Think Snow, Tweet Snow !!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

April Fools snow, a colder outlook and other rantings

It's no April Fools joke though it would might make for a good one. A March that started with excessive 60-degree warmth will finish with snowfall. Above 3,000 feet, the snow consistency might even be more powdery than wet although this remains a close call. Since last we spoke, indications are that the storm in question will track closer to the Mason-Dixon line as opposed to the Delmarva Peninsula. This places Vermont in a decidedly better place for moisture which should arrive during the morning hours Friday. Temperatures will be in the marginal category throughout the duration of this storm and will likely hover above the freezing mark in the valley locations which include a chunk of the Rte 100 corridor and the Champlain Valley. The MRG base should see temperatures at or just below the freezing mark while readings at the summit will in the high 20's. The heaviest snow is indicated to fall during the evening hours Friday and although snowfall rates will lessen after midnight, the snow itself should continue into Saturday morning. Those looking for those first April tracks Saturday have the best chance at finding the high elevation powder, 8-12 inches of it in fact above the mid-station. Closer to the base, I would expect a 4-8 inch range and a considerably wetter snow consistency. Saturday's temps will likely cross the freezing threshold at the base and may approach that mark higher up the mountain so the powdery stuff could turn wetter as the day moves along.


The outlook beyond Saturday has shifted decisively to the colder side. Though we are not expecting weather conditions to be particularly anomalous, the outlook from a few days ago did suggest a period of warmer weather and even some rain during the middle of next week. Models have taken all  of that weather and pushed it south and with pretty good agreement. Weak Canadian high pressure will thus build across the region after the snow tapers off on Saturday and ensure that almost all of our overnight during the first 5 or so days of April are below freezing. Daytime temperatures, thanks to the rising April sun angle, are likely to reach the 40's Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I might point out that there are indications of another notable east coast system that is now indicated impact areas south of Vermont Tuesday but this remains a week away and indications can change. Atmospheric conditions (at least at the tropospheric level) will be at their warmest during the middle of the week so I am fine with a "miss" on the aforementioned storm; in addition, there is plenty of intrigue for the end of the week when the set up is considerably better.


At jet stream level, there is some substantial ridging that is expected to develop late next week across Alaska and the Yukon territory of Canada. Underneath all of this, storminess will continue to cross the country and keep the weather across the United States very active from coast to coast. There's quite a bit of fun that can emerge in this type of set up across New England and the period surrounding April 6th and 7th is one that we should watch closely. A little spark from what's left of the polar jet and we could talking about another mammoth east coast system and more Vermont snow. Hey when the pattern produces, it produces, and though it might have been better served in late February, I'll take it anyway I can get it.


I'll finish with a rant directed at the proverbial toxic stink that has enveloped much of our elected US government and specifically the group that has over generously anointed themselves the "House Committee on Science, Space and Technology". These folks had a hearing on Wednesday, March 29th where the apparent plan was to hijack the overwhelmingly accepted consensus on climate science and make its defacto leader, Dr Michael Mann, look like a jackass. Dr Mann, agree with him or not, comes prepared and is generally ready for attacks from all directions and he got them from the assortment of climate science skeptics that the committee selectively invited. Dr Mann represented himself well and his arguments were well supported but I can't emphasize enough what a dog and pony show this turned into. Just imagine if a John Q Weather Forecasting Blogger such as myself examining forecast data, 97 percent of which indicated "partly cloudy", decided to spend 4 paragraphs talking about a 10-plus inches of snow that 3 percent of the forecast data is showing. I guarantee a few readers would fall in love with me for telling them what they wanted to hear, but ultimately the entire community would and should wish me to crawl under a rock and render me quite delusional. One of so-called skeptics, Dr Judith Curry waxed poetic about being persecuted for having a minority opinion. Really ? Playing the victim card while a group of political shills is hailing you as a hero because your telling them what they want to hear. Even climate science skeptic Roger Pielke advised lawmakers to form policy before a 100 percent consensus was reached. As for Dr. Curry, her minority opinion should not persecuted, but an honest cross section of scientists represented should include the likes of her, Dr Pielke and 97 other scientists that accept the general consensus that human activity HAS had a material impact on our climate and has caused changes the likes of which we have never over such a short geological time scale; furthermore, if steps are not taken to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, warming has the potential to have drastic consequences on human life several generations down the road. As for this generation, our legacy is decided now, I'd hate to think we would get remembered for what took place today. And with that, THINK SNOW !

