Even surprise coastal storms find a way to miss the 2016 snow hole that is Vermont. Granted I have been guilty of painting the picture with an optimistic brush sometimes but I can't deny the ugly winter scene that currently exists as of early February. Another missed storm brings snow totals to near normal for the season in places like Philadelphia and NYC while most places in Vermont aren't even at 25 percent of normal. It's colder finally and some snow is in the forecast over the next week and the outlook appears a bit better during the holiday week. All that said, I share the collective impatience and frustration that skiers and riders have felt this year. It has been a horrendous year so far and a once very promising looking storm early next week appears to be falling apart in a disorganized, disheveled mess.
Even a once somewhat promising looking clipper will seemingly bounce off the proverbial Vermont snow shield. We could see a little snow Saturday night but accumulations will be on the order of an inch or two if that. The Tuesday/Wednesday system looks like this. There is a formidable southern branch system that will move off the Atlantic Coast Sunday while a dynamic polar branch storm begins moving toward the Great Lakes. These two systems are simply one day out of step with one another. The moist southern streamer will move too far offshore to have a significant impact on the northeast. What the storm will do is to carve out a nice jet trough which will help to suck the dynamic polar energy into its wake. Much of the moisture will thus be kept out of New England even from this potent clipper that seemed to have every inclination of bombing. Most of the moisture might miss but not all. A period of snowfall Monday night is possible as a nice deformation area becomes established over New England in between the two systems. Though much of Tuesday and Tuesday night could turn out to be frustratingly snow-free, instability should put the terrain enhanced snow machine into action for a time with accumulating snow beginning Wednesday and persisting through Thursday. This weather system is simply not going to be the messiah of winter storms that we so desperately need. Over the 4 days between Monday and Thursday, the mountain should see 5-10 inches but I was certainly hopeful for considerably more.
There does appear to be some sort of weather system, perhaps a clipper/pacific hybrid type system that will mark the advance of another surge of very cold weather. This airmass appears to be one of the strongest of the season so far as intensity of the chill is concerned. It's somewhat difficult as of now to determine how much snow might fall before this cold arrives over the holiday weekend but there is some potential for a few more needed inches late Friday or early Saturday.
Some of the ensemble runs a few days were painting a very dreary picture later in February by re-tightening the jet stream in the Pacific. Just in the last 24 hours however the long range ensemble data have dramatically backed off some of those milder scenarios for eastern North America. This change has a lot to do with the evolving MJO projections which are now forecast to be substantially more favorable in two weeks verses the projections earlier this week. Since we maintain the support of the arctic oscillation I am substantially more confident that we remain cold through the holiday week. Normally I would anticipate plenty of snow to go along with this pattern except for this hideous snow shield which has spat on us all season. It is very much time for that to stop.