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Sunday, February 14, 2016

No escaping a period of rain Tuesday but an improved outlook follows that

Hope everyone out there is staying warm either on the slopes or off them. We are in one of those classic New England very changeable weather situations. A direct attack from a polar vortex leading to the coldest weather of the winter season early on Sunday and then above freezing temperatures along with a period of rain on Tuesday. Only in New England can weather run the gamut quite like that.

Tuesday's storm will have some snow as well. Most of this comes Monday night after a relatively calm and not as chilly of a holiday. Accumulations will be in the 3-4 inch range by first tracks time Tuesday but by that time, precipitation will become freezing rain. By early afternoon, temperatures across a good part of the mountain will rise above freezing thus allowing for a period of plain rain. Sorry, but there is no escaping it. There is very clear indications that there will be some rapid warming of the lowest 5000 feet of the atmosphere Tuesday followed by rapid cooling Tuesday night. A brief period of snow is possible very early Wednesday followed by additional snow showers during the day and into Wednesday. Some additional accumulations are possible during this period between early Wednesday and midday Thursday and after it's all over, we should have a rather consolidated base with a few inches of powder on top.

The bad news for Tuesday swallows somewhat easier when looking at the newest projections for Feb 20th to 22nd. The potential warmth doesn't have nearly as much potential and should get mostly thwarted. Latest medium range operational models are also indicating overrunning snows that could amount to some significance on Saturday as the warm air tries but mostly fails to work it's way back into interior New England. Temperatures could still creep above freezing for a day (perhaps Sunday) but this appears to be a less and less important part of the outlook for the rest of February.

The last week of February continues to look on the chilly side with opportunities for snow on at least two occasions. A big burst in the PNA index is the main culprit for this and the favorable pattern has a good change of stretching into early March as well.

14 comments:

David said...

"But an improved outlook follows that"... Ah, the now-familiar refrain. I'll believe when it actually happens.

This is no knock on you. I absolutely love your blog--it's brilliant and has helped me get through this disaster of a winter--but I've noticed the weather gods constantly tease us with hints of future reprieve, only to have potential storms either fall apart and leave us with nothing or turn to rain.

January sucked, but February will be better. Okay, February is turning out to be even worse, but March will be...oh, never mind. At this point, I think I'm just going to stop thinking about the weather altogether and just get whatever skiing in that I can.

Next year, baby, next year...

Elizabeth Palchak said...

I feel ya', David. How much of this is climate change confusing the models??

Jared Miller said...

It's been a frustrating winter. So it goes. This past week was great, but we had no existing base to build on. Regardless of the conditions, I enjoy everyday I get to spend on the mountain because it's more fun than pretty much anything. You do a great job with the blog Josh, and your work is greatly appreciated.

Charlie Hohn said...

This winter has a weird way of giving the model runs a lot of snowstorms in the longer range, but all fail to appear or else turn to rain or sleet by the time they get here. it reminds me very much of living in southern California during a past drought. Forecasts of storms abounded but rain failed to materialize. Wish I could send tomorrow's rain to them too.

Elizabeth Palchak said...

I love this blog. Thanks Josh!! And, I'm starting to get curious about the reliability of models in such an unreliable pattern of global change. Charlie - I'm a neophyte, but it sounds like what you describe could be a function of climate change not accounted for in the models. Could that be true? (This is not a knock on the models or modeling, this is curiosity.)

Benedict Gomez said...

Good grief.

Gregory Thomas said...

Are you noticing that people are ignoring your pathetic attempt at trolling?

Gregory Thomas said...

Are you noticing that people are ignoring your pathetic attempt at trolling?

Charlie Hohn said...

Gregory what are you talking about? Or did a troll post get deleted?
Elizabeth... We are definitely in uncharted territory. I'm not an expert but here's what I know. Some of the models run on analogy with past events and those are definitely going to get "confused" by climate change. Some don't and are simply fluid dynamics type models and are affected less but I'm sure still to some extent. In addition to whatever climate change is doing, there's a large and non traditional El NiƱo going on. There's also forecaster interpretation of models which can be hard in unprecedented events. Though none of these annoying rain storms this year are themselves really unprecedented the problem is they keep reoccurring. One possible consequence of global climate change that is somehow linked to arctic sea ice is the jet stream getting stuck in one place longer than it used to causing storms or drought or etc to repeat more than they used to. Or so it seems.

Jared Miller said...

I, admittedly, know less than many people regarding models, and long term forecasting. That said, don't we know that El Nino years tend to produce these types of events, and are often unpredictable? I get that it's frustrating, but this can't be completely unexpected either. I only say this, because the impression I get reading some of the other posts is that this is completely unprecedented. Is this year's weather indicative of a larger issue, or is this just a bad El Nino year for New England?

Jared Miller said...

What I am saying is we are coming off a frigid and snowy 2014-15 season. Does Josh, or any other poster that is knowledge on this topic, believe this year's weather is more related to global climate shift as opposed to the unpredictability of models and known weather patterns of an El Nino year? I realize there is no way to say for sure, but I would be curious to hear your thoughts.

Jared Miller said...

Great post Charlie. Thanks. I hadn't refreshed the screen before I posted so I just noticed it.

Joshua Fox said...

Bad luck and El Nino. Global warming/global climate change lays way in the background of factors. Don't want to minimize its impact but people typically go way overboard when attributing it to seasonal variability or to a singular event.

Elizabeth Palchak said...

Great convo, guys. Thanks. I study climate change broadly - but I am not a modeler or a climate scientist - I'm a social scientist. I haven't looked at the trends, but New England gets far less snow than it did, on average, 50 years ago. That is why small ski hills around here are going out of business left and right. So the long term trend is declining snow, rising temps and more rain. El Nino confounded things this year, exacerbating an already declining snowfall average. But, my understanding is that El Nino has been SO extreme b/c of climate change. I'm just curious how the models are assessing this and why they can't quite seem to keep up with it all. Charlie Hohn - great point about Arctic sea ice. I understand that it's a total shocker for scientists this winter and terrifies many of them. It's not a well-understood element yet. Yeah Josh - great work. And I agree that most people align day to day variability with climate change - which is not accurate. It's all about long term trends. And unfortunately, they don't look great for those of use who love to ski. Porter Fox wrote this awesome book: Deep - on this very phenomena. I skinned up MRG on Friday and made some beautiful powder turns with some girlfriends on Friday. So...I guess you never know.