Even as we are fully immersed in this mild start to December, excitement continues to build about cold weather and snow for the middle to later part of the month. The hypecasting and scare headlines regarding the cold weather also seems to be going full tilt. An article in the Washington Post yesterday summarized some of this nonsense quite well yesterday. Nice job by the Capital Weather Gang and Jason Samenow !
Earth's temperature has not plunged at a record clip and nationwide record cold is not coming !
As for skiing in Vermont, we have certainly reason to be excited. A nice looking high latitude blocking structure is expected to emerge in the Bering Sea area and this will allow for cold weather to be on the playing field. Getting it in the right place at the right time will be the big challenge in a period which still should feature a few storms.
The specifics of the forecast picture continue to evolve, as they always do. After some terrain induced snowfall Friday, Friday night and Saturday which could amount to a few sloppy inches, Sunday will be tranquil and a bit on the mild side. The storm early next week has minimal cold air to work with but the system out of the Gulf is now expected to take much of its energy off the Atlantic coast by later Tuesday and this spares us the onslaught of mild air which was a risk a few days ago. On Monday, temperatures should remain mostly below the freezing mark and a blanket of clouds on Tuesday ensures that will continue. Precipitation will be minimal when it does arrive but it should be in the frozen form either in the form of snow or at worst a sleet and freezing rain mixture. In the end it won't be a particularly noteworthy event.
The pattern is expected to amplify in a big way across the eastern Rocky Mountains as the week progresses. This is in response to the aforementioned blocking that we expect to be a player as we advance toward the middle of the month. The nature of this amplification is important and models are diverging in their handling of events as it relates to this. The American model allows the cold to envelop the country at an extremely quick pace, flooding the eastern half of the nation with "below normal" though not extreme temperatures by later in the week. The European holds everything back and allows weather system to form in the Gulf and advance toward the eastern Great Lakes Thursday. The result would be a slower advance of cold weather and a possible rain event before in the Thursday/Friday time frame. I am not sure if the European has the specifics entirely right but I think the slower progression of cold is the correct idea later in the week.
Either way, I expect us to get blasted with "garden variety" cold by later Friday (that's my scare headline) and this will be accompanied by terrain enhanced snowfall through Saturday. The 10 days to follow should be very interesting to watch. Cold weather should be available for use but I don't expect it to dominate the entire eastern United States. Instead, we should see 1-2 significant weather systems impact New England and the ingredients will be available for a big snow. Given that there will be some mild air that could make a few northward pushes as well, interior New England could be one of the better places to be for snow along the east coast. It also means that ice and rain are not out of the possibility spectrum either.