Monday, March 27, 2017

Winter may have multiple encores planned over next 2-3 weeks the first which could arrive late Friday

My apologies for neglecting my blogging duties the last several days. In doing so I missed the nice burst of snow that the mountain received Friday which yielded a surprisingly good powder day according to the reports I got. 2 rounds of freezing rain have left MRG somewhat "encrusted" and we actually could use some warmer temps (or another 10 inches of pow) to loosen things up. Winter has been fighting rather admirably to maintain control over the weather in Vermont and by the looks of things, this should continue to be the case.


Temperatures as high as 40 on Tuesday could help soften part of the mountain though I can't promise much in the way of accompanying sunshine. We can expect some of the latter on Wednesday as a dry Canadian airmass assumes control of New England's weather picture.  The dry weather during the middle of the week is certainly a change relative to expectations a few days ago and the sunshine should be a welcome sight which will allow temperatures to again warm toward 40 after beginning the day in the 20's. The forecast picture continues to look on the active side however and after another dry and somewhat sunny start, clouds should advance into the region by late in the day Thursday in advance of our next and somewhat interesting looking storm system.


Over the last 48 hours or so, the data has begun aligning around the idea of what I would call a significant east coast weather system though certainly not historic. The dry and yet not especially cold Canadian airmass, the relative strength of the storm, and the track of the center of lowest pressure begs the question of whether we could actually pull out an early spring victory. All of the aforementioned variables are certainly aligned to make this possible but remain rather marginal at least as of now. The Canadian airmass only supports temperatures near the freezing mark and the track of the storm is indicated to be over the Delmarva which is south of what we consider to be ideal. Still, a significant elevation event which would include some significant high elevation powder should be included in the possibility spectrum along with a total miss. The timing of all this would be in the late Friday to Saturday time frame. In the wake of this potential storm should be more clouds late Saturday and Sunday and some potential snow showers. Temperatures should remain relatively close to the freezing mark through the upcoming weekend.


Dry weather should prevail for Monday and Tuesday of next week before another conglomeration of storminess of some variety impacts the weather in the period between April 4th-6th. This 3-day window looks to be the warmest (relative to normal) in the upcoming 2-week outlook and most of the precipitation should be of the rain variety. Ensembles indicate another potential loosening of the jet in the Pacific and some jet stream ridging over Alaska and the Yukon. The combination of these two features would lead to another round of winter during the period between April 6th and April 12th. So in summary, in no way would I be willing to declare winter finished in Vermont.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Colder outlook for interior New England over the next 10 days ensures snow will stick around until early April

Bitterly cold temperatures and up to 6 inches of fresh pow greeted skiers on the mountain Wednesday. The latest blast of chill sent temperatures in to the single digits within a few hours and this would be cold by January standards. For cold weather lovers, enjoy it, because this is likely to be the last healthy blast of mid-winter-like chill we'll see until next year. Make no mistake, the outlook into next week looks quite a bit colder today but the jet stream will assume a more spring-like appearance and the weather map will be devoid of the bursts of arctic cold that have so characterized the current month of March. This is not to say we won't see more snowfall, we likely will, but with temperatures substantially closer to the freezing mark.


