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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Weekend looking uglier but there is a light at the end of this tunnel

Cold weather and snow has made national headlines and in most places has been the topic of water cooler talk in most U.S. cities east of the Mississippi. Incredibly, much of interior New England, particularly Vermont, is starving for snow. It is not an optical illusion either, the Green Mountain chain, in a relative sense, has performed downright awful compared to almost everywhere else. Most Midwest locations have seen 200-400 percent of their normal snowfall to date while Boston, Cape Cod and most of the rest of the I95 corridor have also seen nearly double their normal snowfall (prorated to the date). Especially frustrating is the fact that the region has seen its coldest November 1st  - January 7th period since 2000-2001 and the consistent snowfall has been glaringly absent.

The old saying "when it rains it pours" is especially applicable at low points during the ski season. The "evil empire" will be up to its old tricks. It will make a relatively brief appearance but even one appearance is one appearance too many as far as I am concerned. It will be all dressed up in its full regalia as well, flushing the arctic air out of Vermont and setting the stage for upwards of two rain events along with several mild days. Before all that nonsense begins, we still have a few more cold days to deal with and possibly some light snow or flurries Friday (although it does not appear that this will amount to much). By Saturday, Pacific air makes it's initial push and the system responsible for this "push" will have some moisture to work with. Precipitation should begin Saturday as some freezing rain or a cold rain before changing to all rain Saturday night.

By Sunday the pattern will have become entirely zonal and this could turn out to be the mildest day of the month at MRG with temperatures soaring well into the 40's. There has been some inconsistencies in the models handling of a potential second weather system late Sunday into Monday. It is pretty unlikely however that any precipitation would be snow no matter what happens. The American model allows the pattern to amplify a bit and suggests that a storm of some significance will move up the spine of the Appalachian Mountains and bring more significant rain to the region. There seems to be more consensus as of Tuesday night that this second system will be flatter, pass innocently to the north producing another very mild day Monday with rain showers.

After Monday the Pacific "evil empire" begins to flicker out and we should see a gradual return to colder weather. Ultimately, I think the weather will turn much colder by the 17th or 18th of the month as a nice looking positive PNA structure emerges in the jet stream configuration. If we are lucky, we could start seeing some new snow around the 15th of the month. Even pessimistically thinking, some new snow should be on the ground by the weekend of the 18th and 19th. Medium range models have occasionally placed a storm here or there in the week beginning on the 19th but those details will appear to be very fluid from day to day. Brace yourselves as we enter the tunnel, it's a dark one but at least I can already see the light at the end.


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