Happy MLK Day everyone ! Unfortunately we can't enjoy celebrate the holiday on the slopes of Mad River this year, but perhaps it is a good year to reflect a little bit more on the man we celebrate this holiday for, the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His legacy has been discussed, written about and certainly taught but what has always been most striking to me among his many attributes was MLK's incredible savvy. We all know about his ideals but one can certainly learn so much about the way MLK used activism not simply to garner attention for himself but to actually produce results in the form of progress and change that has served to positively impact the lives of so many and provide an enduring inspiration even almost 50 years after his death. The film "Selma" released in 2014, starring David Oyelowo as MLK pays great tribute to this by revisiting the time leading up to the famed voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. More recently the HBO film "All The Way" starring Anthony Mackie as Dr. King and Bryan Cranston (Walter White of Breaking Bad fame) as LBJ was a fantastic revisiting of the struggle to see the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through a very divided congress. I highly recommend both, especially when it gets mild again and we are in dire need of a distraction from the less than ideal skiing situation.
That situation is about to get a surprised jolt late Tuesday into Wednesday. I am not sure if an event like this can get the mountain up and running again but it is an astonishing turn of events given the prevailing weather pattern. I mean in the nick of time a confluence area in the jet stream will help to energize a Canadian high pressure center and allow a fresh supply of cold air to work its way into New England. This happens just as a area of moisture associated with a garden-variety low pressure center approaches the eastern Great Lakes. Models had this storm pegged to move well into Quebec but the downstream features in the jet stream discussed above will force this storm to take an abrupt right turn and track closer to New York City. As more data comes in, this storm looks better and better for the spine of the Green Mountains, thanks largely to just enough cold air and the nice looking moist flow of moisture from the Atlantic Ocean we will receive. Snow will begin just around or after dark on Tuesday (Jan 17) and continue at an occasionally moderate clip through the night and into early Wednesday before tapering to flurries. With temperatures now looking to be in the 22-27 degree range on the mountain, the consistency of this snow will NOT be wet and generally be powdery. We also shouldn't see any freezing rain and perhaps only a little sleet at the start. Total accumulations will be in the 5-9 inch category of generally denser powder. What the folks on the mountain decide to do with this is up to them but I am sure they are welcoming it with open arms.
There is much, much, much, much, better news that we will finish this blog entry with. I promise ! Unfortunately, we are still contending with the abomination that is this current weather pattern. Some of the worst of the thawing will actually be felt across the Midwest this week but temperatures will remain above normal in the wake of our Tuesday night/Wednesday snow event approaching or exceeding the freezing mark on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the current week. The possibility of some sleet and freezing rain is possible on Saturday as a wave of moisture slides through the region from west to east. The real worry though is the system early next week which looks to be a real doozy of a storm and will wrap itself up across the Middle Mississippi valley on Sunday the 22nd and in doing so pump some very mild air into New England. This all happening before precipitation arrives early next week. Based on the information available now, the best we can hope for out of this giant storm system is a rain changing to snow situation but it is likely that temperatures rise into the 40's again at some point accompanied by a substantial period of rain.
On to the good news ! The EPO and PNA, two teleconnection indices that are dogging us now will flip by the end of next week. The weather pattern will turn dramatically as a result and we should see much colder weather by the end of the month and some new snow to go along with that. The move toward colder weather will be very gradual next week with temperatures moving below the freezing mark (after a likely thaw) during the middle of the week and getting to within 5 degrees of normal by the end of the week. This is a big improvement though especially considering the fact that there have been a few hints of potential snow just prior to or during the weekend of the 28th and 29th. After that, I would expect temperatures to turn below normal as a ridge in the jet stream builds across western Canada and Alaska, just where we need it.