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Saturday, February 28, 2015

A mostly wintry first 10 days of March but a massive warm-up is possible after that

We have brought to a close a totally historic month of weather for Vermont and New England in general. No doubt that the weather experienced by many this month will become legacy, passed along from one generation to the next in its mythic glory. Undoubtedly, the moral of any story will have one common thesis -  "You think this is winter ? This dusting ? This tropical breeze ? You weren't here for February 2015 !! I can just envision some tale like this being told at some dive 20 years from now or perhaps in the shadow of General Stark himself at the pub named after him. The final numbers are almost in for the month including almost 80 inches of snow, an actual temperature average of 5 degrees (13 below normal), and zero above-freezing days. This last achievement stands out in my mind since I consider it very un-Vermont-like and something that perhaps occurs only once a decade or so.

The month of March begins with more snow, which begins Sunday evening and continues through Monday. This is a clipper-like system but it will grab some of the leftover moisture from the big Rocky Mountain system and deposit a chunk of it on the New England. Total accumulations will fall in the 3-6 inch category. Dry, cold weather and sunshine return for Tuesday with temperatures remaining below freezing. Clouds will advance into the region late in the day in advance of the incoming next system. As mentioned in prior posts, this midweek system represents a major push of warm temperatures. And like we discussed in the last update, it doesn't look like much of this warmth will make it to central and northern Vermont. Nonetheless, we will see a plethora of precipitation types beginning in the form of snow late Tuesday night. The snow could accumulate several inches before precipitation changes to a period of sleet and ultimately freezing rain and drizzle. For a short time on Wednesday, I think temperatures will finally climb above freezing allowing for the possibility of just plain liquid rainfall. The opportunity for this will be very short however and the melt off will be extremely limited.

Cold weather grabs the steering wheel again Thursday and should continue to dominate through the first full weekend in March. There are two interesting looking clipper systems that could deliver powdery snowfall in the period beginning March 7th and ending March 11th. I bring this up because any powder we see in this period could be the last for at least a bit. There are now some glaring indications that much of the eastern United States will see a major warm-up as we move into the middle of March. It is possible this pattern is being a bit over-promised by recent runs of the longer range ensembles but it can't be completely ignored either. The pattern in the Pacific has been very loose and extremely favorable for us for nearly 6 weeks now but this is expected to completely reverse with the "evil empire" rearing its head by around March 10. We will, at the very least, see some major changes in the behavior of our weather  starting around the time of March 12th. After this, expect to see several days of "above-normal" temperatures, including readings as high as 50, or even 60. If we can get some sunshine to go along with this warmth, it will make for some great spring skiing on our deep base.

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