Think Snow, Tweet Snow !!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Game-time !!

Snow has rapidly overspread interior New England and it is now time for the rubber to meet the road. This initial batch of precipitation is a bit more potent verses some my own expectations from a few days ago. I have no issues with this since the stronger upward motion associated with this precipitation will help keep the marginal temperature profile in central and northern Vermont generally below freezing. We still could see some sleet mix with what should be a period of moderate to heavy snow between mid-morning and late afternoon. Temperatures at the base will hover near 30 which could make the snow a bit wetter but I suspect temperatures on the summit will be cold enough to support the powdery stuff we have come to enjoy. I would not at all be surprised to see 6-10 inches simply from this initial burst of snow and all of this will come before dark Wednesday.

The big concern I have with the forecast involves the track of what will ultimately be a disorganizing low pressure center. Initially the storm is a more well-defined elongated low pressure area stretching from the southern Great Lakes to the New England coast. While the storm is in this "well defined" phase, the mountain will get its heavy burst of snow Wednesday. On Wednesday night and Thursday, the low pressure center will try and consolidate over southern New England as advertised but will gradually attain a more disheveled appearance. Although the area of lowest central pressure will pass south of the mountain, it will track close enough to the mountain to potentially allow the conveyor of moisture to push north of MRG. Models are having a very difficult time pinpointing this all important conveyor of moisture. There are models suggesting we are in the sweet spot and there are other indicators saying that the best snow falls north and east of the region. Various NWS offices seem to be interpreting the data in different ways and the forecast seems to lack coordination from one territory to another. I understand this is a lot of "mumbo jumbo" and the passage of the occluded storm is still expected to allow snowfall to be favored over the mountains Wednesday night, Thursday into Friday. The location of these important moist conveyor will simply determine whether we are on the low end of the 15-30 range or the high one.  I can still maintain that both Thursday and Friday should be good days to ski. The Champlain Valley, the southern New England coastline, Rutland and Albany are all places that should not do particularly well from this storm. Accumulations will be more minimal and it is reflected in many of the forecasts that we all have access to. This event will be a significant one for the high country and even the base and summit of MRG could see contrasting conditions for a time.

Conditions will be drier for the weekend but flurries and snow showers will continue as this slow departing storm continues to have its progress slowed by blocking over the Hudson Strait. Valley locations will see more in the way of sunshine and should also see readings creep above freezing. There does appear to be indications of a storm early next week but this system is likely be guided well south of the region by a suppressed jet stream. A jet stream that should also ensure that early March is rain free and includes temperatures that support maintenance of our new and improved base.

Beyond March 5th, we continue to see good news. The overall weather pattern will be anchored by a trifecta of favorable teleconnection indicators. The result could mean a more widespread outbreak of cold for eastern North America and a major amplification of the jet stream that could include a big east coast snow event around March 8th or 9th. What a difference a year makes though. Last year at this time we saw clear indications of a major record breaking March melt down. This year we are seeing indications that wintry weather will persist through the mid part of the month. Enjoy the storm.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

3-day snowfall could make for an epic period late this week

Our eastern neighbors out-did us once again on the weekend snow. The limited snow we were able to pick up continues a nice stretch of winter on the mountain and one that appears destined to continue into March. The fun begins after two relatively calm, seasonable late February days Monday and Tuesday. I have just concluded my own Colorado ski extravaganza, one that included two epic days at Wolf Creek - an out-of-the-way hideout in the San Juan mountains that boasts 440 inches of snow annually. They don't lie either, they get an incredible amount of powder without the crowds or the high prices (the skiing there is twice as good as Breckenridge for half the price). Anyway I am now stuck in Denver thanks to 10 or so inches of wind blown powder that cancelled flights. This same storm will proceed east, strengthen, and produce some wet snow across the Midwest Tuesday. I am hoping for even bigger things in the New England high country thereafter.