Readings Thursday morning will hover around zero for what will probably be the last time until next ski season. Bright March sunshine will go to work and will help make for a comfortable winter afternoon with temperatures in the 20's and minimal amounts of wind. More clouds are expected Friday and temperatures will quickly warm toward the freezing mark. Precipitation is expected to arrive by midday and although a brief 1-2 hour period of snow is likely at the start, rain and a few pockets of freezing rain should prevail through much of the afternoon and into the early evening.


There was talk mostly yesterday on Twitter of some snow across parts of interior New England this weekend and some of this was justified even if it wasn't entirely likely across a widespread area. The jet stream will produce a nice confluence area in eastern Canada even as the polar jet is receding. Such a feature allows healthy pool of arctic cold to establish itself across Quebec and this airmass will provide some serious resistance against the encroaching milder spring weather. Just as the mild weather begins overtaking Vermont and New Hampshire late Friday, the cold from Quebec will reassert itself by later Saturday. Though it wouldn't be impossible, snowfall doesn't appear likely. The aforementioned airmass will dry it out late on Saturday and send temperatures below freezing again Saturday night but a better organized weather system that appears well-supplied with moisture will approach on Sunday and although the forecast appears colder, it probably won't be cold enough. Freezing rain or sleet would be my guess right now, beginning Sunday and persisting in some fashion through Sunday night. Though appearing more to be a travel head-ache than a big powder producer, this storm should be watched as the situation as already evolved quite a bit from a few days ago.


The storminess is expected to continue into next week and although the jet stream, as mentioned, will appear more spring-like, the cold centered in eastern Canada will be hard-pressed to give ground. The outlook thus looks substantially colder and likely devoid of 50-degree temperatures. The weather map will look messy also and models have struggled to reach an agreement of the specifics of precipitation. Expect lots of clouds early in the week and poor visibility with temperatures hovering just above the freezing mark. A more organized area of precipitation is likely to impact the region during the Tuesday-Wednesday time frame although this could change. The most intriguing part this potential storm system are the hints that a "4th quarter" jet amplification across eastern New England brings the possibility of significant snowfall into play in a week where a few days ago, this appeared completely unlikely. If this does happen, it won't be especially cold with temperatures in the 20's and low 30's but again, certainly no 50. At the very least, it ensures that the recent big snowfall will stick around until early April.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Winter takes a last gasp this week before capitulating to much milder spring weather

A couple of bluebird days over the recent weekend made MRG a great place to enjoy last week's  massive snowfall. Temperatures have begun to advance above the freezing mark near the base which is no surprise, it's late March and a full day of sunshine will make it very difficult to stay sub-32 for the entire day. This type of weather should continue into Monday and Tuesday with some sunshine on the former and more clouds on the latter.


As promised, another blast of Arctic air arrives very late on Tuesday. There is a rather potent polar jet disturbance associated with the advance of this cold and this should allow for a burst or two of snow either Tuesday night or very early Wednesday. Much of the best snowfall associated with this is, at least right now, indicated to be north of MRG but 1-3 inches is still the likeliest outcome by early Wednesday. This airmass is of the rather shallow and dry variety so the terrain enhancement that we've enjoyed so much of this year is not as likely. Wednesday will be very cold for late March with temperatures struggling to eclipse 10 degrees during the day and falling below zero over the deep late March snow cover Wednesday night. The end of the week will see temperatures moderate quickly with decent amounts of sun both Thursday and Friday. Readings on Thursday should stay in the 20's but advance past 40 by Friday.


