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Monday, January 9, 2017

Big changes for Vermont weather and not many of them good for skiers

Very limited amounts of good news once again and this accompanies a New York Giants playoff lost. Though winter has a firm grip on Vermont and much of the rest of eastern North America, the weather pattern fundamentals going forward look pretty atrocious and the cold will get scoured out of most locations of New England by Wednesday. If there is a small bit of good news, it relates to the upcoming late Tuesday/early Wednesday weather system, yet another in a litany of storms that will track well into Canada. This of course follows the system that slammed eastern Mass with snow yet was a big and a miss for Vermont. Though the track of this upcoming system is less than ideal, it is running into some vary cold air and much of the overrunning moisture will fall in the form of snow beginning late in the ski day Tuesday. The snow will continue sporadically overnight into early Wednesday with temperatures inching closer to the freezing mark. Early on Wednesday, temperatures might inch above the freezing mark and some light rain is possible at lower elevations while a wetter snow persists across the high country. Can't promise a powder day Wednesday but it does look better than 48 hours ago with 2-4 inches of snow falling mostly late on Tuesday. 

I have made mention and many have heard of the epic snows across the Sierra Nevada over the past week. They are a feast or famine location as far as U.S. sking is concerned and went through a series of bad snow years before that was busted last year by the Super Nino. This past week has been beyond epic as far as snow goes and it isn't done yet and is likely to continue for a good part of the rest of the month. Take a look at this forecast from the National Weather Service in Reno. 

Not sure if I have ever seen so many warnings issued for one county. An "avalanche warning", "winter storm warning", and multiple "flash flood warnings". Though some areas saw some rain on Sunday, another 2-plus feet of snow is forecast over the next 48 hours with more to follow beyond that. The weather systems impacting California are not doing Vermont any favors. The energy from the early week California system will push toward the eastern Great Lakes, and like its predecessor, advance into Quebec. There is some cold weather advancing into the U.S. behind this storm but we have little protection in front. It could thus turn into a warm couple days late this week. Temperatures could climb to as high as 50 across valley locations Friday and some rain is likely at all elevations either on Thursday or early Friday. Forecasts right now are for minimal amounts of rain but temperatures and a gusty mild breezes could do some substantial damage to our snowpack. 

Arctic air is expected to reassert some control over the northeast for the holiday weekend with Saturday looking dry and relatively seasonable. Subtropical energy will try and organize itself later in the weekend and advance northeast. It is possible that frozen precipitation could be the end result of this on Sunday or more likely on Monday but models are not providing agreement on the idea of precipitation as of yet or the idea that the precipitation will fall as snow and not sleet or freezing rain. 

There is much better agreement regarding a major northward retreat of the polar jet. This takes place around MLK day and arctic air is expected to have a very limited influence over New England in the days that follow. For a period of at least a week, all forms of blocking at high latitudes vanish and the combination of a tightened jet in the Pacific and a continued negative PNA will continue to pound the west coast with all kinds of weather. The possibility for another thaw across Vermont is also considerably high. As we get closer to January 20th, the pattern looks increasingly stormy though not particularly cold. The right set of circumstances could provide some excitement because of the storminess but the cards are stacked against us given the upcoming set up. We need some fundamental changes and we might not get them until very late in the month or even in early February. 


Colin Gilbert said...

it might be time for us all to consider a different hobby.

Elizabeth Palchak said...

climate change back-up plan: ice climbing

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