Like a few of its predecessors, our midweek storm will mature and occlude prior its New England arrival. We will see a second coastal low try and develop late Tuesday and this will help spread the initial batch of precipitation into the Green Mountains early Wednesday. Temperatures will be marginal but the high elevations should see all snow, at least across northern Vermont which is another reason why a lot of us like to drive the hour north from Killington. Wednesday should thus feature snow with perhaps a little sleet mixed in and by the end of the day, a decent accumulation. The real beauty of this storm is its slow movement. The low pressure center will very gradually consolidate its energy not far from Boston, trapped by the blocking to the north. It will not be especially strong and will remain occluded which means it will have reached its peak intensity. An occluded storm produces weaker areas of precipitation but they are always focused over the high elevations and the light to moderate snow will persist well beyond Wednesday. Both Thursday and Friday should see accumulating snow and three day snow totals could be in the 15-30 inch range. Winds on the summits will be the worst Wednesday and be a bit gentler Thursday and Friday.

Beyond this weeks storm is some quieter weather. It should remains chilly enough to maintain the snow but the storm track will shift south. I am told this is good weather for the maple syrup folks being that the mornings will be chilly and the afternoons may creep above freezing thanks to sunshine. We could see some snow showers from wrap-around moisture stemming from any storm that gets wrapped up and stuck in the maritimes but that's about it unless we see some changes.

Friday, February 22, 2013

6-12 Saturday night into Sunday but are bigger things on the way for the end of the month ?

The coastal low which is expected take shape Saturday near the Virginia Tidewater will strengthen Saturday night and pass about 100 miles east of Cape Cod Sunday. This is good enough for snow which should begin late in the ski day Saturday and continue into Saturday night, good enough for a powder day Sunday but a bit short of an epic storm. Snow should continue lightly through a good part of Sunday and accumulations are likely to be in the 6-12 inch range. Following up on the midweek powder, this puts the mountain in very good shape, perhaps the best of the season.

We can move the situation from "very good" to "epic" quickly next week with a fortuitous bounce from the snow gods.  A situation that seems to be distinctive to the late season but one that could have east coast powder hounds salivating and one that could leave the western powder lovers quite jealous. We talked about it Wednesday - another big storm getting wrapped up and occluding in the Great Lakes. Gradually however, this storm will proceed to the Atlantic Coast and is indicated to re-strengthen, perhaps in a big way. It will all be about conveyors of moisture and where they set up because the storm is likely going to get trapped along the coast by the Hudson Strait block to the north and an amplifying jet stream to the west. It's a situation conducive for several days of snow and some big accumulation totals and I am not talking about 6-12 inches. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Good news comes in 3's

Good news regarding recent accumulation totals across northern Vermont and more good news regarding powder prospects this weekend and even more good news regarding the pattern going forward. Terrain induced snow showers and flurries continue through a good part of Thursday and if we are lucky, we can squeeze out a few fluffy inches over the high elevations. Friday is our dry day and one of the more comfortable days of the month with good visibility, calm winds and temperatures near 30 during the afternoon.

The storm in question will be one of the bigger snow producers over Kansas this year Wednesday and Thursday. As this particular low pressure center tracks east, it will actually weaken and as such, had us east coast powder hounds concerned of a fizzle. It is critical that as is initial storm decays, coastal redevelopment commences prior to the weekend and that is exactly what the last two to three cycle of model runs have suggested. Furthermore, the coastal low is indicated to track close enough to the New England so that the snow shield overspreads much of Vermont late Saturday into Saturday night. This remains a somewhat fluid situation especially since a small shift in the track or intensity of the coastal low could impact snow accumulations. For now I am conservatively hoping for another 6 inches prior to Sunday morning.

Much of next week will be at least slightly on the milder side of what we consider normal. The early part the week appears dry, the middle to end of the week could be "an all of the above". It looks like a monster of a storm could get pretty wrapped up across the middle of the country, occlude and spin its way toward the Atlantic Coast. As this is occurring, we should see an conveyor of warm temperature wrap itself into New England allowing for some non-frozen precipitation. As the storm proceeds to the coast however, we could see more in the way of snow. By the weekend and early March, colder temperatures and a colder overall pattern will settle over eastern North America. In spite of the potential for a bit of mid week rain, we could see additional powder late next week and even more in the first week of March.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

3-6 inches of snow Tuesday night and "hopefully" more during the upcoming weekend

At the jet stream level over the next week, the two big prevailing features on the weather map are a blocking ridge across the Hudson Strait and the broad ridge in the mid-latitude Pacific which we have appropriately named "the evil empire". We saw this general set up in the last half of December and active pattern was the result then and we are expecting an active pattern this go round. "The evil empire" which consists of a tightened Pacific Jet Stream can produce some powerful systems but also act to force a northward retreat of Arctic cold. Both of these byproducts will be on display over the next 10 days which should feature moderating temperatures but talk of precipitation, hopefully mostly in the form of snow.

