Game on indeed ! Though we've been a bit of a red-headed step-child throughout 2016, Vermont will, for a few days, assume the role of mother nature's favorite son. Nothing wrong with a little favoritism when it comes to snow. We are locked into one storm Sunday/Monday and the potential for another substantial snow producer remains for Wednesday/Thursday.
Winter's grip on Vermont has held firm and while much of the rest of the U.S. east coast is experiencing spring-like warmth Saturday and Sunday, the snow continues to fall in the Green Mountains and temperatures are well below freezing. The clashing airmasses will help fuel our first big snow producer. The low pressure center will intensify as it travels near the Mason-Dixon line Sunday and merge with an incoming clipper system Sunday evening as it approaches Cape Cod. The merging of the two storms creates the "bombs away" scenario in the Gulf of Maine as the storm will deepen to 980 mb or less before exiting stage right into the Canadian Maritimes.
The storm will be a colossal hit for the Maine coast where 18-30 inches along with near blizzard like conditions can be expected. For us Vermonters and specifically for us MRG skiers, we can expect snow to begin around 1 PM Sunday and become rather steady by the end of the ski day. I think 2-4 inches is about the most we can hope for in those late day hours on Sunday but the snow should continue through the evening and into the night at varying rates. The big question in these type of events relates to the frontogenetic forcing which clearly appears to be the best in the area from New Hampshire to the Maine coast based on model data. Excuse the frontogenetic lingo, but many times the "lack thereof" can result in the dry slots or precipitation lull's that can hold accumulations on the lower end. Though we aren't likely to see the heaviest precipitation from this storm, it looks like most of Vermont is in a relatively good position from the standpoint of frontogenetics. Southern Vermont, western Mass and appear more likely to get impacted by this. Accumulations should approach 1 foot by Monday morning and a few additional inches during the morning should move our storm total into the 12-16 category. Winds will whipping through much of the night and into Monday and though temperatures should remain in the powdery 22-28 zone Sunday and Sunday night, snow will get a bit wind packed by Monday. The winds will however switch to a more northerly direction Monday which drastically reduces the risk of wind holds on the single based on my experience only. That opinion is my own however and not necessarily reflective of the views held by MRG or anyone that works there.
Moving along, Tuesday appears like a very tranquil winter day with much lighter winds, relatively good visibility and perhaps even a period of sunshine. While we bask in our snow-blanketed tranquility, two weather systems, one near the Gulf Coast and another "Manitoba Mauler" will have to decide whether or not they want to play in the sandbox together on Wednesday/Thursday. The sub-tropical jet has been a tricky one to figure this year. With the Super Nino gone, it goes as no surprise that this portion of the jet stream has lost much of its influence but it hasn't vanished completely. The eastern Pacific Ocean equatorial regions have also remained warm and may have had an impact this. Anyway, models remain in disagreement about the handling of these two systems. The European ECMWF is for the dreamers. The two systems do indeed have some fun in the sandbox and Mad River Glen gets another significant snow. Most of the data holds the subtropical feature to the south and west and allows for no such fun. Even in this scenario, the Manitoba Mauler would deliver some additional snow Wednesday and Wednesday night followed by some terrain enhanced snow Thursday and Friday
I've been dragging on long enough in this update but the longer range outlook still consists of a period of milder weather beginning around the President's Day holiday and persisting through a chunk of the holiday week. A storm sometime around the middle part of that week is possible and this could be some sort of rain to snow situation. I would expect some above freezing temperatures between the 20-22nd at least following what should be a fantastic upcoming 7-day stretch.