Winter has made its long awaited return to the Mad River Valley and what a welcome site it was. We are now in the midst of a succession of days that should include some snowfall. Squalls on Friday evening gave the mountain some additional snow that should make for an excellent Saturday skiing. Saturday should feature more flurries and the possibility for a heavier snow shower but it actually looks like the most likely time for additional accumulation comes Sunday morning when a disturbance in the jet stream should trigger a period of enhanced snow showers and snow squalls. The additional 1-3 inches Sunday following the few inches Friday night and the nearly 5 inches Thursday bring the new snow totals to almost a foot.
Temperatures through the weekend will remain rather tolerable, hovering mostly in the 20's on most of the mountain. Monday will finally see readings drop into the teens as flurries and snow showers continue with minimal accumulation. The next organized system approaches Tuesday, a feisty clipper system with enough moisture to bring another 3-6 inches to the mountain. This system will also help the polar jet advance southward and enable stronger arctic air to assume control of the region for later in the week. The snow however should continue into Wednesday and early Thursday. Accumulations appear to be on the lighter side but every little bit helps.
Arctic high pressure is likely to finally dry things out later in the week and send temperatures below zero during a few mornings between Friday the 3rd and Superbowl Sunday February 5th. This is the heart of the period where the EPO is expected to be negative and the jet stream in the Pacific is expected to be at its weakest. The most significant storm system that may or may not impact the region comes after what is expected to be a dry and cold weekend. Its nearly 10 days out of the horizon but models have provided a bit of surprising early consensus that a storm will exit the Rockies and advance eastward through the Southern Plains on that Sunday and spread precipitation to parts of the east coast Monday. The storm has the potential to become a substantial coastal system but its too early to draw definitive conclusions. For now, just keep February 6th and 7th on the calendar as dates that might see an impact from a winter storm.
Cold weather should remain in control through February 10th but there are indications that we lose the support of the EPO thereafter which is certainly not something I want to see at all. As this is happening however, we should have some minimal support from the Arctic Oscillation thanks largely to an area of jet stream warmth or blocking that is indicated to grip areas from Bering Sea to the Eurasia side of the North Pole. At the very least however, I think we are looking at a very good upcoming two weeks before we get to a more questionable period in the middle of February.