One of the issues going back into December was the early maturation of some of these healthy looking Pacific storm systems. As a result, the mountain often got a weakened version of these once vigorous systems or dealt with problems relating to a lack of cold air. Still, the period stretching from mid-December through new years was the snowiest period of the year and we would take a similar result this time. The first storm system in what should be an extended series of storms will peak in the Great Lakes, occlude and then spin into the St Lawrence Valley. The occlusion will halt the warm push of air and allow the relatively brief period of precipitation Tuesday night into early Wednesday to be snow. This will not be a healthy system when it arrives and snowfall accumulations will be in the 3-6 inch range. It is enough to produce a bit of a powder day Wednesday ? Yes !

I still have high hopes for the 2nd system which will be a big snow producer in the 4 corners region but like its predecessor, will reach its maturation too early. Yes there is a dirty R-rated analogy that I could use here but this is a family friendly blog and I thus stick to the baseball or football analogies. The occlusion, which will again occur over the Midwest is essentially the end of the strengthening phase and as the storm pushes east, its area of moisture and precipitation will slowly decay. What can reverse this process is the development of a coastal low on Friday or Saturday of the upcoming week. This will produce an enhanced area of precipitation that would raise the potential for a healthy accumulation of snow for the upcoming weekend. I hope this occurs but to be perfectly candid, recent model guidance has not been particularly bullish on big snow from this storm, at least right now, although there is plenty of time for models to change their tune.

The active pattern will indeed produce at least a three-part series or trilogy of systems. The third strikes around the 26th or 27th of February. We will face the same challenges with this system including early maturation over the Midwest and potentially even a lack of cold air. The Hudson Strait blocking ridge is thus a critical part of the puzzle. Ideally, a feature like this prevents weather systems from invading the eastern provinces of Canada. We need to get another such assist; otherwise, we could be dealing with a precipitation producer other than snow. There are indications of potentially one more system prior to or during the first full weekend in March. At this point, the jet in the Pacific is expected to weaken which could allow for some colder temperatures to get into the mix.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Still hints of some snow Saturday but much better powder potential next week from two storms

The consensus for the upcoming weekend suggests that after a light accumulation of snow early Friday, there won't be much else through Sunday aside from flurries. This would obviously be a bit of a disappointment considering the period had enormous potential for us. Even at this late hour however, it would still not be impossible for a system to quickly get churned up Friday night into early Saturday and bring snow to New England. The mid morning release of the American model suggested such and the afternoon release of the Euro suggested some snow for eastern Mass and coastal/downeast Maine. If it looks looks like the proverbial powder pot is going to get stirred up on Saturday I will update via twitter. A fair assessment of the current data suggests a generally dry, blustery and chilly weekend with temperatures ranging from near zero into the mornings to near 20 in the afternoons.

Even if the holiday weekend is mostly powder free, the outlook for the upcoming 5 days following President's Day is worthy of much discussion. A much more active pattern will establish early in this time frame and should hopefully persist through at least the end of February. So far, there are two storms that have their sights set on the Green Mountains. I still expect both to be snow producers although the first is attempting to threaten VT with a warm push.

Storm number 1 will spin its way out of the Rockies Monday and become an overgrown adolescent, maturing to quickly and occluding over the eastern Great Lakes. The occlusion is important because it will slow the push of warmer temperatures into New England Tuesday. What I hope happens is that a coastal low forms when this system interacts with the Atlantic and allows snow to enhance over the high country of Vermont. There is data suggesting such and other data suggesting that the event doesn't amount to that much. The blocking over the Hudson Strait will I think prevent this system from being anything else other than a snow producer although there are models suggesting a turnover to sleet or freezing rain. In the end I think storm #1 is quick hit with a few inches at worst and 6-12 inches at best.

