situation yet but I hope we can get a bit more clarity in the coming days.