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Monday, March 17, 2014

Coldest March in recent memory set for a big finish

And we have had some big March's in the 80's, 90's and not soon to be forgotten 2001. As far as cold is concerned however, March of 2014 is poised to take the throne. We can say this since it looks like Polar Vortex VII is ready send Vermont back in the deep freeze next week in spite of late March, the surpassing of the equinox and the official arrival of spring. It wild be called "record breaking" cold yet again but more accurately can be described as 100-year cold, but will nonetheless be very impressive no matter what you want to call it. After last week's big snow and the several additional events that are both likely and possible, the mountain is likely to have the snowiest month of the season and perhaps in several years if we are lucky.

I had hoped our first chance for snow late this Wednesday into early Thursday would be another 6-plus. It still could be, but the storm approaching from the midwest is likely to occlude and not get much of a needed boost from any coastal redevelopment. We are thus likely to see a swath of precipitation move through Wednesday night with temperatures close to 30 degrees on much of the mountain. Precipitation will stay all snow but will be briefer in nature and is not expected to be particularly intense. Snowfall should range in the 3-6 inch category by first tracks time Thursday. Enough for another powder, especially where its coldest (mid-mountain and up).

Thursday and Friday will be a rare period this month where temperatures could sneak above the freezing mark during the afternoon, especially in the lower part of the mountain. By Saturday, clouds and snow will move back into the region from what looks to be another, and more significant storm system.  This storm is expected to intensify as it begins to interact with the coast and snowfall is more likely to range in the 6-12 range between midday Saturday and early Sunday. Temperatures will return to the teens and 20's after the snow making it the 2nd powdery Sunday in a row

One of the more prevalent features this winter has been the development and repeated redevelopment of a ridge across Alaska. The weather has been mild this winter across the 49th state as a result but the more significant consequence for us has been the repeated Polar Vortex events, many of which have been especially intense compared to anything we have seen this past decade and beyond. Much of the midwest has been ground zero for the most intense cold this winter but the epicenter has shifted toward New England somewhat this month and the week beginning March 23rd promises to solidify the month as a historic one for cold across all of interior New England. Incredibly, we expect another several days next week of sub zero temperatures in the morning and  at least 2 days where temperatures fail to break 20, maybe even 15 with the help of clouds or snow. This is 25 below average and a 180 degree turn from 2012  which was as much as 30 above average on the warmest days. There are indications of a big coastal storm in the Tuesday/Wednesday time frame just prior to the arrival of what appears to be the grand finale of late March cold for late in the week (there are signs of some milder weather by the 30th or so). The potential next week snow remains 8-9 days away, enough time for expectations to evolve.

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