The second in this two storm series is a much stronger and capable system that should produce some epic powder in Colorado in the middle of next week. As it pushes into the southern Plains, it will gather moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and head northeast. This system is also likely to occlude a bit early meaning that its intensity will peak out before it reaches  New England. Nonetheless, this is a powerful storm and very capable of producing a foot or more powder before the last full weekend of the month. Snowfall from this system could persist for multiple days as instability could linger over interior New England allowing for additional terrain induced powder. The risk is that the storm confines its impact to areas well to the south.

Ideally, this move to an active pattern has the "trilogy" of storms including one more around the 26th or so of the month. There are hints of this in the ensembles but I don't want "the hobbit" style trilogy. I like many was very annoyed that this 1-book story was broken up to milk the cash cow. We would certainly welcome a Lord Of The Rings or an early Star Wars trilogy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Models downplaying big weekend snow but we at least get some and then more next week

It's crunch time in the ski season and it would be nice to follow up on last weekend's big winter storm with some additional snows. The decent looking southern branch system tracking toward the Delmarva Wednesday will actually bring some wet snow to some areas already buried by last weekends snow but interior New England will stay dry and be forced to wait for the big weekend jet amplification for any real action. The recent cycle of model runs has generally downplayed the big storm potential this weekend and is suggesting a briefer period of light snow and a light accumulation ahead of another surge of Arctic cold. The Canadian model released Tuesday afternoon still produced a "doozy" of a winter storm (borrowing the phrase from "Groundhog Day") for the weekend with a whole gammit of winter weather including some big snow for the high country. Although the Canadian solution seems less likely, it still illustrates the potential in such a setup. When a jet amplification of this magnitude occurs, the atmosphere becomes a powder keg along the Atlantic Coast and it is very easy to churn up something big. At the very least though, we should be able to produce a few inches Friday night into early Saturday. The weekend appears to be a chilly one with temperatures in the teens by day and below zero at least Sunday and Monday mornings.

Flurries and snow showers will accompany the colder weather over the weekend even if we don't get a big snow. The holiday Monday however appears to be on the dry side, dominated by a cold high pressure center. Temperatures will then moderate Tuesday into Wednesday but the focus will be on what appears to be a relatively organized weather system which will move out of the Rockies late this weekend and approach MRG by Tuesday. The playing field will consist of a decaying area of cold and a storm which may track up the St Lawrence Valley. This is a recipe for a warm push but there will be serious resistance and a healthy overrunning zone across New England. As a result, I am of the opinion, for now that this system will mostly be a snow producer in spite of some model guidance suggesting otherwise. The SCWB will keep a close eye on this since I know many plan on heading to the mountains during the upcoming holiday week. A second even more organized system should crush the eastern Rockies with snow during the middle of next week and then proceed to cross the country with some serious energy and moisture. By this point, there will be plenty of available cold air and the critical question will probably relate to whether snow from this storm will reach interior New England or whether we stay dry.

The pattern during the holiday week and persisting through the duration of the month should be an active one. It is as I mentioned a battle between a negative North Atlantic Oscillation and a tightened Pacific Jet. The ensembles are indicating that the dreaded mid-latitude Pacific Ocean upper ridge (the evil empire)  will not be a total party pooper and will position itself closer to Hawaii as opposed to the eastern Pacific. What I am hoping as an end result consists of limited cold and plenty of winter storms crossing the country.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Situation still looking better and better for MRG and Co

What once looked like another potentially ugly thaw will actually be a net positive for the Mad River Glen base. This and an increasingly positive outlook for the next 10 days should make for a lot of happy faces amongst us powder hounds. An occluded Midwest snow producer brings its precipitation to the northeast Monday morning. Although this storm produced some decent snow totals in the Dakotas and Minnesota, precipitation across interior New England will consist of a mix of sleet and freezing rain. By the end of the day, the wintry mix will be all but over and temperatures in many spots will fail to eclipse the freezing mark. There is a pool of instability and some limited moisture behind this system and it will allow for terrain induced snow showers through much of the day Tuesday. Temperatures will generally stay in the 20's but we could actually see 4-8 inches from the snow showers at least on the mountain while partly sunny skies prevail in valley locations.