The retreat of the cold weather late this week will indeed mark a behavioral shift in the weather out of the recent full-on winter mode and consistent with that of middle Spring. Now lets be honest, we've already been through this once in late February, when the weather resembled something more typical of April and our deep snow was obliterated. The shift was amazingly quick and so was the loss of our snow. This could happen once again as the jet stream in the Pacific is expected to dramatically tighten and we lack the support of any of the key teleconnection indices that we regularly track. Saturday March 25th could turn out to feature some excessive warmth though there is some lingering Arctic chill in Quebec that could at least delay the mild push of weather for a day or two. The last 5-6 days of March all look pretty mild and unless we see some dramatic changes in this longer range outlook, I would expect lots of 50 degree weather and lots of mud on the dirt roads.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Outlook looks mostly cold through March 24th though our snow-prospects have been downgraded

Snow continues to fly as of Wednesday evening and a few more bursts early Wednesday night should bring our total into the 30-35 inch range (I actually thought we were there already but I wasn't the one keeping score). What an incredible storm !  One felt by the entire state and one that was especially generous to ski country. It was an ironic twist in a "twisted" winter that almost 3 feet of beautiful, skiable and not particularly windblown snow now covers many areas with a non-existent base. We literally did need almost every inch from this storm to turn to get this epic day we all hoped might happen next year.

This is the type of storm that can be enjoyed for several days and it's a good thing because our snow prospects have probably been downgraded as of the time of this update. Flurries should continue into a good part of Thursday and some additional snow should greet skiers by the time the lifts open. Cold weather will also continue with temperatures well below freezing (high's only in the teens Thursday) and brisk winds. The cold weather will continue on Friday and Saturday. Friday should feature some sunshine and less winds making the 20-25 degree temperatures feel balmy.

A much smaller winter storm is expected to impact the northeast on Saturday. The storm and most of its associated jet energy is expected to undercut a receding polar jet stream and amplify offshore. Most of the precipitation is expected to remain south of northern Vermont though that hasn't been entirely decided. Right now I would probably include some light snow in a forecast for Saturday but I am doubtful whether it amounts to much given trends in some of the data. Southern Vermont and the Berkshires could certainly score a few inches and the Connecticut hills might end up doing the best. Any warm-up for the weekend though has basically been thwarted and snow conditions should remain powdery, if not increasingly packed through Sunday morning. A strong late March sun on Sunday March 19th could push temperatures past the freezing mark close to the base.

For next week we have another surge of cold weather to talk about. It may not arrive until late Tuesday which leaves the opportunity for a few above-freezing afternoons Monday and perhaps Tuesday. This is entirely normal in mid-March if we are not fully immersed in arctic chill. When such arctic chill does arrive late Tuesday it could bring some snow with it though it remains to be seen how much. The cold weather from this airmass should persist through Friday and this essentially means snow from the recent storm will cover the slopes until then.

A large storm may impact the region around the time of the aforementioned Friday March 24th and continue into Saturday March 25th. There are clear indications that the cold weather will receding but it doesn't necessarily mean that the storm in question can't produce snow. It's certainly possible that some snow falls and the storm might include a whole allotment of precipitation types before it exits the region. After that, there are visible indications of a turn to more spring-like weather. We haven't had a lot of support from any of the teleconnection indices during most of the winter and it certainly doesn't look like we will have much help in late March. This would mean a mild finish to a very topsy-turvy month though we could again see changes to this outlook. Anyway, hope everyone got a chance to enjoy the storm. It was certainly one of the more memorable ones in the 12 or so years I've been doing the blog.

Monday, March 13, 2017

20-30 inches should put us back in business !

Has there ever been a day more worthy of a special supplemental update. Perhaps one or two, but days like this should be treasured. We made the simple request yesterday that the upcoming big winter storm, which will qualify as a blizzard in many areas, to track 50-100 miles further west. Request granted ! That is exactly what the data is pointing to as of Monday afternoon. The last beautiful piece of info had the storm tracking close to Braintree, MA Tuesday evening. It doesn't get much better than that folks (It actually can, but that's ok). In addition, the storm looks especially powerful, capable of producing coastal flooding, gale force wind gusts and near white-out conditions. Were it not for the storms relatively brisk pace of movement, snowfall totals would be historic and comparable to Valentines Day '07 and March 4-6 2001.


