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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Clipper brings its snow further south this weekend but we are cold and hopefully snowy next week

It's imperative that I pay my respects to what was the most dynamically perfect winter storm of my lifetime on its 20-year anniversary. The March 13th, 1993 superstorm was meteorologically beautiful because it phased a moist and active southern branch of the jet stream with an amplifying and cold polar   jet, and did so historically. In the 20 years since, I have yet to see a winter storm with that kind of "yin and yang". Vermont and Mad River Glen in particular got a healthy dose of the March 13, 1993 superstorm, receiving over 2 feet of dense powder. More importantly,  the "93 Superstorm" was embedded in one of the great periods of weather for interior New England. Basically, the stretch beginning in February of 1993 and persisting through all of the winter of 1993 -1994 featured consistent cold and a ton of snow. On a weekly basis, the state was talking about big winter storms and 1-2 foot snowfalls. It was a great time to be a skier and not such a good time to be stuck in high school like me.

 March 13, 1993

Mad River Glen has not been in one of those epic stretches through the last two seasons. This season tops last and has not deviated from some of the pre-season expectations. That being said, MRG has not been in the most favored locations for big snow but has been the center of the numerous thaws that have interrupted what could have been a decent season. The weekend clipper appears to be another such example. I spoke cautiously about it two days ago simply because our luck with these systems has hardly been optimal. Indeed, the consensus of data has shifted the track of this system south and confines snowfall to southern New England. If the expectations hold, any snow this weekend will be very light and accumulations will be minimal. In spite of this, the weather looks quite cold, unusually cold in fact, through the weekend. A very strong late season arctic air mass is poised to invade New England late Saturday and this follows some garden variety chill which will prevail from Thursday through Saturday. Temperatures over the next 8-10 days will struggle to make it above freezing if at all which by mid to late March is actually quite an accomplishment. Some minimal snowfall can be expected through Thursday, perhaps an inch or two Saturday but that is about it.

On to next week when I continue to hold out hope for a 2013 version of the superstorm. Realistically, a 1993 style phase is going to be pretty tough in next week's set up. Still, we have a healthy looking storm and some very cold air to work with and thus the chances for substantial amounts of new snow are pretty good. Models are currently moving energy out of the Rockies in two waves and are indicating a classic east coast cold air damming signature. If this occurs, the mountain has a chance to get snow from both waves but would get more from the second system Tuesday. It is possible that the models are wrong in their "two wave" theory and the storms energy is more consolidated and this would change the equation somewhat. In either case, the Tuesday system, like many of the others this season might go through an early maturation process and though we have fared decently from these types of system, the results are a big short of historic.

The "cold" part of the forecast looks much more certain and it results from what will be a very favorable blocking scheme. The "block" has been and will be centered over the Hudson and Davis Straits (a favorite location this year) and this favors the best snow and the most anomalous cold toward the center of the country southward to the Gulf Coast. Next week however should consist of a healthy battle of spring-time warmth and some big time winter chill. It will certainly be cold across New England but we want the snow to go with it. We have another chance for a storm around the 24 of the month and we might soon be able to extend the forecast of "relative chill" through the end of March.

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