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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ice and more yuck through Monday but sustained cold weather takes the wheel after that

The front is oscillating up and down through Vermont Saturday. Unfortunately, the warmth pushed just far enough, north and I mean just far enough north, to allow the warm inversion to mix down to the surface and push temperatures close to 50. This boundary between warm and cold was literally positioned across I89, extending west southwest across the southern Adirondacks. Burlington's temperatures remained in the high 20's Saturday and temperatures remain in the high teens near the Canadian border. Oh well, chalk that up to some first class misfortune.

As of late in the day Saturday, the colder air is making a push south behind the first wave of low pressure and ahead of the stronger storm advancing toward us from the Ohio Valley. Temperatures will again be near the freezing mark Sunday morning while rain or freezing rain is falling. Looking at the temperature cross-sections, it looks like some sections of the mountain might see significant icing while other areas might remain a touch above freezing, it is literally that close and temperatures will for much of the day be within a degree of the freezing mark on either side. Saturday's temps will be the warmest we will see in some time but we will see another period on Monday where temperatures hover around 40 for a time before falling back below freezing by the evening.

The mountain will be back in the firm grasp of arctic chill Tuesday morning with readings near 10 for much of the day. Without much in the way of new snow to speak of through Christmas day, it will leave things a bit crusty, a good time to test the sharpened edges on the groomers. We had talked about our next chance for snow coming the day after Christmas as temperatures moderate in advance our next reenforcing shot of cold. The European model continues to drive the snowiest train on this particular system since it allows a relatively strong clipper system to gather limited amounts of Atlantic even some Gulf moisture and deposit a much needed 4-8 inches of snow to the VT high country. The Canadian and American model packages seem less intent on doing much of anything with this clipper, and the result would be more along the lines of a dusting to 2 inches of snow.

It once again gets chilly late Thursday into Friday which sets the stage for a rinse and repeat situation with questions regarding another clipper and another reenforcing shot of cold around the time of the 29th. The Arctic Oscillation is going to take this critical turn toward negative country around the new year or just before it. Specific results are a bit hard to make sense of this early, but generally speaking, we should the polar jet overwhelm a good part of the United States and lots of very cold weather through the first 7-10 days of 2014. When the polar jet is too overwhelming, in can prevent organized storm systems from having a big influence on interior New England but at the same time, sustained cold can never hurt and clipper systems can gradually fluff the mountain back into shape.

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