Snow should begin around daybreak Tuesday and perhaps an hour or two earlier if we get lucky. The snow should be relatively steady for a time and then become incredibly intense during the afternoon and evening when we might see 3 inch an hour snowfall rates for a period of several hours. As we approach midnight Wednesday, the intensity of the snow will diminish somewhat but should nonetheless continue through much of the day ski day. So for the folks asking about the upslope, yes, we will receive a substantial terrain enhanced accumulation Wednesday bringing snowfall totals to the 20-30 inch category. So on the 3 year anniversary of what was one of our last true 2-footers, we are officially expecting another. As far as winds are concerned, they will be very strong Tuesday evening, Tuesday night and most of Wednesday. Directionally speaking winds should be blowing from the north late Tuesday and Tuesday night and northwest Wednesday.  Temperatures on the mountain should range between 8-16 during most of Tuesday and 10-20 most of Wednesday but winds will of course make those readings feel colder.


We also got better news regarding weather system for the upcoming weekend. It looks better positioned to deliver us some additional snowfall though I continue to expect changes as this remains a difficult storm to pin down. Generally speaking however, we continue to have a very winter-like outlook through March 24th

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Looks like we can count on about 8 inches from big Tuesday storm and maybe a lot more

The frigid temperatures in Vermont Saturday were the coldest in a relative sense since February 26th and almost the coldest of the entire winter season. On the mountain, temperatures climbed to about 6 which was only 2 degrees warmer than where they were on December 16th. Impressive stuff given that we are well into the month of March. I know, I know, it's cold and so what, can we bag this storm or can't we already ?


As of midday Sunday, models are still fighting it out over small details but remain supportive of mostly the same consensus that was established a few days ago. A strong low pressure center will take shape near Cape Hatteras Monday evening and rapidly intensify while moving northeastward. The center of the storm will pass just east of Cape Cod Tuesday evening. From there, the storm will move quickly in the Canadian Maritimes. This "consensus" has Mad River Glen on the northwestern edge of the swath of heaviest snowfall with amounts in the 8-16 inch range. The snow would begin early Tuesday, the heaviest snowfall would occur Tuesday evening and light snow and blustery conditions would continue into Wednesday.


In spite of this relatively stable "consensus" we have seemingly established, models have repositioned themselves in could almost be called a complete "about face". The American GFS model has the storm tracking roughly 75 miles east of Cape Cod, the European ECMWF has the center of the storm within eyesight of Provincetown while our beloved Canadian model has the storm passing just east of Boston. The trend in the latter two models mentioned is certainly encouraging and it leaves me once again anxiously awaiting another run of the Euro. Though Boston snow lovers would likely flip me off, nothing would please me more than seeing their snow totals get held down by a changeover to rain while MRG scores that elusive 2-3 footer. It's close folks, I wouldn't forecast that quite yet but that outcome has not yet been eliminated.


We can certainly be assured of a continued stretch of subfreezing temperatures. This began Thursday in spite of our disappointing snowfall totals and will likely continue into the upcoming weekend. The bigger questions involves the outcome of another potential winter storm. The storm will appear rather innocuous as a broken piece of what will be some rather intense storminess in the Gulf of Alaska this upcoming week. In typical early spring fashion, the storm is indicated to undercut a receding polar jet which is good and bad. The good is that it won't warm excessively on the weekend of the 18th and 19th, the bad relates to the fact that the storm might pass well south of northern New England. There will almost certainly be changes as to the particulars of this forecast period so stay tuned.


What appears more certain is that our mildest day over the next 10-12 days occurs around Monday March 20th. The 21st-23rd should feature a good surge of cold weather that will ensure a continuation of winter through at least the end of the week. There are hints of milder weather way out toward the end of March but this is too far out on the horizon.