We continue to see indications of a midweek east coast system in the models but this storm should move out over the open waters of the Atlantic before it evolves into a big snow producer for anybody. Across interior New England, Pacific air will allow temperatures to remain in the moderate category and with the help of any sunshine, particularly in the valleys, readings will climb above freezing by a few degrees during the day. On the mountain, temperatures should stay mostly below freezing although the stronger February sun angle is certainly capable of softening the snow near the base.

The upcoming weekend deserves most of the attention right now since all indications are now pointing to a major jet stream amplification. Models are disagreeing only in the results of such an amplification. Is a major storm a product of this amplification or do we simply see another surge of colder weather. What I continue to like is that both the European and Canadian Ensembles show clear signals of a late phasing of two systems near the New England coastline. Subsequently the system is indicated to get caught underneath the blocking over the Davis Strait and thus continuing to produce snow for the interior New England high country. There is a big contrast between the kind of storm we saw this past weekend and what potentially could occur for the upcoming weekend. A later phasing system such as this doesn't produce big snows for the I95 corridor except perhaps in Maine. This type of system is typically better for the interior mountains but all of this will obviously depend on a normal array of uncertainties.

A couple of days of colder weather are likely to follow any storm this weekend but temperatures should again moderate somewhat. The pattern will continue to be anchored by the negative NAO and the "evil empire" across the Pacific though this empire will set up closer to Hawaii and thus be less adverse for us. As mentioned in the last update, we did see this type of set up in late December and the results were quite good. The American model has produced a major storm on several of the recent runs around the 20th and 21st. The model typically performs quite poor in this time frame but I wouldn't at all be surprised to see more new snow late that week.

Friday, February 8, 2013

But could there be more where that came from ?

Much of northern Vermont got a nice dose of powder from the big noreaster. Perhaps not the thundersnow that was prevalent in Rhode Island and southeast Mass but I have been pleasantly surprised at accumulation totals from a storm that actually tracked off shore. Things are looking up, way up for skiers across New England. The "thaw" that appeared threatening a few days ago has been appears severely mitigated and temperatures will thus inch above freezing for a few hours Monday if at all. We could get some snow, mixed precipitation or a brief period of rain but we will not have a melt down. The front associated with Monday's precipitation producer may not bring the return of any arctic air but it will bring in a pool of instability and a day or two of terrain induced snow showers. The American model has been also hinting at a more significant snow in the middle of the upcoming week but I am of the opinion that the pattern will steer this sucker off shore.

The title of the update actually refers to next weekend where ensembles from several different sources are keying in on another potentially big storm. Much could change in a week but there are indications that inland areas of New England could be the focal point this go round. Although the pattern may not be anchored by the most ideal set of fundamentals. The "evil empire" is expected to drift west toward Hawaii and the negative NAO is expected to strengthen. If I can remember correctly this is much the same configuration that we saw when the late December storm hit and ensembles caught that one early as well. I will have a more complete update late this weekend. For now, enjoy a great weekend of wintry weather and take a ride on the single for me  !

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Classic coastal New England "bomb" is the talk of the region

Across New England both north and south, the storm has now been engrained into our subconsious either via every media outlet imaginable or simply through general conversation even with the non-powder hounds. If you haven't heard about the storm by now, your life is probably like Tom Hanks in Castaway spending most of your days talking to a volleyball. Yes sir, the hype machine is running full blast, especially in the Boston media market where folks take pride in big snows and often try and compete with my memory regarding historic snows from years gone by. Certainly southern New England has a lot to talk about with this upcoming classic coastal New England "Bombogenesis" and feeding the frenzy has been some short term the high resolution models spitting out over exaggerated snow totals of historic proportions.

