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Thursday, December 29, 2016

4 days of snowfall to end 2016 and begin 2017

Our pre New Years storm is what we thought it would be and I am borrowing the inference from a retired and somewhat famous NFL football coach is is somewhat famous mostly for a similar quote. Snow began falling fairly early on Thursday and heaviest of powdery stuff is expected late in the ski day into the early evening. The shorter term, high resolution models teased us this way and that about crazier possibilities including accumulations of almost 20 inches. The storm, as expected, will consolidate its energy near the New Hampshire seacoast late this evening and intensify rapidly along the Maine coast very early Friday. As the the storm deepens, a narrow corridor of intense snowfall will form across the White Mountains of New Hampshire and this will move into western Maine. This is the area which will perform the best from this storm, but the intense area of snow will also rob much of Vermont of an epic storm. Accumulations will be in the 4-6 inch range by late this evening at MRG and then mostly light snow overnight will add an inch or two of accumulation by early Friday. Conditions will turn blustery by Friday and the fluffy snow will become denser by the commencement of the ski day with temperatures holding in the lower to middle 20's. Snow showers will continue however and add a few more additional inches of accumulation and producing a storm total of 7-11 inches by late in the day Friday. Yeah we missed the best snow by less than 100 miles but it will be a very narrow area of "best snow".

A much weaker clipper system will follow up our Thursday/Friday event on New Years Eve. Snow should begin very late in the ski day on Saturday and continue sporadically through the night. Much of central Vermont will see a light accumulation from all this and is not in the best location to maximize the amount of limited available moisture. Nonetheless, every little bit is helpful and 2-4 inches is not a bad way to start 2017.

As advertised in previous blog posts, we are not out of the woods as far as future intrusions of mild air are concerned. We will see an increase in high latitude blocking with both the AO and NAO turning at least slightly negative out beyond a week. We also see a large ridge in the northern Pacific Ocean which will stretch into the Bering Sea and be one of the more prominent jet stream features on the global weather map. We are slowly moving in the right direction with all of these things with "slowly" being the key work. The big jet ridge in the North Pacific is only a marginal development and will not help to eliminate the pesky negative PNA which has persisted for 2 weeks and will continue to persist well into January. That said, if one adds the more favorable two teleconnection indices into the mix, interior New England will be living on the edge so to speak but "the edge" is not a bad place to be sometimes in January.  We won't be overwhelmed with a polar vortex of cold and won't see a suppressed storm track. Storms are likely to take dead aim at New England on multiple occasions and I would expect the base to incur a net gain by the time the middle of the month rolls around.

In the shorter term however, we will have to contend with a rain/ice event around the time of January 3rd. This storm was discussed two days ago and it looks a little more icy and a little less rainy today if that's any consolation but certainly not any more snowy. Arctic air makes a return to the region January 4th and so will the snow showers but I would enjoy foot of powdery snow we are expecting over the next 4 days because it will get hardened given what is expected soon after.

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