Friday, March 10, 2017

March 14th storm could bring us back from our early grave, but we aren't locked and loaded quite yet

We suffered some "underperformance" in terms of getting a much needed accumulation from the recent snow squalls and some glaring bare spots remain on some of the low lying terrain at MRG. That said, winter is firmly entrenched in northern Vermont and temperatures are poised to drop below zero on a succession of nights thanks to a polar vortex which will spin by a few hundred miles to our north. Snow showers Friday and Friday night might bring an inch or two to the mountain but aside from some flurries on Saturday, the weekend is expected to remain dry and frigid. My guess is most readers will find these details meaningless. We have a giant winter storm that threatens a large swatch of the eastern seaboard but could also bring Mad River Glen roaring back to life by the middle of the upcoming week. The details of this should and will consume most of this discussion.


Various computer models have actually done a very nice job in consistently indicating the presence of this large storm for several days. It was discussed in the blog as early as this past Monday. The finer details have been a source of some disagreement however and this remains as of Friday. The rather subtle details have absolutely massive ramifications as far as snowfall totals are concerned for MRG. As of now however I remain optimistic and almost downright excited. There are some very intriguing analogies that can be drawn between this upcoming storm and some of the past great ones such as Valentines Day 2007 and a few storms dating back to the 90's. That said, there are ways in which we could get confined to the "glancing blow" we have often been forced to swallow for many storms the last several years. I don't actually think that will happen this time but it is a possibility.


The different outcomes proposed by various models have everything to do with track at this point. The American GFS model has suggested that the storm consolidate near the Delmarva Peninsula and proceed to track north toward Worcester, MA. Such an outcome would put northern Vermont in an enviable sweet spot and would produce our needed 2-3 footer. The European ECMWF took the storm about 50-100 miles east of Cape Cod and yielded a 4-8 inch snowfall but spared northern Vermont of some of the best snow. Information from the European Ensemble member mean was better however, suggesting that the storm would track within a few miles of Cape Cod and snowfall amounts would be higher. Data from the Canadian simulation was the worst for us and generally had the storm 100 or more miles east of the Cape and would produce little to no snowfall for Vermont. The trend of the models over the last 48 hours and the average of all outcomes is pretty darn good right now. I am anxiously awaiting the Friday afternoon run of the ECMWF and hope it better aligns with the American Model. Ideally we want the storm to track right over the city of Boston but I would take any track west of the Cape or east of Worcester.


Snow from all this begins early Tuesday persists through the day into Tuesday night. If we get the optimal outcome, the snow will continue into part of Wednesday and we will be counting the feet. If not, Wednesday will be dry and chilly. We can be assured of a week of sub-freezing temperatures however and a blustery couple of days Wednesday and Thursday. Friday should be dry and a bit more tranquil from the standpoint of winds.


Some sort of storm system remains in the cards for the weekend of March 18th and March 19th. A push of milder temperatures will try and loosen the grip of the recent stretch of cold weather but this will be associated with another potentially intriguing storm system. There won't be as much cold air available but there will be a limited supply and chilly temperatures are expected to return in the March 20th-March 22 time frame. This ensures that if mother nature indeed provides on March 14th, we could be skiing for a while thereafter. Think snow folks we almost have this.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Some extreme March chill this weekend is followed by big snow potential Tues March 14th

Another day passes with the Single Chair sitting idle yet the forecast continues to look more and more wintry as we head further and further into March. Fortunately we have finally reached a point where we can talk more specifically about new snow rather than wonder about the "if" and "when" of such an occurrence.


The mixed precipitation Wednesday will change to snowfall with temperatures hovering just below the freezing mark through much of Wednesday night and Thursday. The snowfall will be of the terrain enhanced upslope variety and should amount to 3-5 inches by late in the day with more falling north of I89. Valley locations should see warmer temperatures and considerably less if not any snowfall. We also have a polar vortex to talk about. Though discussed in the last update, we haven't used such words in a while. This PV will track from the lower Hudson Bay to northern Maine by Saturday. Extreme chill will accompany this feature and begin its infiltration of Vermont on Friday. Models are somewhat split on whether there is enough support for accumulating snow as the arctic air arrives Friday. A storm system that is poised to bring rain and snow to Pennsylvania and New Jersey might rob northern New England of its upward motion but for now I am going to suggest an additional 1-2 inches Friday with temperatures plummeting through the 20's. Our upcoming weekend looks devoid of snowfall but extremely cold for mid-March. Temperatures will struggle to reach 10 on the mountains Saturday and after readings of -5 to -10 Sunday morning, afternoon readings will struggle to reach 15 in spite of full sunshine.