Us VT and MRG powder hounds simply want a good snow and would be willing to travel to enjoy it. For big city locations like Boston and NYC, the talk regarding the "worst" of the storm (the "best" of the storm from my perspective) has centered around the timing of Friday night into Saturday. This is a bit different from the timing discussed in the last update but for us the timing for snow is slightly different. The storm will initially consist of two distinct areas of low pressure, the first is a formidable system in the Midwest and the other being the developing coastal low in the Carolinas. Moisture from the initial Midwest storm will actually reach Vermont first and reach Vermont rather quickly. Snow should begin within a few hours of Midnight Friday and fall at a light to moderate rate through the early morning allowing a few inches to fall by first tracks time Friday. By midday Friday the coastal low will begin to consolidate the storms energy off the coast and subsequently proceed its explosive deepening, perhaps to sub-985 mb before moving out over the open Atlantic. The eventual track of this coastal low is critical for our snow totals. The general consensus from the latest round of models shows the storm tracking east of Cape Cod by less than 100 miles. Such a track places the heaviest snow in the Berkshires to Southern Vermont to the underrated Monadnock region of New Hampshire. As the storm consolidates, it may refocus some of the heaviest snow south of MRG for a time but because the storm is so strong, we should see a good piece of the action with light to moderate to occasionally heavy snow throughout Friday. I would keep accumulation totals in the 10-20 range right now while snow totals could top 2 feet in the aforementioned areas to our south and east. If the storm track shifts even 50 miles northwest, it would place MRG in the grasp of the 2-foot plus snow totals.

Snow should continue at varying intensities into the overnight hours Friday helping us reach the projected 10-20 inch range. Aside from flurries Saturday morning, most of the day will be precipitation free and simply a little blustery. Temperatures will be in the teens Saturday but will rebound well into the 20's Sunday after a very cold Saturday night. We have been very concerned about the effects of the "evil empire" and temperatures could certainly challenge the freezing mark Monday of next week. The threat of a major thaw early next week has dropped considerably however as it now appears the Jet Stream will be quickly suppressed after Monday. Yes, we could see some mixed precipitation and a short duration of above freezing temperatures but nothing that will melt a large amount of snow in a short time. The balance of the week also features an improved forecast. Although temperatures could still be in the above category, they should remain generally below freezing. Furthermore, models have sporadically hinted at a storm in the middle to later part of next week from the newly activated southern branch of the jet. I remain a little skeptical of this but am nonetheless delighted to see the colder scenario win out. I also don't think the southern branch is done with its magic even if the action next week doesn't pan out.

Heading toward the Presidents day holiday, the weather picture is also starting to attain at least a hazy look and a somewhat familiar one. There are, unfortunately, indications of a a mid-latitude Pacific ridge. There is action underneath this ridge however indicating potentially vibrant southern branch of the jet stream as mentioned. The ridge in the mid-latitude Pacific will compete with some strong ridging, perhaps even a block, across the Davis Straits and Greenland. The ridging may even extend to the North Pole thus tilting the AO in the negative direction. The results of this configuration should favor the activity in the western United States but the signal from the ensemble indicates a more broad array of action extending even to the central and northeast United States. If the blocking in Greenland can establish itself, it could make for an interesting week.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thursday night/Friday snow could be our biggest in over a month

Via twitter, I had indicated that the European Model had upgraded the Thursday/Friday weather system to a big hit. For the last 36 hours, this model had been the "lone sailor" lacking any support from other model packages. As of very late Monday evening, as this update is written, the American and Canadian models are finally lending some support for such a scenario. We have yet to see total agreement but we are inching toward one and inching toward a good one.

Our batting average with the clipper systems over the past 5 days is not particularly good for our standards. The last of these clipper systems will approach Tuesday night into Wednesday and in familiar fashion, will have its limited energy and moisture sucked out into the Atlantic Ocean. Flurries and snow showers from the very weak and decaying area of low pressure will persist for a good part of the day Wednesday. A very fluffy few inches is about the best we can do with this system and thus I chose the open the blog update by focusing on the bigger storm later in the week.

