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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Snow is falling but we would like and need some more

Our little "downeast digger" helped us get a few inches closer but we could still use one big storm to get the mountain completely skiable. The weekend will provide such an opportunity and Vermont sits in a relatively ideal location for some potentially big snowfall amounts. In short, there is some good news with this evolving weekend storm but ways we could still get screwed out of the snowfall we so desperately need.

Following a chilly day Wednesday, temperatures will moderate Thursday and Friday and reach to within a few degrees of 30 during the afternoons. Still appears to be some very light snowfall on the menu for Thursday with a very fluffy 1-2 inches possible.

El Nino is providing us with a highly energized pattern and much of the east coast will see the effects of this over the weekend. The cold air that is enveloping the region as of the middle of the current week will turn rather stale as two significant pieces of shortwave energy rotate around an amplifying jet stream. We had some questions as of the last update regarding which of these two storms would dominate the news. The later 2nd storm had the biggest potential due to its proximity to the overall jet amplification but we had discussed the possibility of this system getting yanked out too far over the ocean. As it turns out, it will be the first storm that will be the big precipitation producer.

This is good news as most of New England will be in the line of proverbial fire. Cold air will be in limited supply but the track of this first storm on Saturday will be favorable enough so that precipitation, when it falls, will fall as snow. Models have established some consensus regarding this "favorable" track suggesting that it passes just to the east of Cape Cod. It is a relatively strong system endowed with plenty of Gulf and Atlantic Ocean moisture but will be moving quickly and is expected to remain well out of phase with the larger scale amplifying jet stream. As a result, it might prove to be a bit of a challenge for that deeper moisture to work its way back to Vermont. We should at least get some of this moisture however which will lead to a modest accumulation of snow in the range of 3-7 inches. If the storm can deepen as it moves north a bit more than currently forecast, totals on Saturday and Saturday night would go up.

The 2nd storm will indeed move well off the coast but the pool of instability associated deepening jet trough is notable and conditions will not entirely dry out in the wake of any Saturday snowfall. Both Sunday and Monday appear to be good ones for some terrain and local lake enhanced snowfall capable of bringing additional inches of fluff to the mountain. Between Saturday and Monday I would be shocked if we didn't get at least 6 inches of new snow and think it's probably we end up receiving upwards of a foot. Temperatures in the teens and single numbers Monday and Tuesday will also help to keep that wintry feeling in the air.

The cold weather should gradually retreat and temperatures again should resume their slightly above average tendencies though there is no real indication of a thaw. The end of the month just appears to be dominated by a very typical super El Nino-like pattern. Not a lot of arctic air to play with, some above normal temperatures but no outright thaw, and several storms. We should see another chance at one around the time of January 22-23, and then again 5-7 days after that. Both storms will probably have limited amounts of cold to work with but lots of moisture and thus lots of potential for what I think will be snow. Lets hope.


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