The intensity of the chill will relax just somewhat on Monday but by then we will be watching what appears to be a sizable winter storm. This folks, is our best shot at big snow since the middle of February and it could prove to be one of the biggest winter storms for the entirety of New England spanning the whole season. Cold air, jet energy and a plethora of Atlantic moisture are all present, but we just have to hope that Vermont get a full dose of the results. We could get innocuously grazed or we could get the 2-footer we've been looking for. Right now, confidence is high that a strong low pressure center will be in the vicinity of Cape Cod on Tuesday evening March 14th but it all depends on how close this system is to the coast once it consolidates. Most of the potential snowfall would fall Tuesday in such a scenario.


More cold weather is expected in the days following the potential storm and when the cold weather relaxes somewhat toward St Patrick's Day and the weekend of the 18th and 19th smaller amounts of snow are possible from what is likely to be overrunning. The jet stream in the Pacific is expected to remain dominated by relative looseness which is good news in the longer range. Some indications of the Bering Sea block remain which is a big driver of this. I would expect a move toward milder temperatures around the time frame of the 19th and 20th but this will be followed by another period of cold weather that should be accompanied by more snowfall.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Winter showing big signs of life but still searching for the big snow we so desperately need

The last update was somewhat of a mental capitulation. The simple process of purging any positive expectations of what remains in our ski season. I say this tongue and cheek but usually when one does this, the weather has a tendency to surprise you. Though we did discuss the possibility of more winter weather in March, our recent struggles certainly have the MRG faithful in an understandably cynical mood. That said, it still looks wintry and even more so according to the last 2-3 days of model data. We can be relatively certain regarding a sustained stretch of cold weather but the question of how much this can translate into needed snowfall remains.


There are a few derogatory thoughts that come to mind regarding the short term forecast but this is a family friendly blog so lets just call it a classic Vermont slap-in-the-face. Temperatures this past Saturday and Sunday were the most anomalous on the cold side since the middle of December ( nearly 20 below normal) yet here we are talking about rain. Precipitation will actually arrive as a bit of freezing rain Monday night and persist as some freezing rain or drizzle early Tuesday. By later Tuesday, temperatures will push past the freezing mark and the mainly light precipitation will become plain rain. This system is tracking well north of us and it will provide us with another, albeit, small window of excessive warmth. It will happen just ahead of the passage of the cold front early Wednesday. So temperatures will continue to warm Tuesday night and we should see a brief period of moderate rainfall. Temperatures will be near 50 Wednesday morning but will fall back into the 30's by evening.


Our first piece of "wintry news" involves the forecast for last Wednesday, Wednesday night and early Thursday. A closer look at stability parameters does reveal that this time frame is a good time frame for terrain enhanced snowfall; in fact, convective snow showers should dot much of northern New England in this time frame including valley locations. The high country should get a round of accumulating snow. By late in the day Thursday, 4-8 inches is my best guess for MRG with higher amounts farther north.


