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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Tough stretch over the next week, but don't throw in the towel on winter yet

Yes, all good things must come to an end. 5 feet of snow in 3 weeks with a tiny bit of mixed precipitation in between is a welcomed event in any season. Temperatures have soared beyond the freezing mark early during the President's Day holiday and it marks the beginning of what we expect to be a rougher stretch of weather. I am hoping it only lasts a week, but the duration of our latest round of skiing adversity is the biggest weather question today.

A weak weather system will pass well to the mountains north on Sunday and do so rather innocuously.  That's a good thing because we lack the temperatures to support any snowfall as we will see another day with above freezing readings. Fortunately, this weather feature does have an accompanying cold front and this will usher in some cold Canadian air. New England will be the lone spot receiving any dose of winter from this as the rest of the eastern half of the country will continue the 2017 February mild-fest. Can't promise any snowfall for Monday or Tuesday, but temperatures will mostly be sub-freezing until late Tuesday afternoon when low lying areas may again top out in the middle to high 30's.

The culprit for the widespread warmth is another round of big time storminess that has already begun in earnest way out west. If you have been watching the news, you might have heard of flash flooding, mudslides and sinkholes in and around L.A. and San Diego. This level of storminess in the Pacific is often not a good thing (unless we get big time split flow) for winter in New England. The storminess will keep its distance from us for a time but by early Wednesday, we could finally see some light precipitation. We don't have the cold air to support any snow so we will probably just see some very light rain or freezing rain in a few spots Tuesday Night or Wednesday.

Another piece of Pacific stormy onslaught comes Thursday and again may spread some light rain into Vermont with temperatures generally in the high 30's. There is a minimal amount of arctic air available behind Thursday's weaker system and it remains a critical question how much of this we can tap into. Models have not been suggesting that mother nature is in the mood to dole out any favors but it's not a impossible scenario. That said, models have not been trending in our direction for what appears to be a stormier period between Friday February 24 and Sunday February 26h. In that time frame, a stronger storm system tracks from the eastern Rockies up through the central Great Lakes and eventually deep into Quebec. Models have over-advertised mild pushes in the past this year and I sure hope to god they are doing it again. If not, we are going to receive a round of rain and temperatures as high as 50 including 36-48 hours of well above freezing temperatures.

After Sunday, there is some better news stemming mostly from a large weakening of the jet stream in the Pacific Ocean and a rather assertive push by the EPO into negative territory. Limited blocking is expected to develop in coordination with all of this over the Bering Sea and parts of Alaska. This will allow Arctic air to make a late February return to the central United States. Some of this chill will make it to Vermont behind our potentially rainy system on Monday February 27th. All this is good news but ensembles right now have outright refused to eliminate the upper air ridging in the extreme western Atlantic. The suggestion right now is to have this pesky ridging thwart what could be the start of another nice stretch of winter for MRG and surroundings. There are hints of a follow up storm right around the turning of February into March but the aforementioned ridging in the jet stream could prove problematic.

For those ready to throw in the towel on winter, I wouldn't advise it. Even when the ensembles take a bad turn and produce a sour looking outlook, just wait two days and they tend to reverse. The negative EPO should above all else prove to be quite beneficial. It may just take some time to reap the rewards of this change.


Alec Ratzell said...

Winter in N England this year has been stellar, looking forward to some great skiing first weekend in March, keep the insightful reports coming!

CJM from CNJ said...

Skied Pico today and it was fawking awesome.

eda said...

Winter has been stellar?. I would say it has been decent. Yeah last week was pretty good, but the rest has been meh. Stellar compared to last year, yes, when we didnt even have winter.

Alec Ratzell said...

Yes, it has been, the skiing in December was great, January was average, and February has been awesome. If you can't recognize that then maybe your expectations are just way too high. Pretty good? Try to understate it a little more.

JTDsurf said...

Agree with Alec, New England skiing has been on meds (schizophrenic) all my life but the climate here certainly is not predictable. That is why we rely so much on Josh's wisdom.

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