The playing field toward the end of this week will consist of a retreating polar jet, but the last of the Arctic cold is formidable and will be slow to retreat into Canada. The more relaxed jet stream will help allow the southern branch of the jet stream to involve itself in the action and according to our beloved European Model, ultimately phase with a weaker weather system coming out of the northern Rockies. There is still nothing historic of note, but a healthy phasing on the Atlantic Coast has not been a frequent occurrence through the winter so far and would be quite welcomed in this instance. Clouds from this system would advance into the region Thursday and snow would begin during the overnight hours and continue through a part of Friday. If our European is correct, we are capable of getting over a foot from this system setting us up for a winning weekend. As mentioned, the support for this scenario has been slow to arrive and we are just now seeing some evidence from the American and Canadian Models for such a storm. In addition, it remains possible that the southern branch component of this storm could move to far offshore early Friday and we would again be stuck with light snow and a lower accumulation from the decaying Rocky Mountain system. The "consistency" that the European model has exhibited regarding the handling of this system is at the least, very encouraging.

I don't have any changed views looking farther into the future. We should still expect at least a brief thaw early next week and some mixed precipitation if not rain to accompany it. The European and American ensemble packages are still in sharp disagreement regarding the intensity and duration of the thaw and then what happens in the wake of this warm stretch. The American ensemble package moves quickly to re-establish a positive PNA regime while the European shows a pattern dominated by Pacific air. It would be nice if we could do a little chinese buffet regarding the models choosing the European for the late week storm but shifting to the American next week. It doesn't quite work that way however and one of the two simulations is likely handling the upcoming weather pattern considerably better than the other as a whole. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Not getting clippered enough !

The summits have been whitened once again thanks to snow showers over the last few days but the January batting slump continues into early February in spite of much colder weather and a generally supportive pattern. For the time being, activity in the pattern is coming from clipper systems originating in Canada with little moisture. These types of systems have been known to do favors for MRG in the past but we are not getting enough now. Sunday's system will consolidate its energy off the coast robbing interior sections of New England of the limited available moisture and confining any snowfall Sunday to flurries with little or no accumulation

More flurries can be expected Monday but again we are not expecting any significant snow. Two additional clipper systems will track through the Great Lakes but the Jet Stream is likely to guide both to the south and east thus making it difficult for any moisture to work its way in our direction. The first such system is weak and much of its moisture will be rung out over the Appalachian Mountains. The second has a chance of strengthening along the Atlantic Coast but barring a major change, snow from this system will be on the minimal side, amounting to the 1-4 inches either Wednesday or Wednesday night. It will remain very chilly in this time frame with temperatures Monday and Tuesday only in the teens during the day and 0 to 10 below at night.

We had mentioned the return of the "evil empire" or more technically speaking the return of a mid-latitude upper ridge in the eastern Pacific and a tightening of the jet stream above this ridge. The consequences of this will ultimately be another period of adverse weather but the cold weather appears ready for a bit of a fight as opposed to an easy retreat. This sets the stage for what I hope will be a bit of excitement late this week as a more organized hybrid clipper-pacific impulse tracks quickly across the country. This storm will have a bit more moisture a bit more energy and a weakened but not decayed area of cold as ingredients. Most importantly, the track of this system, assuming no major changes over the next 4 days or so will have the spine of the Green Mountains getting snow Thursday night into Friday. This is not by any means going to be an epic snow but 5-10 inches of powder is possible, just in time for the weekend.

Two major ensemble packages have diverged in recent days on handling the pattern toward the middle of the all important month of February. Both however seem to agree that a push of warm weather will scour most of the latest round of cold out by either late next weekend or by the 11th of the month. At this time, some sort of weather system coming from the newly awakened southern branch of the jet stream will approach the region. This system will have lots of moisture, lots of energy and could be quite strong as it takes aim at New England but will have little if any cold air. As a result, precipitation could be a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain or could just be plain rain. A potent and well organized southern branch storm can break down a mild weather pattern on its own and create its own legacy. This happened in the Christmas storm of 2002 and as much as I would like to provide as much kindling as possible for that possibility it is not a good bet right now. The American ensemble package has the pattern reverting to a positive PNA regime by the 13th and thus has colder weather back in the picture quite quickly. The European ensemble has been holding out and is flooding the nation and even New England with Pacific air for much of that week.