The next piece of wintry news comes Friday and into the weekend. This period looks substantially colder compared with expectations presented in the last update. The block across the Bering Sea has allowed arctic air to pool quite impressively across northern Canada with -40 to -60 degree readings as of Monday. Models had been oscillating and hedging as to what areas of the continent would get the impact of this air but New England will indeed see it. The polar vortex responsible for this cold will actually drop into Quebec this Friday and dissipate across the eastern Canadian Maritimes late in the weekend. Though it will be cold with a fresh few inches of snow, the presence of the PV will actually push the storm track southward during this period. One weak system over the Mid Atlantic will bring some light snow to some of the big city locations early Friday but aside from flurries Thursday night, much of Vermont will be on the dry and cold side Friday. Daytime temperatures will be in the 20's Friday and only in the teens Saturday and much of Sunday. Meanwhile another significant storm will pass well to our south over the weekend and is likely to prove to be the biggest snow producer many Mid Atlantic locations and ski areas have seen all season. Many of these Mid-Atlantic ski areas have already shut down for the season.


The weekend storm, that we are likely to miss isn't the only game in town however. There is one to perhaps two additional storms in the following week that could bring substantial amounts of wintry weather to Vermont. This happens as the PV escapes and the pattern relaxes somewhat early next week. One storm of intrigue should impact the region in the March 14th to March 15th time frame while another should follow around the time of March 18th and 19th. Teleconnection indices, though not overwhelming remain supportive enough ensure that at least some arctic air will remain in play though ensembles do disagree as to how much. For the time being however, the presence of the large block in the Bering Sea over a gentler but active Pacific Jet will make it interesting at least though I certainly will not and could not guarantee that every outcome will be a great one.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

In spite of colder weather, outlook is devoid of significant snowfall for now

Temperatures are 40 degrees lower, snow squalls have dusted the mountainsides and gusty winds have wind chill readings Thursday below zero. That's all well and good but the mountain has been so ravaged by the excessive warmth, it will take another real good stretch of snow for us to extend our season significantly from this point. There are some improvements fundamentally in our weather pattern, but unfortunately, these improvements might not be enough given our current predicament.


I literally have hardly any good news to report over the next week days regarding our snow prospects. Every chance we have or had at receiving new snow looks diminished or even non-existent. It certainly resembles the many blog posts from the SCWB during last years abomination. Sugarcoating a crappy situation is not part of the Mad River Glen tradition so although I would prefer a more optimistic tone, it would be disingenuous to do so in regards to the weather through the middle of next week. Very frustrating.


It's unfortunate because we have some rather extreme early March chill headed in our direction. Readings will struggle to break 20 on the mountain Friday and a shortwave disturbance passing to our south will usher in temperatures that are even colder Friday night and Saturday. 1-2 inches of snow is likely Friday night into very early Saturday but the story for the most part will be the extreme chill including temperatures near -5 Saturday morning and only 5-10 above through much of the afternoon in spite of some sunshine.


The situation starts to take a sour turn on Sunday. The conventional wisdom that I tried to establish in the last update consisted of multiple pieces of the storminess in British Columbia attacking New England over the span of several days. The first small piece would reach the region late Sunday or early Monday resulting in a modest snowfall but models have decisively removed this from the weather picture and it would be unwise to not heed this consensus. A period of light snow is possible early Monday but it doesn't look like much; instead, a more consolidated system will move out into the northern plains and advance northeast well into Canada. In spite of the newly available cold, it's hard to make light of a storm which seems intent on moving straight toward the southern tip of the Hudson Bay. Unless we see some drastic changes, we will see another round of mild weather beginning Tuesday and rain Tuesday night or early Wednesday. What is especially frustrating is that the flatter, less intense and occluded storm would have at least presented the opportunity for terrain enhanced snowfall late in the week. Flush this opportunity straight down the toilet if aforementioned scenario plays out. Colder weather and snowfall is still part of the forecast picture Thursday and Friday, but significant amounts of snow look a lot less likely.


Ensembles have been battling it out over the longer range outlook for a few days but they seemed to have converged on a slightly more favorable scenario for later in the month. The Bering Sea block has been mentioned a few times as a driver of the cold and a key feature for March. Yes, it has effectively pushed cold air back into the mid-latitudes but because the feature was confined to the Bering Sea and did not extend its influence to include Alaska, it has also confined much of the cold and storminess to western North America yet again.