Weather and snow was front and center across the entire east coast media landscape this weekend. Watching Washington D.C. and Philadelphia get buried in a massive east coast storm reminded me of a few other big El Nino seasons. Both the 1982-83 and 1986-87 featured mild starts to the winter. 1986 also featured a massive storm in the arctic which was responsible for a big spike in temperatures near the north pole just like one that occurred this past December. 1983 featured the famous "Megalopitan" storm in February and 1987 featured an epic 10 days of winter in late January. The biggest of the storms in 1987 also occurred on January 22-23. Interestingly, much of the weather discussed in this paragraph also missed Vermont. The storm which was quickly labeled "historic" and "record breaking" actually fits somewhat into the pattern of big El Nino winters along the east coast. Generally mild weather over the course of 3 months but also a short and very epic stretch of winter weather which typically includes one memorable winter storm. Hopefully we can get ours as well.
"Ours" probably won't come this week. A brief spike in temperatures arrives Tuesday with readings eclipsing the freezing mark for the first time since the rain a few weeks ago. A benign shot of colder weather brings some light snow Wednesday but accumulations will be in the 1-3 inch range. There is yet another system in the invariably active southern branch of the jet which is going to try and organize itself off the Carolina coast late Thursday. As this is happening a weaker clipper system will approach and there have been hints that the two will try and get together and dance a little but even this scenario wouldn't promise great results for the mountain or the state as a whole.
Another surge of mild air makes a run at the mountain early next week. This is in response to the tightening jet in the Pacific we have been discussing. Storminess will consolidate somewhat in the west but a few pieces of energy will cross the country and prevent a full scale onslaught of warmth but it doesn't entirely reduce the risk of rain either. It honestly looks on multiple days that Snow/Rain/Ice line will be very close to central and northern Vermont and it will take a few days to sort out some of the details. That said, frozen precip and specifically snow is still a possibility for part of next week in spite of the generally milder outlook.
The outlook improves after about February 4th and 5th thanks to the Arctic Oscillation which will keep its negative state and a weak ridge which will develop across western North America. This should set the stage for another period of sub freezing temperatures and open up the opportunity to accumulate some snow.