Good news on most fronts today as we head toward the last few days of January. Not sure if we can escape all of the adversity in this upcoming week but perhaps it can be minimized. There was a tweet out there referencing the Mt Mansfield snow stake which graphically showed that the snow depth this year was about the worst ever recorded (in just over 60 years of data). It's actually a close race with a few years in the mid 50's and 1979-80. A mild February with minimal snow could certainly cement the winter as one of the worst ever for snow depth but it doesn't look like that will be the case. Over the past two days ensembles have been painting an ever more promising picture starting around February 4th and likely continuing for at least two weeks.
We enjoyed a bit of snow on Friday and advection induced precipitation late Saturday into Saturday night could bring upwards of an inch. Trouble starts after that with a somewhat innocuous above-freezing Sunday. Monday is even warmer as readings could surge to 40 along with some rain showers. I had offered a glimmer of hope regarding the potential rainy disaster this upcoming Wednesday and that hope remains. Monday's system will indeed usher in a layer of cold, dry air for Tuesday which we will so desperately need as a giant system winds itself up and heads for the Great Lakes. Current indications suggest that this will ultimately travel through the land gully in between Lake's Huron and Erie. It will then proceed northeastward either right over the St Lawrence Valley.
This is hardly ideal but I've seen worse. The layer of cold, dry air should allow for a period of icing at the very least and the period of plain old liquid rain appears reduced to a handful of hours. If the storm can just move 50-100 miles further south, not a lot of ask, we would turn this ice/rain event to more of a snow/ice base building event. Not a likely scenario as of yet but not eliminated from the possibility spectrum either.
Then February 4th comes and suddenly mother nature waves her magic wand and everything is just swell. A beautiful looking west coast ridge starts to take shape and extends vertically up the west coast and eventually adjoins with a weak area of blocking in the Arctic. Even the EPO forecasts have trended more negatively in the past two days and are now indicating a slightly loose Pacific Jet in about a week's time. What does it all mean ? Cold weather and lots of it. In addition, with the axis of the ridge setting up from the American west coast northward to the Yukon/Alaskan border, the east coast becomes a tinder box of activity for storms. El Nino should provide the fuel for it as well. There have been hints of storms embedded within this pattern all over the place and one way or another the mountain should benefit. The cold will settle into the region February 4th and the first snow is likely to come from a clipper system February 6th (A Saturday). I won't speculate on when the snow comes after that but I would be shocked if significant amounts of the good stuff doesn't fall between the 6th and 20th of the month. More on this in the coming days.